We have been discussing just this subject in our sessions at SBL. See also McClay’s piece at SBL about “The Goal of Teaching Biblical and Religious Studies in the Context of an Undergraduate Education.” This is a report from the AAR conference that is concurrent with SBL (I belong to both societies). The study was done by Barbara E. Walvoord of the University of Notre Dame. The ‘Great Divide’ in Religious Studies
In intro courses, study finds that students want discussion and facts, but professors want critical thinking.
When it comes to introductory courses in religion and theology, the big division isn’t a question of faith, but of priorities.
Students want lots of discussion in class sessions and they want to learn facts about religious groups. They also want to become better people. Professors aren’t opposed to any of those things, but they are much more interested in teaching critical thinking.
(Via Inside Higher Ed.)