July 23, 2018

Of Many Institute

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Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership

Yael Shy and Ariel Ennis, New York University

Funded by New York University

The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership is a pioneering initiative devoted to educating and inspiring religious and spiritual leaders to utilize multifaith dialogue and service as a force for positive social change. The Of Many Institute is home to all multifaith resources and events on NYU’s campus as well as multifaith programming that engages, trains and inspires the wider public. The Of Many Institute works to foster

  1. broader and deeper understanding about the world’s diverse religions, cultures, and traditions;
  2. in-depth multifaith engagement opportunities (on campus and for the wider community);
  3. multifaith leadership training; and
  4. advanced curricula and coursework on religious literacy and multifaith education.

In the six years since its creation, the Of Many Institute has achieved numerous goals, including:

  • Creating an academic minor in Multifaith and Spiritual Leadership through a partnership with the NYU Silver School of Social Work and Wagner School of Public Service – the first of its kind at any secular research institution across the country.

  • Of Many’s award-winning “Faith Zone” workshops, a curriculum that enhances religious literacy and fosters dialogue about religion and spirituality. Of Many has delivered these workshops to over 5,000 people over the last five years, with requests from colleges and universities all over the country, including the University of Northern Iowa, the Pennsylvania Consortium of the Liberal Arts, and Merrimack College.

  • A unique training program for NYU’s 70 campus chaplain affiliates from nearly every religious tradition (including Humanist, interfaith, Buddhist, Sikh, and Hindu). After an intensive application and vetting process, all campus chaplain affiliates meet monthly and are provided continuing education in topics ranging from diversity and inclusion and sexual assault and Title IX issues to working with students with disabilities and strategies for chaplain self-care.

Last year, with initial funding provided by the Luce Foundation, the Of Many Institute partnered with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development to create the pathbreaking new Campus Religious Leaders Project. This initiatives brings the intersecting worlds of higher education, spiritual life, and theological education into a unified conversation that promotes multifaith dialogue, training, and curriculum development at the college level.

The Campus Religious Leaders Project contains two elements, each designed to meet the needs of a different segment of the population current working on campus-based religious and spiritual life. The first element is offering the first-ever graduate-level EdD degree in Multifaith College Leadership housed at a secular research university. This program, which will enroll its first students in the Fall of 2019, will train the next generation of directors at religious and spiritual life centers around the world, bringing a new level of sophistication and wisdom to an ever-growing field.

The second element of the Campus Religious Leaders Project is an annual Summer Institute, hosted at NYU, that will bring together existing religious life professionals from around the country for a week of learning, discussion and community building. This Institute helps translate the academic work being developed for the EdD into a continuing education context and provide a new form of professional development for those already working in the field. This first of these institutes took place in Summer 2018 and was attended by 46 chaplains and religious life professionals from around the country.

Yael Shy is Senior Director of the Of Many Institute. Ariel Ennis is Assistant Director.

Description courtesy of Of Many Institute

Watch the On Many film on YouTube

Yael Shy’s website

Ariel Enni’s book Teaching Religious Literacy

NYU Global Spiritual Life

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