Baylor University in Waco, Texas opened the doors on a new “multidisciplinary” center last month that aims to study the science of human flourishing.
The Baylor Research in Growth and Human Thriving Science (BRIGHTS) Center was founded by famed virtue development researcher Sara Schnitker, who is an associate professor of psychology. The team is looking to advance human flourishing research across a number of areas, including looking at the relationship between religion and spirituality in flourishing.
Back in 2021, Baylor along with Harvard University launched the largest study of its kind to look at well-being outcomes for 240,000 individuals in 22 countries and the role of religion, which was funded by the John Templeton Foundation.
That effort as part of a $2.5 million grant had Schnitker teaming up with Devan Stahl, assistant professor of religion and theological bioethicist at Baylor, in training theologians to incorporate methods and insights of psychological sciences into their work with those around them.
Led by Schnitker, the center will serve as a research hub for faculty in the humanities, sciences and social sciences as they ask important, fundamental questions about the human experience, said Brian Raines, associate dean for research and strategic planning in the College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor. The center is being viewed as a research accelerator, offering extensive support for finding, winning and managing external research awards, he added.
Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.