New GTU Programs Equip Professionals to Engage Religious Diversity

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GTU Communications

New GTU Programs Equip Professionals to Engage Religious Diversity

Online Interreligious Studies Certificate and Interreligious Chaplaincy Program Begin in Fall 2020

Berkeley, CA - Recent shifts in the religious landscape of North America require fresh approaches from both business professionals and spiritual caregivers who are seeking to negotiate greater religious and cultural diversity. Recent studies show a rising percentage of spiritual “nones” who claim no established religious tradition, a decreasing number of persons who identify as Christian, and increases among populations that bring greater spiritual and religious diversity. These trends create an increased demand for spiritual caregivers and business leaders equipped to engage religious diversity effectively. As the most comprehensive center for the graduate study of religion in North America, the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA, is offering two new programs specifically oriented toward empowering working professionals to apply the insights of interreligious scholarship to creatively address contemporary needs.

The GTU’s innovative Interreligious Chaplaincy Program is designed to equip professionals with the skills and interreligious understanding necessary to offer spiritual care among increasingly diverse populations. The new program offers an opportunity to earn a Certificate in Interreligious Chaplaincy while also grounding students in a religious tradition underrepresented among institutional chaplains through an MA in Islamic, Hindu, or Jewish Studies. The program focuses attention on spiritual caregiving in a multireligious context, building skills and understandings relevant to traditional institutional chaplaincy as well as to a wide variety of social service, healthcare, and advocacy contexts where spiritual care is relevant and necessary.

While the new chaplaincy program focuses on spiritual care, the GTU’s new online Certificate in Interreligious Studies is designed to help professionals negotiate religious diversity as it shapes the modern workplace. Corporate and nonprofit leaders realize that being successful requires new approaches to cultivating sensitivity and inclusive practices from within, as well as forward-thinking strategies that integrate a variety of perspectives. The Certificate in Interreligious Studies will help provide such skills and, as the first fully online program offered by the GTU, is accessible as a professional development opportunity for leaders in a variety of contexts. Comprised of five 7-week 1.5-credit courses, all administered asynchronously and fully online, this graduate certificate is tailored to meet the needs of today’s professionals across a variety of sectors including healthcare, nonprofit management, social services, public policy, and business.