Learning Goals for Theology Majors
The undergraduate major in theology is designed to introduce students to the academic study of theology, including its major sub-disciplines, and to train them in the skills and attitudes that they will need to pursue advanced studies in the field. More specifically, the program is designed to produce the following student outcomes.
- Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of the breadth of human religious experience. This includes:
- Appreciation of the plurality of religious experience as reflected in various cultures;
- Awareness of how religious beliefs both reflect and influence the larger society of which they are a part;
- Sensitivity to the ways in which religious values affect people’s approaches to contemporary ethical issues; and
- Familiarity with the various ways in which people have sought to achieve and express union with the divine.
- Students will display a broad knowledge of the history and contemporary expressions of the Christian tradition. This includes:
- General knowledge of the content of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures (Clare College);
- Awareness of the major elements of the Catholic and Franciscan tradition (Clare College);
- Broad familiarity with the historical development of Christianity;
- Basic knowledge of the major schools and trends in historic and contemporary theology; and
- Focused understanding of some particular aspect of the Catholic religious tradition.
- Students will be able to examine and discuss religious topics in a critical, open-minded, and systematic fashion. This includes:
- Reading and interpreting Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Scriptures in a disciplined and critical manner;
- Analyzing and evaluating theological texts and issues critically and systematically;
- Examining their own beliefs and the beliefs of others in a critical yet sympathetic fashion; and
- Pursuing supervised research in theological topics using appropriate scholarly methods.
- Students will have the skills to communicate about religious topics and issues in an intelligent and effective manner. This includes:
- Using suitable language and style, appropriate modes of expression and argumentation, and proper documentation in written projects;
- Expressing ideas and arguments clearly in class discussions and personal interactions with instructors; and
- Responding appropriately and thoughtfully to questions and challenges raised by fellow students and instructors.
- Students will show sensitivity and respect toward individuals and groups whose beliefs and practices differ from their own. This includes:
- A positive appreciation of the insights and contributions of different religions and cultures;
- An ability to discuss deeply-held beliefs with openness and empathy toward people with whom they disagree; and
- A willingness to consider new ways of looking at religious questions.
Learning Goals for Clare College
Two of the courses in the Clare College core curriculum are commonly taught by theology faculty: CLAR 106 (Foundational Religious Texts of the Western World) and CLAR 107 (The Catholic-Franciscan Heritage). The goals of the Clare College curriculum are:
- To promote an understanding of the major achievements and modes of inquiry which have contributed to the intellectual and aesthetic developments of Western culture.
- To explore the origins and history of humanity.
- To address ultimate questions regarding the nature of God, persons, and the world with particular reference to the Catholic and Franciscan traditions.
- To advance intelligent and principled participation in the moral conversation of a democratic society.
- To promote an awareness of other cultures, traditions, and voices.
- To identify and address the future challenges confronting humanity.