Religion Department

Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. Peter Slade
Chair, Department of Religion
pslade@ashland.edu
419.289.5237
15 Rinehart 
Ashland, OH 44805

Administrative Assistant

Lindsay Brandon-Smith
lbrando2@ashland.edu
419.289.5110
203 Bixler Hall
Ashland, OH 44805

Programs

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Deepen and broaden your understanding of Christianity and World Religions.

When you study Religion at Ashland University, you will explore the fields of:

Biblical Studies Christian Theology History of Christianity Practical Theology Christian Ethics World Religions

As a Religion major, with the direction and guidance of your professors, you...

Curriculum

Each department provides information specific to its majors and programs to help ensure you choose exactly which major is right for you. Use the supplemental material below to assist you in finding a major that most interests you.

Current Undergraduate Catalog

Current Academic Year

Accelerated BA/MA

Accelerated BA and MA in Christian Ministries

Excellent preparation to serve God and the Church while saving time and money!

Get a head start on a seminary degree. Look into AU’s accelerated BA in religion and MA in Christian Ministry.

We are introducing a new way to complete your Bachelor of Arts in Religion along with a Master of Arts in Christian Ministries (MACM) in only five years.

How does it work?

The accelerated BA/MACM is designed for helping traditional undergraduate students like you to move on to seminary after you complete a BA in Religion at Ashland University.

Twelve credits from religion classes in the BA are applied to the MACM as advanced standing.  Also, up to 15 additional hours of electives in the BA degree are classes taken at the Seminary. This means you can get started on your MACM while doing your BA in Religion from AU! One year after graduating with a BA you can successfully complete the MACM from ATS!

Ministry experience while still an undergraduate

You don’t have to wait until seminary to gain experience. Working with the Office of Christian Ministry at AU, there are opportunities for summer internships with churches and ministry experience during the semester.

What you'll learn:

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministries (MACM) is designed to equip graduates for effective ministry and competent leadership primarily in congregational settings. The degree provides a foundation in ministerial theory and practice that will assist students to pursue ministry.

Once you complete your accelerated MACM you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate critical and faithful interpretation and responsible use of Scripture in appropriate ministry and professional settings.
  • Establish communal and personal disciplines that nourish Christian spiritual and moral formation.
  • Form a missional vision of kingdom ministry with multi-cultural and multi-faith contexts.
  • Demonstrate critical theological reflection that is biblically faithful, historically grounded, contextually relevant and integrated with life and ministry.
  • Develop ongoing practices of justice that bear witness to the full scope of the kingdom of God.
  • Exhibit effective ministry skills related to your areas of service.

Application Process

Since students taking courses at ATS as part of the accelerated BA/MACM cannot be formally admitted into the seminary until they have completed the BA in Religion, the following standards will be used to enroll those university students in classes at ATS as part of the accelerated degree.

  1. Interested students will submit a letter to the chair of the AU Religion Department indicating a desire to enroll in the Accelerated BA/MACM Degree.
  2. The student will provide a one to two page essay outlining their sense of calling to ministry and how the BA/MACM degree will help them prepare for that calling.
  3. The AU Religion chair will send the letter and the essay to the ATS registrar and dean along with a letter of recommendation from the chair.
  4. The ATS registrar will evaluate the AU student transcripts to determine compatibility based on GPA (3.0) and courses taken thus far.
  5. The student will attend an interview with the ATS admissions staff. The ATS dean may opt to interview the student as well.
  6. If all of the above steps are completed and ATS determines the student satisfies the necessary requirements, the admissions staff and/or dean will give the student a letter of acknowledgement indicating that the student can begin taking courses at ATS as part of the accelerated degree. The letter will indicate that ATS will accept 12 hours advanced standing from the AU Religion department as per the agreement between ATS and AU. Once the student has successfully completed the BA in religion at AU, he or she will be enrolled at ATS to complete any outstanding requirements for the MACM.
  7. Before the student can enroll in ATS in year five she/he will need to complete the MACM application. However, acceptance will be assumed based on numbers five and six above.

