Director Dr. Barbara A. McGraw

“Pluralism arises from the values of liberty, equal dignity, conscience, and participation embodied in (even if not fully achieved by) the founding documents of the United States, and is at the heart of 'America's Sacred Ground.'" -- Barbara A. McGraw


Barbara A. McGraw, J.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Social Ethics, Law, and Public Life
School of Liberal Arts and School of Economics and Business Administration




An author and speaker on the role of religious pluralism in public life, Dr. Barbara A. McGraw has been active in both the American Political Science Association's and the American Academy of Religion's "Religion and Politics" sections, having served on the Executive Council of APSA's section and as co-chair of AAR's section.  As Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism (CERP) Director, she is the organizer and co-facilitator of the annual AAR-CERP "Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity" program, which is a religious literacy and interfaith leadership program for directors and senior officials who oversee chaplaincy and religious accommodations in government institutions, e.g., prisons and the military.  (Learn more here.)  Dr. McGraw served on AAR's standing Committee for the Public Understanding of Religion, 2011-2015, and she served as president of the American Academy of Religion Western Region, 2001-2002.

Dr. McGraw is editor of the prestigious Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., published May 2016.  She is lead co-editor (with Jo Renee Formicola) of and contributor to Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America's Sacred Ground, which is based on Dr. McGraw's earlier book entitled Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America.  She is also co-author (with Robert S. Ellwood) of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions, the 11th edition for which is forthcoming in 2020.  Her current research and outreach interests also include interfaith leadership in business and the professions.  Related to this work, she has been teaching religious literacy and interfaith leadership to Saint Mary's Global MBA students for more than a decade and to undergraduate business students since 2014.

She holds a Juris Doctor Degree and a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics, both from the University of Southern California.  Recipient of the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism, Dr. McGraw also is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, an Affliliate of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, and an activist for religious rights in government institutions and fair treatment of religious minorities in California's K-12 textbooks.  Previously a corporate finance attorney with the international law firm Skadden Arps, she advocates for global business leaders to become interfaith leaders. 

Find out more about Dr. McGraw's recent work here and here and here.