Bridging Religious Divides through Higher Education

To what extent is the collegiate experience preparing students to be successful leaders in our religiously diverse society?

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About Our Research

What did we study?

IDEALS explored a fundamental question: To what extent is the collegiate experience preparing students to be successful leaders in our religiously diverse society?

Who was involved?

Students on 122 U.S. campuses — including liberal arts colleges, religiously affiliated institutions, and public universities — participated in IDEALS from 2015–2019. At three points in their college careers, they were asked about their on-campus interfaith experiences, their knowledge and appreciation of different worldviews, and their commitment to bridging religious divides.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why does religious diversity matter?

    To address growing polarization in the United States, Americans need the skills and knowledge to effectively engage with people whose beliefs differ from their own.

  • Why study college students?

    College is distinct in the way it brings diverse people together to live, work, and interact in a sustained way, so there is much to learn from these experiences about how to foster interfaith cooperation.

  • What are the most important things we learned from IDEALS?

    Our research highlighted five major themes about college students’ interfaith engagement, their knowledge and attitudes toward different religious groups, and their commitment to bridgebuilding.

  • Who should use IDEALS findings?

    Our findings have direct implications for stakeholders at all levels of higher education: presidents and VPs, faculty, and student affairs practitioners.

  • How can I learn more about the research?

    IDEALS research is featured in a variety of reports available for download on our website.

INSPIRES Campus Climate Index

Inspired by data gathered through IDEALS, this institutional assessment tool sheds light on institutions’ efforts toward, and commitment to, establishing a welcoming campus climate for students of different worldview identities.

Campus Assessment

My hope is that any institution that participates – no matter how welcoming their climate is right now – will engage in a great conversation about how to best support their students’ exploration and development of their spiritual, religious, and secular identities.


IDEALS Race & Religion Research Collective

  • Dr. Kanika Magee-Jones

    Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Special Assistant for Interfaith Programming Howard University
  • Dr. Sable Manson

    Assistant Director for Student Leadership and Development for the Dornsife Joint Educational Project University of Southern California
  • Dr. Keon McGuire

    Associate Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Faculty Affiliate with the School of Social Transformation Arizona State University
  • Dr. Darris Means

    Associate Professor and Dean’s Faculty Scholar in Equity, Justice, and Rural Education University of Pittsburgh
  • Dr. J.T. Snipes

    Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad

    Founder and President Muslim Wellness Foundation

Join us today

Get inspired, equipped, and connected to unlock the potential of America’s religious diversity.