Faculty

Dr. David Aune, Associate Professor
Dr. David Aune
Associate Professor of Religion
10, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5238 / daune@ashland.edu
Religion Department
Dr. Sue Dickson
Dr. Sue Dickson
Associate Professor of Religion
12, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5561 / sdickso2@ashland.edu
Religion Department
Dr. Craig Hovey, Associate Professor, Director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence
Dr. Craig Hovey
Professor of Religion, Director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence
11, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5208 / chovey@ashland.edu
Religion Department
Peter Slade
Dr. Peter Slade
Professor of Religion, Chair of the Religion Department
119, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5231 / pslade@ashland.edu
Religion Department

Mission & Objectives

We are committed to our students

Mission

The Department of Religion furnishes an appreciation of Biblical studies and the breadth of Christian thought for all graduating students. It seeks to help students become aware of how religious commitments and values continue to shape our world views and affect our ethics. It also seeks to be a learning environment for intensive and advanced work in religious explorations as a means of preparing students for graduate study and professional careers in churches and ministry.

Objectives of the Religion Department

  1. To furnish an appreciation of Biblical studies and Christian thought for all graduating students
  2. To provide preliminary studies for students wishing to do graduate work in religion
  3. To prepare students to enter seminary training, religious vocations and related social professions
  4. To provide courses of study for students who wish to teach religion in primary and secondary schools
  5. To provide courses of study for students who have interests in Christian involvement in community and churches
  6. To develop a basic knowledge of the Bible, as well as the reading and writing skills to engage and critically analyze the Biblical text and secondary Biblical studies writings
  7. To develop an overall understanding of the history of Christian thought and practice, as well as the reading and writing skills and historical tools to critically engage primary works in Christian history
  8. To develop a basic understanding of Christian systematic and historical theology and ethics, as well as the reading and writing skills to critically engage primary works in Christian theology and ethics
  9. To develop a familiarity with and appreciation for world religious traditions
  10. To integrate religious studies to life and vocation

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the main events and themes in the Bible.
  2. Analyze the Biblical text and secondary Biblical studies writings.
  3. Examine the history of Christian thought and practice.
  4. Identify major themes in Christian theology and ethics.
  5. Evaluate primary works in Christian theology and ethics
  6. Identify beliefs and practices in major world religious traditions.
  7. Integrate religious studies into life and vocation.

Ashland University was founded by the Brethren Church in 1878. The Religion Department has a close relationship with the church while maintaining a broad, non-sectarian approach to the study of Religion. For more about AU's religious identity and relationship with the Brethren Church follow this link.

Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. Peter Slade
Chair, Department of Religion
pslade@ashland.edu
419.289.5237
15 Rinehart 
Ashland, OH 44805

Administrative Assistant

Lindsay Brandon-Smith
lbrando2@ashland.edu
419.289.5110
203 Bixler Hall
Ashland, OH 44805

Programs

Undergraduate
Degree Type: BA
Deepen and broaden your understanding of Christianity and World Religions.

When you study Religion at Ashland University, you will explore the fields of:

Biblical Studies Christian Theology History of Christianity Practical Theology Christian Ethics World Religions

As a Religion major, with the direction and guidance of your professors, you...

Curriculum

Each department provides information specific to its majors and programs to help ensure you choose exactly which major is right for you. Use the supplemental material below to assist you in finding a major that most interests you.

Current Undergraduate Catalog

Current Academic Year

Accelerated BA/MA

Faculty

Dr. David Aune, Associate Professor
Dr. David Aune
Associate Professor of Religion
10, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5238 / daune@ashland.edu
Religion Department
Dr. Sue Dickson
Dr. Sue Dickson
Associate Professor of Religion
12, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5561 / sdickso2@ashland.edu
Religion Department
Dr. Craig Hovey, Associate Professor, Director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence
Dr. Craig Hovey
Professor of Religion, Director of the Ashland Center for Nonviolence
11, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5208 / chovey@ashland.edu
Religion Department
Peter Slade
Dr. Peter Slade
Professor of Religion, Chair of the Religion Department
119, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5231 / pslade@ashland.edu
Religion Department

Mission & Objectives

We are committed to our students

Mission

The Department of Religion furnishes an appreciation of Biblical studies and the breadth of Christian thought for all graduating students. It seeks to help students become aware of how religious commitments and values continue to shape our world views and affect our ethics. It also seeks to be a learning environment for intensive and advanced work in religious explorations as a means of preparing students for graduate study and professional careers in churches and ministry.

