Educational Initiatives

Educational Initiatives


The Center has been a leader in developing educational programs that address interfaith leadership in business and the professions and religious diversity in governmental institutions.  

In addition to taking the lead with an interdisciplinary team to develop an exciting new executive certificate program for professionals, the Center collaborated with the School of Economics and Business administration to develop and now supports the Intercultural-Interfaith Leadership Concentration, available to business majors, and the Interfaith Leadership Minor, available to any of the College’s many majors. The Center also trains state and federal officials who oversee religion programs and chaplaincy in the Center's "Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity: Toward Best Practices” program, which is co-sponsored with the American Academy of Religion.

Saint Mary's Students Walking Campus

Intercultural-Interfaith Leadership Course

This course provides an introduction to intercultural communication,
leadership in a culturally and religiously diverse world, cultural and religious
literacy, and bias and identity formation. These areas of study will help
students develop knowledge, understanding, and skills that will widen
students' ability to do well in today’s global environment, whether their
careers are domestically-based or involve international or global

Group of students

Intercultural-Interfaith Leadership Minor, for Students in Any Major at SMC

This minor, which is available to any student at Saint Mary’s College regardless of major, begins with some of the introductory courses of the Business Concentration described above but explores intercultural communication, leadership, religious diversity, and bias and identity formation in more depth, depending on the student’s interests. It ends with a project that integrates learning across all four dimensions of interfaith leadership.

Government Chaplaincy meeting

Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity Training

The American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism (CERP) cosponsored for many years Governmental Chaplaincy and Religious Diversity (G-CARD) training for senior officials who oversee chaplaincy in governmental institutions, including statewide and federal prison chaplaincy directors, senior military chaplains, and those who oversee military chaplaincy endorsements. The training focused on religions in all their diversity, especially on religions that tend to be less familiar. Over the years, more than 30 leading religions scholars and chaplaincy directors from 26 states and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have participated. 


Intercultural-Interfaith Leadership Executive Certificate Program Initiative

Increasingly, leaders in business and other professions are recognizing the need for significant “soft skills” for people management, teamwork, and collaboration. This new certificate is designed to address a significant dimension of that need: managing and leading in environments that are, and among constituents who are, culturally and religiously diverse.

Today cross-cultural contacts are unavoidable, whether one pursues professional goals domestically or globally. Consequently, professionals in various sectors (e.g., business, healthcare, education, and government service) are beginning to recognize the need to address the cultural and religious dimensions of their work not only to build effective teams and organizations but also to be effective when collaborating with others all around the world. The failure to address cultural and religious differences adequately too often leads to heedless ignorance, harm to relationships with constituents and colleagues, organizational dysfunction, and even litigation. Yet engagement with religion often remains taboo and attention to cultural differences is not sufficiently addressed in most professional contexts – or if addressed, such matters are not given the depth and quality of training that is needed.

Center for Religious Pluralism

Contact Us

Barbara A. McGraw, JD., Ph.D.

Professor, Social Ethics, Law, & Public Life

Director of the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism