Dealing with Religious Diversity within Universities

By Krzysztof Batorowicz.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

International developments since 11 September 2001 have created interest in Islam through the connection between this religion and terrorism. In this way, the 21st century has begun with an increased interest in religion. In some countries Islamic communities have become isolated and were even discriminated against as a consequence of terrorist attacks on the USA, in London, in Bali or Spain. Universities, previously involved in theological studies through their theology faculties, have had a limited interest in religion with the exception of private universities maintained by religious bodies. In some countries, including Australia, public universities have been maintaining the tradition of a chaplaincy, assisting students and staff in their spiritual problems and needs, sometimes providing basic religious services. However, universities have also become more multicultural and international (through immigration and international cooperation). The multicultural compositions of universities require new organisational forms to respond to their cultural diversity. This paper focuses on practical, organisational models responding to the religious and spiritual needs of students and staff as well trying to link this with the broader community. It suggests an appropriate policy framework within universities and proposes some practical solutions. This paper is based on a multicultural approach and considers religion to be an important part of culture. Further, the paper argues that a university as a place of culture and intellectualism has a duty to respond to the religious needs of the university community. The paper takes into account various religious groups; and attempts to create appropriate relations between different faiths and religious traditions and non-believers.

Keywords: Religious Diversity, Universities, Multiculturalism, Chaplaincy

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.285-292. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 517.713KB).

Dr. Krzysztof Batorowicz

Director, Multicultural Centre, The University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

After completing his degree in law and two years of legal practice, Dr Krzysztof Batorowicz occupied various legal positions in Poland within the justice system. He visited Australia in 1984 and, after making contacts within the higher education sector, undertook research work with special reference to human rights, equal opportunity, sociology and education. Since that time he has been living permanently in Australia and has worked in the higher education sector in Adelaide, Melbourne and Toowoomba in Queensland. Dr Batorowicz holds a Master’s degree in Law and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations from the University of Wroclaw and a Graduate Diploma in Education, Bachelor of Education and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Adelaide. Recently, he has extended his interest in the area of multiculturalism, perceived as an interdisciplinary phenomenon with wider implications for contemporary societies. In his writings he has analysed the benefits of the multicultural policy as well as the discrepancy between theoretical assumptions and actual practice. He has taken the Australian multicultural policy model and, after some modifications, has attempted to apply it to other societies, especially in Europe. In addition to presentations at conferences in Australia, he has been invited to present papers in Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden, Hong Kong, Ireland, Finland, Poland, New Zealand and the Philippines. His articles have been published widely in Australia and overseas. Currently, Dr Batorowicz is the foundation Director of the Multicultural Centre at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

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