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...

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

Dr. David Aune, Associate Professor
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...

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

Dr. David Aune, Associate Professor
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 AU's 2020 Religion Graduates

The Religion Department is proud and delighted to congratulate our four majors and twenty-nine minors graduating at the end of this school year. We are sorry we will not be all together in person to mark your achievement and to wish you every success.

Majors: Adam Bendel, Shannon Galleher, Mark Gorsuch, Connor McKinney
Minors (Religion and Ethics): Dana Awlia, Christie Benton, Frances Boggs, Sarah Butti, Ty Coile, Paige Frankovich, Kyle Gibson, Christine Goldsmith, Samantha Hagans, Julia Hines, Marissa Humphries, Amanda Janecek, Caleb Johnson, Joshua Johnston, Jakson Kennedy, Lexus Lang, Alli Lange, Savannah Lewis, Kelly Luck, Jacob Nestle, Priscilla Nordman, John Oney, Zach Read, Shelby Reutter, Nathan Roblin, Allison Skerkavich, Madeline Sluss, Shelby Starnes, Morgan Tinnirello
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Under more normal circumstances, we would recognise our graduating seniors at our annual Last Lecture in April. While that was not possible, we still have the blog and social media. So please meet the graduating religion majors of 2020 in their own words (and share this link widely):

Mark Gorsuch - "I learned a great deal about the Atonement, Church History, and gained a deeper appreciation for the Old Testament. I was also able to go on two amazing trips with the religion department to Italy (where I saw the Pope twice!) and Israel where I walked in the footsteps of Christ. While writing my thesis ("Neither Meek Nor Mild: A Feminist Theological Perspective on The Blessed Virgin Mary") I learned a great deal about the greatest of saints, Mary the Mother of God. I plan to go on to get a master’s in clinical mental health counseling at Ashland Theological Seminary.
Mark in Jerusalem with AU

Adam Bendel - "My time in the AU Religion department has taught me the necessary skills to formulate my own theology yet be open to numerous different thoughts and beliefs. After I graduate from...Read more

The Prophets of Zoom at AU: Jemar Tisby, Michelle Higgins, and Seth Wispelwey

Historian Jemar Tisby was scheduled to speak at Ashland University in Peter Slade's class REL340 Religion and the Civil Rights Movement; that was until the Coronavirus cancelled all events and moved all classes online.

Jemar Tisby, author of The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, kindly agreed to speak to the class on Zoom.

"It went so well," said Slade, "that it occured to me that there were other people I would love my students to meet and learn from." He invited Rev. Michelle Higgins, the founder of Faith for Justice in St. Louis, and Rev Seth Wispelwey, one of the organizers of Congregate Charlottesville. Both kindly agreed to show up.

Recordings of the classes are available for anyone to watch -- click on the titles to go to the videos (Slade apologizes for his limited Zoom skills):

1. Reconsidering Racial Reconciliation - A Conversation with Jemar Tisby














2. Six Years Since Ferguson - A Conversation with Michelle Higgins














3. . . . since Charlottesville - A Conversation with Seth Wispelwey

...Read more

Craig Hovey wins AU Excellence in Scholarship Award

Congratulations to the Religion Department's own Dr. Craig Hovey who is the winner of this year's Ashland University Excellence in Scholarship Award. The award, which consists of a medal to be worn with regalia and a $3,000 honorarium, recognizes AU faculty who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship.

Dr. Hovey is well-deserving of this award. Since joining the faculty in 2009, he has written four books, edited five volumes, contributed thirteen essays to other edited volumes and encyclopedias, and had eleven articles published in peer-reviewed journals. His work has been recognized by his peers in the academy as contributing to the field of Theology and Ethics. This recognition extends outside the United States; he is a scholar with an international reputation. The International Nietzsche Society recently invited him to be a keynote speaker at its meeting in England. He has also had his first book, To Share in the Body: A Theology of Martyrdom for Today’s Church, translated into Chinese!

Why not pass the time during this quarantine celebrating excellence in scholarship by reading some Hovey!




...Read more

Religion Theses: Star Wars, Marriage, and Stand Your Ground

On Wednesday, December 4 at 5pm in the Library's Lecture Theater (take the elevator to the basement and turn right), six religion majors will make short presentations of their major theses. Please come along to celebrate the completion of their capstone projects, to learn from their research, and to ask questions. Topics covered in the presentations will range from Practical Theology, Ethics, Biblical Exegesis, to Church History.

Adam Bendel, "Practical Implications of Intergenerational Ministry"

Shannon Brown, "Taking the “Me” out of Marriage: A Community-Oriented Perspective"
Mark Gorsuch, "Neither Meek Nor Mild: A Feminist Theological Perspective on the Blessed Virgin Mary"
Leslie Mahaney, "Baptism Practices in the Early Church and their implications for Ministry in the Twenty-First Century"
Connor McKinney, "A Journey of Two Hero’s Far Far Away: The Gospel of Mark, Star Wars, and Joseph Campbell."
John Oney, "The Convergence—or Lack of Convergence—of Stand-Your-Ground with Pacifism and Just-War Theory"
The event is free and open to the community. ...Read more

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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