Objectives of the Religion Department

  1. To furnish an appreciation of Biblical studies and Christian thought for all graduating students
  2. To provide preliminary studies for students wishing to do graduate work in religion
  3. To prepare students to enter seminary training, religious vocations and related social professions
  4. To provide courses of study for students who wish to teach religion in primary and secondary schools
  5. To provide courses of study for students who have interests in Christian involvement in community and churches
  6. To develop a basic knowledge of the Bible, as well as the reading and writing skills to engage and critically analyze the Biblical text and secondary Biblical studies writings
  7. To develop an overall understanding of the history of Christian thought and practice, as well as the reading and writing skills and historical tools to critically engage primary works in Christian history
  8. To develop a basic understanding of Christian systematic and historical theology and ethics, as well as the reading and writing skills to critically engage primary works in Christian theology and ethics
  9. To develop a familiarity with and appreciation for world religious traditions
  10. To integrate religious studies to life and vocation

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the main events and themes in the Bible.
  2. Analyze the Biblical text and secondary Biblical studies writings.
  3. Examine the history of Christian thought and practice.
  4. Identify major themes in Christian theology and ethics.
  5. Evaluate primary works in Christian theology and ethics
  6. Identify beliefs and practices in major world religious traditions.
  7. Integrate religious studies into life and vocation.

Ashland University was founded by the Brethren Church in 1878. The Religion Department has a close relationship with the church while maintaining a broad, non-sectarian approach to the study of Religion. For more about AU's religious identity and relationship with the Brethren Church follow this link.

Resources

Love God With Your Mind

Deepen and broaden your understanding of Christianity and World Religions in the Religion Department at Ashland University.

As a university rooted in Christian heritage, Ashland University offers opportunities to expand your religious understanding to put you on the path for fulfilling your calling

When you study Religion at Ashland University, you’ll explore the fields of:

  • Biblical Studies

  • Christian Theology

  • History of Christianity

  • Practical Theology

  • Christian Ethics

  • World Religions

Religion Department Differentiators

The Religion Department’s programs are academically rigorous, sensitive to issues of faith development, and focused on spiritual and moral formation—a perfect combination for preparing you for your calling to a life of ministry in the church or academy.

As a Religion student, you’ll:

  • Receive personal attention from dedicated faculty determined to helping you succeed
  • Benefit from small class sizes to facilitate your learning
  • Write a thesis in your chosen area of concentration with direction and guidance from your professors
  • Participate in thoughtful classroom explorations to deepen your understanding of Christianity and World Religions
  • Choose to study religion and travel to Israel, Italy and Germany
  • Undertake internships and service learning projects that integrate your studies, serving others in such places as churches, nursing homes, social agencies and non-profit organizations

Many department graduates have attended the Ashland Theological Seminary while others have chosen to pursue additional academic or professional training at Princeton Seminary, Oxford University, Emory University, Duke University, and elsewhere. A religion major or minor is also a perfect complement to any of Ashland’s other fields of study to help you become aware of how religious commitments and values shape our world.

Religion News

Religion Classes Spring 2020

REL106 Exploring the Bible - Six sections (M,W, F, 10,11, 3 (honors); T,Th, 10:50) - core: ReligionThere is a reason it is a best seller -- take this class and find out why for yourself.

REL107 Exploring World Religions - Six sections in a classroom (M,W, F, 12, 1; T,Th, 12:15, 1:40) and two sections online - core: Religion
REL109 Exploring Christian Ethics - One online section - limited "seats" (Dr. Spaulding))
Start thinking about the BIG ISSUES--immigration, homosexuality, justice, war, abortion, love-- in this essential class for sentient beings.
REL 213 Life and Letters of Paul (M,W,F 1 - 1:50) 
An examination with Dr. Aune of the life of Saul/Paul, author of much of the New Testament and arguably the most important figure in Christianity after Jesus. We make a careful study of relevant sections in the Book of Acts and the letters attributed to Paul, aided by useful secondary sources. We consider not only theological and social concerns addressed by Paul but also the ways in which his teachings apply to the contemporary world.
REL214 Christian Formation & Life Calling (T,Th 1:40)Dr. Dickson says: What matters? Sign up to figure it out. Seriously . . . if you are serious about your faith and wish to explore what it means to serve God faithfully then this class is for you.

