In a time of renewed attention to—and pressures on—secular ideals and their histories, our campuses have engaged in a range of initiatives to ask how our secular assumptions both enable and limit the questions of meaning and purpose that are central to liberal arts education.  Our conference seeks to ask our own institutions and other educators such questions as:

What do we mean when we call ourselves “secular”?  Is secularity an enabling condition of our work?  Do our campuses offer adequate opportunities for students to address questions of meaning and purpose from the perspectives of their increasingly diverse cultural backgrounds? Would more porous boundaries of the secular make room for a livelier integration of such questions into liberal arts education? How can our campuses better equip democratic participants to think critically in cultural, religious, or moral languages not their own?

We hope the conference will increase participants’ understanding of what current debates about secularity mean for liberal arts education. Conference sessions are designed to provide participants with data, insights, stories, dilemmas from which we have learned, and other best practices for developing similar conversations on their own campuses.  We welcome individuals as well as campus teams of faculty, administrators, chaplains, students, and trustees.