Course Criteria for E/RS Status

  1. While preserving the integrity of the discipline from which it comes, the course integrates in a substantive way the ethical and/or religious analysis of a socially significant issue or issues.
    • Substantive integration means that the incorporation of moral reflection and/or religious analysis is neither peripheral nor incidental, but rather is central and intentional. Simply devoting one or two classes in the semester to ethical and/or religious analysis is inadequate.
    • Substantive integration of moral reflection and/or religious analysis is to be demonstrated explicitly in the course's structure, choice of required texts, and assignments.
    • "Socially significant" means that the issue under study constitutes an important dimension in the structure of society and has implications that go far beyond its effects upon isolated individuals.
    • Ethical and/or religious analysis entails that the course clearly identifies the values, principles, and methodology that are to be used in moral or religious reflection on the issue.
  2. The course is clearly identified as an E/RS course.
    • Minimally, this means that the course syllabus clearly states the course's status as an E/RS course and explicitly describes how the course intends to meet E/RS objectives.
    • Ideally, this means that, the professor of the course regularly draws the students' attention explicitly to the E/RS objectives of the course.
  3. The course provides regular and substantive opportunities for critical discussion.
    • Although the professor is expected to identify a set of values and principles according to which the social issue can be analyzed, the professor creates an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable to express their judgments.
    • By encouraging free discussion, the professor helps students to consider different points of view and to appreciate the complexity of issues.
    • A strictly lecture format is discouraged.
  4. The course complements, in some demonstrable way, the other required courses that make up the E/RS Focus.
    • Minimally, this means that the professor of the E/RS course has some awareness of the method and content of the three required E/RS courses and makes occasional connections to one or more of them.
    • Ideally, this means that the professor has a good grasp of the method and content of the three required E/RS courses and makes regular and relevant connections to them.