Bridging the “Great Divide” in Undergraduate Religion: An Experiment in Faculty/Student Collaboration



Undergraduate students today often enroll in introductory religious studies or theology classes because they want the time and space to reflect on their personal spiritual questions. Such a motivation can clash with the faculty's desire to introduce students to rigorous academic study of their field. Barbara Walvoord has proposed four “voices” that students may develop that will assist both student and faculty to cross this “great divide.” This essay explores the ways in which a course based in engaged pedagogical theory and practice – in this case, problem-based learning – can provide an effective space for students to “find their voices,” take control of their own learning, and fulfill both their own and their professor's expectations.