What is Science for Seminaries?

Science for Seminaries is a project of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program, in consultation with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The project helps a diverse group of seminaries integrate science into their core curricula.

Apply to our Climate Science in Theological Education (CSTE) grant TODAY

This project is now accepting grant applications April 1, 2024. Here are some helpful links:

  • To view the call for proposals, CLICK HERE.
  • For full application guidelines and instructions, CLICK HERE.
  • To apply, CLICK HERE.
  • To register for one of the FAQ sessions DoSER will be holding about the application process, CLICK HERE for February 22nd and CLICK HERE for March 5th.
  • To learn more about the history of the project, CLICK HERE.
  • To view syllabi from previous participant schools in CSTE, CLICK HERE.

Looking for Teaching Resources?

1. Science for Seminaries videos

The Science for Seminaries project is dedicated to supplying pedagogical resources to help seminaries and theological schools bring world-class science into the classroom. In collaboration with Fourth Line Films, AAAS-DoSER has produced an exciting series of films to spark classroom discussion of forefront science issues. You can find the full collection of video series here.

Above is the trailer to our latest new short documentary about the legacy of racist science, which is just an example of the types of topics and discussions our videos spark. For this topic in particular, you can find a discussion guide and relate resources on the page as well. Other video topics range from exploring the universe and where we come from to what it actually means to be a scientist to the history of medicine. Find the full collection here!

2. Curriculum Resources

Second, curricular resources from the Science for Seminaries project have been developed by partner institutions who have previously participated in the Science for Seminaries project.  Project resources are searchable by topic, resource type, seminary, and core curriculum science topic.  Search the syllabi here!


Featured News

  • 14 Seminaries Focus on Climate Science and Theology in the 2024 School Year

     

    This article was originally published on ScienceReligionDialogue.org by Lilah Sloane-Barrett. To read the original version, click here

     

    Applications for this grant are now open until April 1, 2024. The link to the call for proposals is at the end of this article.

     

    Zoom squares in a 5x5 grid plus 3 zoom squares on the bottom.

    Attendees of CSTE Cohort 1 smile during a zoom meeting | DoSER staff

    In November 2023, representatives from 14 theological institutions joined scientific and faith experts to discuss climate science and how it can be incorporated into education, conversation, and curriculum at their schools. This virtual meeting launched AAAS DoSER’s new Climate Science in Theological Education (CSTE) project. The goals of this 3-year initiative are to equip current and future faith leaders to lead their communities in addressing climate change and to create an atmosphere in places of worship where climate science is considered relevant, complementary, and important to religious worldviews.

     

    The participating institutions in the first cohort include the Academy for Jewish Religion (NY), Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (TX), Columbia Theological Seminary (GA), Ecumenical Theological Seminary (MI), Graduate Theological Union (CA), Hood Theological Seminary (NC), Iliff School of Theology (CO), Knox Theological Seminary (FL), Lexington Theological Seminary (KY), the Miller Center for Interreligious Learning and Leadership of Hebrew College (MA), Palm Beach Atlantic University Graduate School of Ministry (FL), Portland Seminary of George Fox University (OR), Regis College (ON, Canada), and Seventh-Day Adventist Theological Seminary (MI). In addition to being geographically diverse, the schools represent Jewish and Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic Christian theological education institutions. Eight of the institutions have worked with DoSER on past projects to engage science in theological education, while the rest of the cohort represents new partners for DoSER in this work.

     

    DoSER’s CSTE project will encourage participating institutions to engage climate-related science in ways that are tailored to the specific students, faculty, alumni, and faith communities that they serve. Activities funded through the grant can include capacity building, curriculum engagements, ministry/leadership-focused activities, or other program activities. The scientific topics that the projects address are varied, as are the methods of engagement. Proposals highlight issues of environmental justice, air quality and health, extreme weather, food security, agriculture and soil science, marine science and ecology, climate migration, and similar topics. Many of the schools have decided to host multiple activities and engagement opportunities.

     

    One example of updated coursework comes from the Academy for Jewish Religion. Their Counseling course will now include a section on climate bereavement to work with students to help them better understand the issue of climate bereavement and how it may impact their communities.

     

    “Many in the Jewish world believe in climate change, but they may not understand the effects on us physically, emotionally, or psychologically. Or they may have some understanding of these things, but feel overwhelmed,” said Jill Hammer, project co-lead and Director of Spiritual Education at AJR. “We hope that through our project we will equip our students and graduates to be informed and to inform their communities accurately about climate change, and to address their emotional and psychological needs.”

     

    People standing up to their knees in water holding walking sticks surrounded by trees.

    Biology students from Palm Beach Atlantic University visit the Grassy Waters Preserve, West Palm Beach, Florida | Image credit: Thomas Chesnes, PBA

    Capacity building and ministry-focused activities vary from webinars to lunch-and-learns to visiting nearby natural areas. Thomas Chesnes, project co-lead, Associate Dean of Sciences, and Professor of Biology at Palm Beach Atlantic University, described his school as “ground zero for directly observing the effects of climate change.” Throughout his work, he found that “a picture’s worth a thousand words, but getting people up to their waist in the mud of a degraded ecosystem…that speaks a million words. These experiences drive points home.” Paul Gould, Director of the Master of Arts in Philosophy of Religion and project co-lead, added that in the spring of 2025, they plan to bring a cohort of 10 students and faculty to the Florida Keys or Everglades to “get down into the water, into the nitty gritty, to see what’s going on with climate.”

