Case Study of Religious and Academic Communities at Baylor University

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Tuesday, March 1, 1994
End Date: 
Sunday, August 31, 1997

Michael Beaty and Larry Lyons investigated religiously affiliated colleges’ difficulties in balancing faith with teaching, learning, and research. In order to better understand these problems, the researchers surveyed faculty, staff, and students at Baylor University and other leading religious-affiliated institutions. Their results reflect attitudes on these campuses about integrating religion more closely with teaching and research. Data from the survey became the basis for a case-study of Baylor University.
<p>Beaty and Lyons concluded that, like many secular colleges and universities, Baylor treats faith and knowledge as two distinct and largely separate spheres. Beaty and Lyons trace the historical development of this “two-spheres” model for accommodating faith and knowledge, and they argue that this practice relegates religion to the fringes of academe, even at schools with close denominational ties. They conclude that colleges and universities have come to believe that mixing religion with teaching, learning, and research hurts their academic reputation. Moreover, the two-spheres model creates instability and conflict within colleges and universities since administrative decisions that accommodate religion are viewed with suspicion by faculty, and some academic work is poorly understood or considered irrelevant or hostile to religious traditions by some religious constituencies. Beaty and Lyons urge Christian scholars and educators to work towards a new paradigm that treats faith and knowledge equally. (AS)