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Non-Resident Scholar, Health
Bowling Green State University
Email Kenneth Pargament
Dr. Pargament’s nationally and internationally known research addresses religious beliefs and health. His current research program addresses how elderly people who struggle with their religious beliefs and hold negative perceptions about their relationships with God and life meaning have an increased risk of death, even after controlling for physical and mental health and demographic characteristics. He also studies the process by which people create perceptions about the sanctity of aspects of their life activities and the beneficial effects of “sanctification” for individual and interpersonal well-being.
A strong emphasis on this work is how individuals and couples “sanctify” their marriage and how that sanctification is a strong predictor of marital quality and stability. Dr. Pargament won the 2000 Virginia Staudt Sexton Mentoring Award from the American Psychological Association for his generous work in encouraging both faculty, undergraduate, and graduate research in the psychology of religion.
Email Jerry Park
Jerry Park Vitae
Dr. Jerry Park is an associate professor of sociology and an affiliate fellow of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a psychology degree and earned his masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include the sociological study of religion, race, identity, culture and civic participation. Recent publications have covered religious media consumption, religious attitudes of academic scientists, and Asian-American religiosity. Currently his research focuses on the role of religion and entrepreneurial and work behavior, as well as religion and racial stratification attitudes. His undergraduate teaching is in race/class/gender inequalities and the capstone senior seminar, and at the graduate level, he teaches a seminar on the sociology of religiosity, and the sociology of religion, race, and gender.
Resident Scholar, Philosophy
Professor of Religion, Baylor University
Mikeal Parsons Vitae
Email Mike Parsons
Dr. Mikeal Parsons, a renowned religion scholar at Baylor University, believes research is key to a successful and fulfilling undergraduate career.
Dr. Parsons started out studying Greek at Campbell University, located in Parsons’ home state of North Carolina. But he soon found himself drawn to the ministry, despite his “love [of] language.” He changed his major to philosophy and religion and then decided to go to seminary at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned an M.Div and Ph.D. He has taught at Baylor since 1986.
Non-Resident Senior Fellow
Assistant Provost for Public Engagement, Indiana Wesleyan University
Dr. Jerry Pattengale, ISR Distinguished Senior Fellow and Director of the Green Scholars Initiative. He serves as the Assistant Provost for Public Engagement at Indiana Wesleyan University, the Executive Director of The National Conversations, a writing partner at GiANT Impact, a Senior Fellow for the Sagamore Institute, Research Scholar for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Associate Publisher for Christian Scholar’s Review.
He continues to speak nationally on higher educational issues, and in 2008 his Teaching Professor broadcast set the all-time viewing record for Magna Publications. He is a leading voice for Purpose-Guided Education ™, a term he coined in 1997. These humanities-based views are manifest in his recent books Why I Teach and Purpose-Guided Education (McGraw-Hill) and Helping Sophomores Succeed (Jossey-Bass). Engagements have included a wide range of conferences, broadcasts and universities, from Michigan, Houston, UTEP, and Central Florida to Colgate, Taylor, IPFW and Ivy Tech. In 2000, the National Resource Center (USC) and Houghton Mifflin selected him for the National Student Advocate Award. He’s also held a NEH award to Greece, and was twice named Professor of the Year by the Azusa Pacific University student body. In addition to a long-standing weekly newsprint column (Buck Creek Chronicles), among his other works are New Discoveries and Biblical Translation (12 vols., Passages Lecture Series); Biblical Evidence: Logical Approaches to Objectivity; Straight Talk; Leading Business by the Book (Triangle), Visible Solutions for Invisible Students (USC) and Taking Captive Every Thought: 40 Years of the Christian Scholar’s Review (Abilene Christian University Press, with CSR editors). Forthcoming books with publishers include Beyond Integration? Interdisciplinary Possibilities for the Future of Christian Higher Education (with Todd Ream & David Riggs); A Collection of Habits: Virtues for the First-Year of College (with IWU colleagues); Your Life Wedge; Buck Creek, and; several books and resources associated with the Green Scholars Initiative.
In the fall of 2010 he became the first Director of the Green Scholars Initiative, an international project involving dozens of institutions. The newly assembled Green Collection, highlighted recently in New York Times articles, is among the world’s largest collection of ancient texts and items related to the Judeo-Christian story (around 60,000 and growing). From thousands of cuneiform texts and papyri, Dead Sea Scrolls, Climaci Receptus and Coptic texts to Gutenberg, Caxton, Wycliff, Tyndale, Thomas a’Kempis, Erasmus, King James, and a litany of Reformation and post-Reformation originals, the Green Collection will provide several Senior Scholars and their research clusters rare hands-on original research opportunities. This will revolutionize the undergraduate-research experience for generations of students in related humanities disciplines. Preliminary studies of very early un-researched Greek papyri have already revealed early Christian Scriptures and early sections of Greek classics. Major exhibitions and addresses have already taken place or scheduled at prominent venues, ranging from the Vatican Embassy (DC) and Vatican City (Rome) to The Sagamore Institute, academic conferences and numerous colleges. The Institute for Studies of Religion was selected as the academic home for the Green Scholars Initiative. The Green Scholars Initiative is named after its funders, the Green family, the benevolent owners of Hobby Lobby. Dr. Pattengale will rejoin Dr. Scott Carroll, the founding Director of the Green Collection. Their earlier work directing the Van Kampen family’s foundation (also centered on a major collection) resulted in numerous awards, was featured by the Smithsonian, British Library, and in various media outlets. Their Odyssey in Egypt program, attached to their excavation in Wadi Natrun, Egypt, won international acclaim and launched a top-ten website globally. The eminent Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, prolific author and researches in 26 languages, served as their doctoral mentor at Miami University (OH).
Non-Resident Scholar, Historical Sociology
University of Washington
Email Steven Pfaff
Steven Pfaff Vitae
Pfaff’s current research projects explore the dynamics of spontaneous mobilization in repressive states, religiously-based collective action, the emergence and diffusion of Evangelicalism in 16th Century Central Europe, the causes of mutiny in Britain’s Royal Navy during the age of sail, mosque-state relations and their consequences for Muslims in Western polities, and the political process of secularization in Europe during the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Steven Pfaff is Associate Professor of Sociology and Directer of the Center for West European Studies (CWES) in the Jackson School of International Studies. He works broadly in comparative and historical sociology, with substantive interests in collective action and social movements, religion, and politics.
Non-Resident Scholar, Religion and Civic Life
Louisiana State University, Shreveport
Email Edward C. Polson
Edward C. Polson is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Louisiana State University in Shreveport where he also serves as the editor of the Quarterly Journal of Ideology, published by the Institute for Human Services and Public Policy. Dr. Polson holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Baylor University. He also holds an M.Div. from George W. Truett Theological Seminary and an M.S.W. from Baylor University. His research interests include the intersection of religion and civic life, the life of religious congregations, political behavior, and the work of faith-based non-profit organizations.
Non-Resident Senior Scholar, Altruism
Stony Brook University
Email Stephen Post
Stephen G. Post is Professor of Preventive Medicine, Head of the Division of Medicine in Society, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He was previously (1988-2008) Professor of Bioethics, Religion and Philosophy, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, and Senior Research Scholar at the Becket Institute of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University. Post is currently a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, and an elected Hasting Center Fellow.