11

I am applying to a Christian University, and they have requested that in my CV I include my religious background. I have no issue with doing this, so I plan to simply make the appropriate additions to my existing CV. However, I'm not really sure what I should include. Obviously, only I know my religious beliefs and background, but I'm not sure if they are asking for things like church attendance, or a very brief statement of faith so any suggestions would be appreciated.

7
  • 17
    This is not a standard CV item, so there is not going to be a universal answer. I would recommend reaching out to the university to ask for clarification. – Alex Kruckman Jun 19 at 22:59
  • 20
    I would look to see whether any current faculty there have CVs on their website and match that, and otherwise ask directly what they’re looking for. A statement of faith is not appropriate for a CV, they’d ask for that separately. If it were me (at a time I was still Christian) I’d just list church memberships with denominations and dates. – Noah Snyder Jun 19 at 23:01
  • @NoahSnyder good idea thanks. – WnGatRC456 Jun 19 at 23:08
  • 1
    @NoahSnyder That was a good idea. I just went to the department website and none of the professors with CV's on their homepages include their religious background. – WnGatRC456 Jun 19 at 23:17
  • 1
    @Tristan it's in the US – WnGatRC456 Jun 21 at 21:50
13

In addition to the answers given by others, let me suggest one additional tactic: read some CVs of current faculty.

People who have already been at the university for a while have clearly been successful in getting jobs there and figuring out the expectations of the institution. Some of them will have a web presence, and some of those folks will likely have a CV of their own posted. If those CVs have information about religious background, then looking at half a dozen or so will give you a good idea about the sort of things that people at the institution think "religious background" should look like on a CV.

In particular, I would suggest looking for the CVs of people who have been there for a range of about 3-10 years. If they've been there for at least a few years, they're unlikely to be a misfit who would be a bad model for you to use. If it's within the last decade, then it's more likely to reflect the current practices, as opposed to somebody hired long ago who may or may not have been hired under different institutional cultural expectations.

Addendum: after writing this, I noticed a comment by the OP that none of the current faculty include this material in their online CV. This makes the requirement all the stranger, and based on that I would recommend just straight up asking the level of depth that is desired, proposing a couple of potential levels that you'd readily know how to give, e.g., "list of churches I've attended" vs. "paragraph explanation of the role of faith in my life."

4
  • 1
    The goal, of course, should be to understand what the university requires of its faculty to see if you fit that mold. The goal should not be to learn enough to "fake it". That would almost certainly be caught in any interview, along with being fundamentally dishonest. If you don't seem to fit the mold, it is best to look elsewhere. – Buffy Jun 20 at 12:13
  • 1
    'I noticed a comment by the OP that none of the current faculty include this material in their online CV. This makes the requirement all the stranger' Perhaps the institution only started asking very recently - if this is in the US, they might have done so in response to the July 2020 Supreme Court ruling in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru. – Daniel Hatton Jun 20 at 12:39
  • 5
    @Buffy Please note that I am not advising faking anything, just getting a sense of what it is they're looking for. The OP might precisely fit the mold of what they're looking for but end up rejected if they present themselves in a way that doesn't make that clear. – jakebeal Jun 20 at 12:55
  • 1
    I didn't think you were suggesting anything improper. But some might interpret it in that way. – Buffy Jun 20 at 13:02
9

I think they are asking about membership. If you are a member of a religious organization, add that as a line to your CV.

Example:

Member, First Church of College Town, State, Country.

If you hold some sort of leadership role in the religious organization, such as Elder or Board Member, that might also be listed in the CV.

Edit: This assumes your field of research is not religion.

5
  • 1
    Actually, I think they are asking more about a religious doctrinal philosophy rather than a specific membership. The latter is irrelevant for someone moving to a new place unless the former can be deduced from a membership. One college I know of requires a statement from faculty that they "accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior". – Buffy Jun 20 at 10:20
  • 1
    @Buffy Yes, some colleges require such a statement, but not on a CV, in my experience. My opinion is that the sort of employer who requests this information appear on a CV thinks that if they cannot deduce your doctrine from your membership, then your doctrine is not the one they want. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 20 at 12:06
  • 3
    If you think about a teaching statement vs a teaching section on a CV the former includes your beliefs and the latter just what you did. So it seems dumb to me to expect religious doctrine on a CV, but it’s a weird enough request that I’m not completely sure. I agree with this answer that what they want to see is that you’ve had church homes everywhere you’ve lived. Doctrine is separate and is covered by their statement of faith. – Noah Snyder Jun 20 at 12:34
  • 1
    You might also include roles less prominent than elder, for example if you were a nursery volunteer or sang in the choir. – Noah Snyder Jun 20 at 13:11
  • 1
    @NoahSnyder Thank you for the useful comments. I thought it would be profitable to mention that the university also asks for a 3-5 pg personal statement, which I would assume should include thoughts on teaching, religious beliefs, research etc. I did think it was a little odd to ask for this on a CV so I'm keeping it pretty simple on the CV just listing a brief statement of theology, history, and current church membership which I will expand on in the larger document. – WnGatRC456 Jun 20 at 15:03
8