     

    Finally, all schools will host an event that will be open to the entire school and wider community. In response to the massive northern forest fires last year, Regis College, University of Toronto, will host a panel discussion on “Climate Change and Forest Fires in North America.” One expert will explore the implications of eco-anxiety in the context of the Canadian forest fires, and a religious leader will share pastoral experiences from affected areas in Canada. Jaroslav Sikra, Inaugural Dean of Regis-St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology, explained that “[the enveloping smog from the fires] raised questions about pastoral care of those who are seeing and immediately being affected by the effects of climate change. This includes airborne pollution, issues of asthma, quality of care,” and more.

     

    The Climate Science in Theological Education project builds upon the success of DoSER’s previous Science for Seminaries: Integrating Science into Core Theological Education project (2016-2023), as well as a 2022 pilot project in incorporating climate science into seminary curricula. Science for Seminaries equipped religious leaders with a solid scientific foundation to answer their community’s questions about issues related to science and technology. Selected seminaries had to integrate science into at least two core courses and produce at least one campus-wide science-themed event. Science topics included astronomy, genetics and gene editing, evolution, public health, neuroscience and mental health, and more.

     

    “One of the main lessons we learned [from Science for Seminaries] is that on a high level, the relationship at bridging Judaism and science is simple enough. But when you get into the details, and all the scientific data and all of the minutiae, that’s where it becomes a real challenge to show the levels of applicability and points of intersection between science and Judaism,” said Matthew Goldstone, Assistant Academic Dean and project co-lead from the Academy for Jewish Religion.

     

    Allowing institutions to contextualize their approach to climate science engagement is key to the success of the project. Thomas Chesnes summarized the conflict he often sees when engaging with religion and science: “In my experience, especially in religious contexts, you need to understand where people are coming from. You need to understand their deep-rooted presuppositions, what underlies their viewpoints.”

     

    Initial funding for the Climate Science in Theological Education project is provided by the David and Carol Myers Foundation and Leslie Sternlieb, private donor. Applications for Cohort 2 are open until April 1, 2024. Click here for more information and to apply.

    READ MORE

  • DoSER Initiative Focuses on Climate Science and Theology

     

    This article was originally published on ScienceReligionDialogue.org by Lilah Sloane-Barrett. To read the original version, click here

     

    Applications for this grant are now open until September 18, 2023. The link to the call for proposals is at the end of this article.

     

    Students take part in Ambrose Seminary’s Earth Day event | Image by Ambrose University

    Students take part in Ambrose Seminary’s Earth Day event | Image by Ambrose University

    The AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program is excited to announce a new focus on climate change science with the Climate Science in Theological Education (CSTE) project. This 3-year project, with initial funding from the David and Carol Myers Foundation, will provide grants for seminaries to meaningfully engage forefront climate science in their curriculum and activities. The goals are to equip current and future faith leaders to lead their communities in addressing climate change and to create an atmosphere in places of worship where climate science is considered relevant, complementary, and important to religious worldviews.

     

    DoSER’s CSTE project will encourage participants to engage climate-related science in ways that are tailored to the specific student, faculty, alumni, and broader faith community. Activities funded through the grant can include capacity building, curriculum engagements, ministry-focused activities, or other program activities. Seminaries will host at least one enrichment activity or campus event that addresses theology and a climate-related science topic, such as environmental justice, air quality and health, extreme weather, food security, agriculture and soil science, marine science and ecology, climate migration, or similar topics. For the 2023 cohort, AAAS DoSER will select up to 14 schools to receive a grant of $15,000. Accredited theological education institutions that offer an MDiv program or equivalent for the training of faith leaders may apply.

     

    The Climate Science in Theological Education project builds upon the success of DoSER’s previous Science for Seminaries: Integrating Science into Core Theological Education (Science for Seminaries) project (2016-2023), as well as a 2022 pilot project in incorporating climate science into seminary curricula. Science for Seminaries equipped religious leaders with a solid scientific foundation to answer their community’s questions about issues related to science and technology. Selected seminaries had to integrate science into at least two core courses and produce at least one campus-wide science-themed event. Science topics included astronomy, genetics and gene editing, evolution, public health, neuroscience and mental health, and more.

     

    A recent study by the Pew Research Center indicated that over 60% of religiously affiliated Americans strongly believe that the Earth is sacred and that humans have a duty to protect and care for it. However, studies by the Association of the Theological Schools and Pew Research Center also found that many faith leaders feel uncomfortable or even avoid discussions about climate change in religious services because they do not have training in the sciences. DoSER’s CSTE initiative hopes to help future faith leaders feel better equipped to engage climate science within their ministry and communities.

     

    To submit an application for this grant, click here. Applications due September 18, 2023.

    READ MORE


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In furtherance of the AAAS mission of advancing science in service to society, AAAS|DoSER’s role in the Science for Seminaries project is to support efforts to integrate science into seminary education. AAAS|DoSER does not advise on or endorse the theological content of the participating seminaries.