REL 220 Taking Human Life - Two Sections (M,W, F 8 & 9)- core: HumanitiesDr. Hovey says: Is it ever okay to take human life? If so, under what conditions? Many of the hardest contemporary issues in society and for religious communities are related to these questions, whether suicide, euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, or warfare. Join us for an exciting yet also serious course examining these ethical issues from philosophical and theological perspectives.
...Read more

2019 Rinehart Lecture - Beyond the Wardrobe: Using the Imagination to Form the Spiritual Lives of Children

Scholar, educator, and minister Dan McClain is delivering the 2019 Rinehart Lecture in Practical Theology at Ashland University on Tuesday, November 5 at 7pm.

McClain's lecture Beyond the Wardrobe: Using the Imagination to Form the Spiritual Lives of Children will be drawing on his research in the areas of youth work, children's literature, and theology.

Peter Slade, chair of the Religion Department explained the choice of this year’s lecturer. “We invited Dan to speak because the spiritual formation of children and students was of central importance in the lives and ministries of Don and Jan Rinehart."


Dan McClain is the Episcopal Chaplain at the College of William & Mary, Associate Rector at Bruton Parish in Williamsburg, Virginia, and an Adjunct professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York. Dan is a priest in the Episcopal Church, earned a PhD in theology from the Catholic University of America, and has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Eastern University. He is an experienced educator of people of all ages, is a certified special education teacher, and trained in Montessori methodology. Since 2011, Dan has taught courses on children’s literature and spirituality at the George Washington University, Loyola University Maryland, and the General Theological Seminary. He has delivered lectures and led workshops at Baylor University, Notre Dame University, among other places. Dan is currently writing Theology and Children’s Literature: a Brief Introduction, and with Matthew Tapie edited Reading Scripture as a Political Act (Fortress, 2014).

The Rinehart Lecture in Practical Theology is an annual endowed public lecture honoring the memory and continuing the work of Dr. Don Rinehart who, in his 46 years of teaching at Ashland, inspired generations of students.

The event is co-sponsored by the Office of Christian Ministry, Department of Religion. The lecture is free...Read more

Public Lecture: A Faith Journey from Galilee to the USA

The Religion Department is delighted to announce that on Monday, October 7 at noon in the Dauch College of Business, Room 115, Rev. Rev. Dr. Fahed AbuAkel is giving a public lecture: A Faith Journey from Galilee to the USA. All students and members of the community are welcome.

Rev. Dr. Fahed AbuAkel was born in the village of Kuffer Yassif in the Holy Land and educated in the USA. A Presbyterian minister, he served as the Moderator of the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). AbuAkel is the founder and, for many years, executive director of Atlanta Ministry with International Students Inc.

For more information contact Peter Slade

When: 12:00 - 12:50, October 7
Where COBE 115, Ashland University


...Read more

Remembering Dr. Iyad Ajwa

The Religion Department is grieving the death last week of Dr. Iyad Ajwa. David Aune, who team taught Understanding Islam in Today's World with Iyad, remembers his friend and colleague:

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Dr. Iyad Ajwa, a highly skilled, faithful, inspiring and dedicated member of the Ashland University faculty. In what follows, I will share some personal reflections of what he meant to me and to the larger AU community.

Although we came from very different faith traditions and academic disciplines, I quickly became friends with Dr. Ajwa soon after he joined the faculty in 1997. As a practicing Muslim, he was willing to share openly about his religious practices in an honest and non-threatening way. Beginning in 2000, Dr. Ajwa regularly offered a guest lecture in my Exploring World Religion courses in which he explained and demonstrated Muslim practices. He let students know that they could be free to ask any question and that he would not be insulted or hurt by their comments. And he never sought to influence others to change their religious views.

After the tragedy of Sept 11 2001, we saw the need to develop a course that would provide accurate information about the religion of Islam at a time when misinformation was the order of the day. We received a “New Dimensions” grant from the university and, in the spring of 2005 began offering the team-taught course, “Understanding Islam in Today’s World.” Since then, this popular course has been offered every other year and occasionally in the summer. It was almost always over-enrolled but Dr. Ajwa never wanted to turn students away. Many students have reported that this was one of the most interesting and helpful courses in the...Read more

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