Award-winning Authors Speaking at D&E Symposium

Date Posted: 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

ELKINS - Award-winning authors Drs. Douglas and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen will deliver the keynote address at the Davis & Elkins College Symposium on Faith, Spirituality and Higher Education focusing on the relationship between religion and higher education. Open to the public, the day-long symposium begins at 8 a.m. Monday, March 14 in Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality and Tourism and includes lectures and panel discussions.

The symposium is one of four initiatives the College will implement through a Chaplaincy Grant from NetVUE and the Council of Independent Colleges with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The Jacobsens will speak at 9 a.m. and facilitate discussions throughout the day.

Authors and scholars, the Jacobsens co-direct Religion in the Academy (RITA), a project that focuses on the many ways that religion, spirituality and big questions of human meaning and purpose interact with university education. Their work and research through RITA resulted in three Oxford University Press books. Their latest, “No Longer Invisible: Religion in University Education” (2012), is the winner of the American Educational Studies Association’s Critics Choice Book Award.

Drawing on conversations with hundreds of professors, co-curricular educators, administrators and students from institutions spanning the entire spectrum of American colleges and universities, the Jacobsens illustrate in the book how religion is constructively intertwined with the work of higher education in the 21st century.

“No Longer Invisible” documents how, after decades when religion was marginalized, colleges and universities are re-engaging matters of faith – an educational development that is both positive and necessary. Using the categories of historic religion, public religion and personal religion, “No Longer Invisible” offers a new framework for understanding this emerging religious terrain, a framework that can help colleges and universities – and the students who attend them – interact with religion more effectively.

The Jacobsens also have written “Scholarship and Christian Faith; Enlarging the Conversation” (2004) and “The American University in a Postsecular Age” (2008), winner of the Lilly Fellows Book Award.

In addition, the Jacobsens have served as consultants, workshop leaders and lecturers on public and private campus including Brown University, Eastern Mennonite University, Oberlin College and Vanderbilt University.

Douglas Jacobsen serves as distinguished professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa., where his teaching focuses mainly on the recent globalization of the world Christian movement. He is the author of “The World’s Christians: Who They Are, Where They Are, and How They Got There” (2011) and “Global Gospel: An Introduction to Christianity on Five Continents” (2015). Douglas Jacobsen holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen is professor of psychology and director of faculty development at Messiah College. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College, a Master of Education from the University of Illinois and an Ed.D. from Temple University.

The Jacobsens’ address will be followed by panel discussions with presenters sharing the best practices from colleges and universities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Participants will also have a time to plan and reflect after the presentations. The symposium will conclude with a banquet with closing remarks from the Jacobsens.

For additional information, call the Rev. Kevin Starcher, Benfield-Vick Chaplain at Davis & Elkins College, at 304-704-7406 or visit

Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at or call 304-637-1243.

Drs. Douglas and Rhonda Hustedt Jacobsen