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Religious Identity, Community, and Campus Life

Wellesley College's Religious and Spiritual Life Program

In 1993, Wellesley College initiated a new Religious and Spiritual Life Program based on principles of religious pluralism in which all particular expressions of religious faith are celebrated and in which dialogue about common moral, ethical, and spiritual principles is nurtured.

Wellesley now has a multi-faith program led by the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life and a team of advisors and student leaders from a wide array of faiths, including the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian (Evangelical, Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic), Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Native African, Native American, Pagan, Sikh, Taoist, Unitarian Universalist, and Zoroastrian traditions. These leaders work together to develop new models for religious life and community ritual in which each religious tradition is respected and in which no one voice dominates.

Through this program, students and faculty at Wellesley have begun to explore questions about integrating the spiritual dimensions of their lives into their learning. The project aims to bridge the gap between intellectual development and emotional, social, and spiritual development.

Students and faculty have participated in a series of workshops exploring transformational moments in the classroom in which they describe moments of meaning, inspiration, connection, wonder, and awe. We are examining to what degree these moments constitute a spiritual dimension within a student's overall educational experience. Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Victor Kazanjian hopes this initiative can "find an educational language to describe the transformational process that is already happening in the classroom which is more than simply the passing on of information."

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