September 7, 2011
MidAmerica Nazarene University is one of only 150 institutions worldwide to receive an in-kind grant of 224 volumes from the International Society of Science and Religion Library Project (ISSR) at St. Edmunds College, Cambridge, U.K. According to the ISSR, the collection is a remarkable core group of books on science and spirituality from many perspectives. They include the sciences, social sciences, history, philosophy and the environment.
The ISSR reviewed MNU's grant application under a competitive judging process. ISSR executive editor and project manager Pranab Das called MNU an "interesting and productive center of learning."
MNU approaches the study of religion and science as complementary disciplines. MNU grants and special project coordinator Whitney Gray expressed MNU's philosophy that "religion and science each examine legitimate and similar realms of knowledge," making this collection particularly useful to a diverse group of scholars.
"MidAmerica Nazarene University has a responsibility not only to provide a wide variety of scholarly resources but to encourage and promote the ongoing discussion of the intersection of faith and science," she states. "We acknowledge that throughout history, religion and science have played equally important roles in shaping education, culture, and economics."
MNU recently revised its undergraduate studies general core curriculum to provide greater opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration and scholarship making this grant particularly timely. The collection is expected to have a significant impact in the "graduate culture" and interdisciplinary nature of instruction at MNU, according to Gray.
Bo Cassell, associate professor of sociology, sees the collection as having a direct impact on several current courses as well as a course on worldview that is currently being considered.
"There are potential assignments that would be impossible to include in that course without these kinds of resources," he said.
Senior youth ministry major Tyler Allen looks forward to using resources from the collection as he prepares to work with teens.
"The books will be a great addition to our library," he asserts. "These resources will help me by giving me more information and solidifying my Christian worldview so that I can more adequately address the questions of the teens I will be serving in youth ministry."