Spring 2014: God and the University

Religion in Higher Education

Early universities within the United States were largely established to advance the ideals of liberal education within a religious moral framework.  In the last century, however, the academy has become widely ambivalent about the place of "God" in the broader discourse of a university. This quarter's lecture series will ask why, as we consider the role of religion within higher education in the United States.

What Good Is God for Grief and Loss?

Psychology Meets Philosophy: An Interdisciplinary Research Study

by David Feldman & Robert Gressis |

May 7, 2014 | 12 – 1:15 p.m. (Lunch provided)
Williman Room, Benson Memorial Center

Grief and death anxiety are inextricably linked with human existence. In a real sense, loss permeates our lives. According to research in the realm of existential psychology as well as a venerable tradition in existential philosophy, constructive acknowledgement of death anxiety can be a major motivator of positive functioning whereas avoidance or denial of such anxiety can be a source of dysfunctional behavior and even psychopathology. Surprisingly, however, little empirical research has addressed the impact of religious belief on how people experience and cope with loss and death anxiety. Professor Feldman and Professor Gressis will be reporting on their recent research on the role of religious belief on experiences of loss and death anxiety in lay philosophy faculty, Jesuit priests, and undergraduate students.  This research study was funded through a What Good Is God? Bannan Institute Research Grant.  Faculty seminar will follow luncheon presentation.

David Feldman is Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University, where he teaches courses in cognitive-behavioral therapy, brief psychotherapies, and personality theory. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas and completed a health psychology fellowship at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California. His research and writings have addressed such topics as hope, meaning, and growth in the face of physical illness, trauma, and other highly stressful events. He is the co-author of The End-of-Life Handbook: A Compassionate Guide to Connecting with and Caring for a Dying Loved One, which addresses the needs of families as they face the life-threatening illness of a loved one.

Robert Gressis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Northridge, completed his Ph.D. from University of Michigan and his research and teaching interests center on Kant, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, Moral Psychology, Free Will, History of Modern Philosophy.  He is the author of “How to Be Evil: Kant's Moral Psychology of Immorality" in Rethinking Kant: Current Trends in North American Kantian Scholarship (Cambridge, 2008).

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