I suggest that you read the web site of the college to see what they say about themselves and their expectations. I know that some demand that faculty follow the same principles that the college associates itself with. In this case, if you don't adhere to their beliefs it isn't really worth applying.

Others are much more tolerant of the views of others. At the extreme it might even be that diversity in the views of faculty is welcomed. The college may have a clear "mission" but not demand that everyone view that in the same way.

But, you will learn a lot, especially in the extreme cases from their web site. Some are very clear about expectations.

If they seem to be less stringent in their demands, then it may not matter much what you say or whether you say anything at all. But, since they ask, I guess they have expectations.

5
  • Thanks. I've already read through the University's principles on their website. I do adhere to their beliefs as laid out in the confessions they ask of their faculty, except one point that depending on who you ask is either extremely minor or rather important. I also called HR at the university and they assured me that they'd have no problem considering someone in my position since they've employed faculty with similar beliefs previously. – WnGatRC456 Jun 19 at 23:44
  • 5
    This does not answer the question, which was about including text in a CV. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 20 at 1:44
  • @AnonymousPhysicist, so, providing a way for the OP to answer the question themself is less valuable than providing some words? I thought the opposite was true in academia. And, of course, I can't see or read the university's web site so the actual words are hard to divine. – Buffy Jun 20 at 10:08
  • 2
    I'm not saying it's less valuable; I'm staying it is not an answer. This site has a comment feature. On this site, we vote on answers, not on the value of the information provided. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 20 at 12:01
  • Also, Noah Snyder gave a much more useful explanation of how the OP can answer the question themselves. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 20 at 12:03
-3

They are asking about your social contact with Christianity, were you baptized, did some services in/for a church or related organization, and so on.

It also hints, what do you believe.

The least useful if you have nothing. Being connected to another, or maybe even historically antithetical denomination, is probably still positive.

Note, Christianity is valid even to those who do not believe it. I.e. your human values are much more important than your denomination, and discriminating people for being non-christian is no-go. They probably try to detect these, and not (only) your denomination.

In your case I would say this: "baptized as (denomination), not very diligent but practicing observer and believer" or some similar. This would be a short part at the end of my CV (roughly in the place of the personal things/interests).

That your application would be refused only because what you write here, that is very unlikely.

15
  • 4
    A school asking for this kind of information in the application is extremely unlikely to think “your human values are much more important than your denomination.” This is not a Jesuit school. – Noah Snyder Jun 20 at 17:52
  • 2
    @NoahSnyder My wife (calvinist) worked a decade long for a catholic charity foundation without any problem. Note, catholics see lutheranists as "torn off branch" but calvinists as never were part of the only Church. However, the reality today is that $atan is here and does not important for him, where do you belong to. He just want you in the hell. It was a problem before some centuries, where the last times were in the far future, and the question was the unity of the Church founded by Jesus himself. But today, it is a different age. All the Christians of the world see that, also the Presbs. – peterh Jun 20 at 18:29
  • 1
    @NoahSnyder Protestant-derived denominations see that very differently (as far I know, in their view, the Catholic church is not the Church founded by Jesus himself, instead it is a human-invented custom trying to substitute the only and holy Bible). So the opinions are very opposing, but none denies the Christianity of the other side, and that the last times are coming, that feels all of them. So the result is the same. They want good Christians and the actual denomination matters little. – peterh Jun 20 at 18:36
  • 2
    At any rate, if your point is just "they'll accept any fundamentalist protestant denomination, so long as it's fundamentalist protestant" then you're probably right (though maybe not, see recent controversies at Calvin), but if your point is "they're definitely going to be ok with Episcopalians" I think you're likely very very wrong. – Noah Snyder Jun 20 at 18:56
  • 2
    I’m not hating on the Jesuits, I approve fully of their approach here and the only religiously affiliated schools I applied to work at were Jesuit. My point was that the Jesuits do care about your human values and not your religious affiliation, but that schools asking for this kind of info on their applications aren’t like that. – Noah Snyder Jun 20 at 19:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.