With assistance from the Apgar Foundation, UNT is pleased to announce the development of the Institute of Christian Studies. Housed in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service, this academic program will support research about Christians and their institutions with an eye on the production of work that help Christians serve their community and the larger society.
Why Christian Studies at UNT?
Over the past decades we have seen the rise of many scholarly programs dedicated to the study of different social groups. The basis of these groups has been racial (Black Studies, Chicano Studies), gender (Women Studies), sexual preference (Gay/Lesbian Studies) and even religious (Jewish Studies, Islamic Studies). Many non-marginalized groups have also developed programs of study (Men Studies, Whiteness Studies). There are even a relatively large number of educational institutions with religious study programs based on Jewish or Islamic studies Yet there is an absence of Christian Studies programs on non-sectarian campuses. The few such programs that do exists are at Christian colleges and focus much more on training ministers than academic assessments about the state of Christians and Christianity.
Beyond serving Christians in the local DFW community the Christian Studies Program possesses the possibility of shaping the direction of academic research into Christianity. Much of the current social research is very theoretical and not focused on helping Christians aid their community and/or is hostile towards Christians and their institutions. The success of the Christian Studies Program at UNT will encourage the development of future similar programs. This may have multiplier effects that create even more academic work that can be used to aid Christians and their institutions. Furthermore, the graduate students and post-doctorate fellows who go through the program will be in a position to become influential in the study of Christianity and should carry the values of the Christian Studies Program with them. Finally, the program will generate research at other institutions through its grants, and conferences. Thus in numerous ways, the Christian Studies Program will promote its approach to the study of Christianity in many places outside of UNT.