Educator Professional Development


The Boniuk Institute offers an annual professional development series program for secondary Social Studies educators and student-facing professionals.

In an era of globalization, mass media, and migration, religious literacy is increasingly important in the cultivation of global citizens. Religious literacy is the knowledge of, and ability to understand, engage, and encounter religion and philosophical beliefs from the perspective of believers. Educators, a public intellectuals, play a critical role in teaching the academic study of world religions, which allows us to address misunderstanding, stereotyping, and clashes of ignorance in our multi-racial, multi-cultural , and multi-religious global village. 
Professional Development Overview
World religions are incorporated into many of the state of Texas TEKS, such as World Cultures, World Geography, and World History, however teaching world religions and religious literacy in the classroom can be challenging for teachers. 

The Boniuk Institute's Educator Professional Development program for secondary school educators, held each spring, offers instruction and training to deepen content knowledge of different religions and successfully incorporate it in their classrooms. At no cost to educators or school districts, participants receive foundational religious literacy training and TEKS-aligned resources, which creates awareness and enables them to more confidently include and address the role of world religion in their classroom subject matter. Participating educators received continuing education credits at the completion of this series.
2024 Educator Professional Development: "World Religions and Culture"

About the Instructors:

This series is presented by faculty and advanced graduate students of the Boniuk Institute:
aishwarya lakshmi
Dr. Aishwarya Lakshmi Facilitator

Gregory Han
Brenton Kalinowski
Dr. Niki Clements
van der merwe
Eduard van der Merwe
stanislav panin
Stanislav Panin
Dr. Josiah Taru
mendel kranz
Dr. Mendel Kranz
Jauhara Ferguson
di di
Dr. Di Di

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 
9:30-10:00am - Welcome & Overview 
10:00-10:45am - "Religious Literacy: Understanding and Application," Gregory Han 
Explore the vocabulary of religious life as well as how religious people use this vocabulary to create and find meaning.
10:50-11:35am - "Hinduism: A Global Religion," Brenton Kalinowski 
A brief introduction to the beliefs and practices of Hinduism, and a discussion of its cultural influence around the world. 
11:40-12:35pm - "Religion and Science," Niki Clements  
This course explodes the myth of the "conflict" model in order to think in a more nuanced way of relating religion and science. 
12:35-12:50pm - Discussion Wrap-Up
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
9:40-10:00am - Zoom opens for open chat and networking 
10:00-10:45am - "Religion and State," Eduard van der Merwe  
Delve into the relationship between the state and religion in the face of an increasingly interconnected world. 
10:50-11:35am - "Religion in Russia and Ukraine," Stanislav Panin 
A discussion of the role of religion in Russian and Ukrainian cultures, including its significance in the context of ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict.  
11:40-12:35pm - "Religion and Culture in Africa," Josiah Taru 
Explore the practices and relevance of religion in the everyday life of people in Africa. Discuss religiously motivated violence and migration. 
12:35-12:50pm - Discussion Wrap-Up 

Thursday, June 13, 2024 
9:40-10:00am - Zoom opens for open chat and networking 
10:00-10:45am - "Introduction to Islam," Jauhara Ferguson  
An introduction to the history of Islam and its central beliefs, as well as key similarities and distinctions between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. 
10:50-11:35am - "Buddhism Evolving: Exploring Its Past, Present, and Future," Di Di 
Trace the historical development of different Buddhist traditions to its diverse manifestations in the modern world. Analyze how cultural, political, and socio-economic factors shape the practice and perceptions of Buddhism in diverse contexts.
11:40-12:35pm - "Judaism in Europe," Mendel Kranz
Explore the diversity of Jewish life and philosophy in Europe amidst social exclusion. 
12:35-12:50pm - Discussion Wrap-Up

Register now for the 2024 Boniuk Institute Educator Professional Development: World Religions & Culture