Department of Religion

Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. David C. Aune
Chair, Department of Religion
daune@ashland.edu
419.289.5238
10 Rinehart 
Ashland, OH 44805

Administrative Assistant

Sara Garska
sgarska@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 will...

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

Course Rotation

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

David Aune
Dr. David Aune
Associate Professor of Religion, Acting Chair of the Religion Department
10, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5238 / daune@ashland.edu
Department of Religion
Dr. Sue Dickson
Dr. Sue Dickson
Associate Professor of Religion
12, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5561 / sdickso2@ashland.edu
Department of Religion
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
Department of Religion
Peter Slade
Dr. Peter Slade
Professor of Religion
119, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5231 / pslade@ashland.edu
Department of Religion

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

Contact Us

Department Chair

Dr. David C. Aune
Chair, Department of Religion
daune@ashland.edu
419.289.5238
10 Rinehart 
Ashland, OH 44805

Administrative Assistant

Sara Garska
sgarska@ashland.edu
419.289.5110
203 Bixler Hall
Ashland, OH 44805

Programs

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 will...

Curriculum

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

Course Rotation

Current Academic Year

Accelerated BA/MA

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

Faculty

David Aune
Dr. David Aune
Associate Professor of Religion, Acting Chair of the Religion Department
10, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5238 / daune@ashland.edu
Department of Religion
Dr. Sue Dickson
Dr. Sue Dickson
Associate Professor of Religion
12, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5561 / sdickso2@ashland.edu
Department of Religion
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
Department of Religion
Peter Slade
Dr. Peter Slade
Professor of Religion
119, Rinehart Center for Religious Studies
419.289.5231 / pslade@ashland.edu
Department of Religion

Mission & Objectives

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

Congratulations to the Graduating Religion Majors of 2021

Congratulations to religion majors Alec Dunlap, Lydia Heckert, Nathan Sims, Angel Sims, and Ray Vernon on their graduation from Ashland University. We are grateful for the years we have spent together and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.




...Read more

Religion majors give presentations in the 2021 URCA Symposium


On April 15, 2021, two of our senior Religion majors, Alec Dunlap and Nathan Sims, presented their research as part of the annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.
Alec Dunlap, who was advised by Dr. David Aune, presented on the topic, “Intellectual Disabilities and Reformation Theology: What Do Luther and Calvin Have to Say?” Recognizing that those with intellectual disabilities are sometimes excluded or separated or even blamed for their disabilities, Dunlap argued that the theological frameworks provided by Martin Luther and John Calvin can provide helpful resources for ministry. Dunlap focused on three major loci within the reformer’s theological system: the providence of God, the image of God in humanity and the sacraments of the church. According to Dunlap, both Luther and Calvin provide resources not only for seeing God at work in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities but also for ministering to them and including them in the life of the church. 
Nathan Sims, who was advised by Dr. Craig Hovey, presented on the topic, “Triumphus et Ruina autem Leviathan: A Critique of Christianity’s Embrace of the State as Savior.” In his work, Sims traced ways in which the Christian church has idolized the state throughout its history and offered a critique of this tendency to view the state as a savior. Drawing on the work of Augustine, Karl Barth and William Cavanaugh, Sims discussed the theological significance of the state as providing goods for the church while at the same time threatening its existence. In the end, Sims argued for the importance of seeing that eventually the state will disappear and give way to the kingdom of God.
...Read more

Dr. Sue Dickson's Last Lecture


On Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00pm the Religion Department will celebrate its graduating seniors, induct new members into Theta Alpha Kappa (the religion honors society) and close out the year with a lecture by our own Rev. Dr. Sue DicksonThe lecture, "7 Last Charges to My Students: Colossians 3.12-17" is free and open to the public. This is the sixth annual last lecture which is an invitation for a speaker to address the graduating class of Religion majors as if it were their last time to do so.

This year it is a "last lecture" in more than name, after fourteen years of teaching at Ashland University, Dr. Dickson is retiring at the end of the semester.

The event will be held on ZOOM. To receive a link to the event, please REGISTER by clicking here. ...Read more

Jemar Tisby: Public Lectures

The Religion Department is pleased to be co-sponsoring Jemar Tisby's visit to campus on March 24th and 25th. Tisby is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism (2019) and How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice (2021).Jemar Tisby grew up just north of Chicago and attended the University of Notre Dame before going on to join Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta Corps where he taught sixth grade at a public charter school and later went on to be the principal. He received his Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary and is working toward his doctorate in History at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the 20th century.He speaks nationwide at churches, conferences, and colleges and his writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and CNN. Tisby is the president of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective and also a co-host of the “Pass The Mic” podcast.His “Color of Compromise” lecture on Wednesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Myers Convocation Center and his “Fierce Urgency of Now” sermon on Thursday, March 25 at 8 p.m. in Miller Chapel are open to the public with both in-person seating and an online livestream. Prior registration for either is required and can be completed at www.ashland.edu/color-of-compromise



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Support the Department of Religion

By donating any amount you're making a big difference in our department's future. To designate your gift to the Department of Religion, select “Other” in the "Designated Options" and type the department's name in the associated box.

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