UNI is pleased to announce that Michael Graziano, assistant professor of religion in UNI’s Department of Philosophy and World Religions, has been recognized as a 2022 Young Scholar in American Religion.

This esteemed award is issued by the Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), and aims to recognize the next generation of leading teachers and scholars in American religion who are at work in our colleges and universities today.

The award aims to assist early career scholars in the improvement of their teaching and research through professional development opportunities. The Young Scholars program also includes a seminar devoted to such other professional issues as constructing a tenure portfolio, publication, grant writing, and department politics.

Graziano joins the ranks of other top professionals in his field, including two previous scholars from the UNI Department of Philosophy and World Religions: Betty DeBerg (professor of religion) and Cara Burnidge (associate professor of religion, UNI).

“Mike’s acceptance into the Young Scholars in American Religion program is recognition of his already stellar work in the study of religion in the U.S. and his potential to contribute meaningfully to his field for years to come,” said Susan Hill, head of the UNI Department of Philosophy and World Religions. “We are excited that Mike’s work – especially his important contributions to teaching religious literacy in K-12 schools – are being acknowledged in this way.”

Graziano’s involvement in the study of religion reaches far beyond his classroom. Currently, he is the director of UNI’s Institute for Religion and Education, and he leads the Iowa Religious Literacy Project – a program for Iowa public school teachers, which held its first workshop this summer and was attended by a dozen public school teachers from across Iowa. The workshop focused on developing practical strategies for approaching religion in both the classroom and the curriculum.

Graziano says he’s honored to have been selected for this award, and looks forward to continuing his work in the field.

“I’m grateful to be recognized, and I look forward to applying this experience to further develop my research and teaching at UNI. This recognition is yet another reminder that there’s important work happening on our campus, both inside and outside the classroom.”