USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative

Overview of the Initiative

Supported by a grant from the Koret Foundation associated with the USF President’s Discretionary Fund for Faculty Research, the USF Interfaith Nonviolence Initiative (the Initiative) will be convened during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years by the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice (INSJ) and the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition (the Lane Center), in partnership with USF’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, and the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, and in close association with the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, and several USF graduate programs.

Research teams

The Initiative will facilitate an integrated interdisciplinary research and learning process, aligned with an Ignatian model of investigation, engaging USF faculty from a variety of academic departments and programs.  Research teams led by USF faculty will include USF students and grassroots service organizations (and, in some cases, religious groups and leaders).  Each collaborative team will conduct community-based research investigating a specific research question related to one or more of the following framing questions:

  • What are the causes and dynamics of systemic violence in a particular societal arena?  Examples include gun violence, mass incarceration, bullying of LGBTQIA+ students, police brutality and accountability, harassment of refugees and undocumented persons, evisceration of democratic norms, communal violence, war and militarism.
  • What are the impacts of this violence on the identified community or communities?
  • How is the partnering community-based organization, faith congregation, or interfaith activist group responding to systemic violence in this arena? How is this group engaging critically with its own histories, traditions, congregations and stakeholders?
  • How, if at all, is this community-based organization, faith congregation, or interfaith activist group using organized nonviolence to address systemic violence or related societal problems?  What is the effect or impact of this nonviolent activism?

The two-year Initiative will culminate in spring 2024, with a final academic conference in which the research results and learning outcomes will be presented to the USF community.  In addition, also in spring 2024, we plan to convene a broader gathering of San Francisco-based, national and global faith leaders to promote interfaith dialogue and collaboration to promote nonviolence.   This conference will be designed to include significant participation by members of the USF community and San Francisco-based faith congregations and civic organizations.

Eligibility and Outcomes

All full-time and part-time USF faculty are eligible to apply. (Applications submitted by two faculty researchers working together on the same project are also welcome and encouraged.) Faculty are eligible to receive funding to compensate for their research activity over a six-week period during the summer of 2022; faculty who wish to work together on the same research team will have the option to divide the compensation.1 Each project will benefit from a designated student research assistant during summer 2022 and spring 2023 terms. (We will endeavor to secure comparable faculty research stipends for the summer of 2023, and comparable student research assistant funding for the summer of 2023 and spring 2024.)

Faculty researchers will conduct the following activities:

  • Engage regularly with community partners as co-researchers.

  • Mentor student research assistants.

  • Meet with other Initiative participants in an interactive retreat each semester, to share learning, explore ideas, experiences, and questions,  and engage in nonviolence training.

  • Participate in annual conferences (spring 2023, spring 2024) related to the Initiative.

  • Write and submit for publication an article, essay, or book chapter related to the research project, to be completed by the end of AY 2024.

By the end of AY23, faculty must submit a 2-3 page status report describing their participation in the above activities to date, and their plan to complete the research project by the end of AY24. The report must include a title and abstract of the research paper along with a plan for publication (or submission, identifying at least two appropriate venues for publication).

To Apply

USF faculty applicants should submit a 3-5 page letter describing (a) the research question they intend to investigate; (b) one or more potential community partners (or the category of organization you wish to partner with); (c) a plan to engage community partners and one or more student research assistants; (d) how this research and scholarship will contribute to the field of violence and/or nonviolence studies, and the interfaith focus of the Initiative. Faculty should also describe how their past and present scholarly activity, teaching, and service relate to the Initiative. (There is no requirement that participating faculty members identify with any faith tradition or practice.)

Applications should be submitted to lanecenter@usfca.edu and nonviolence@usfca.edu by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. If all faculty research team participants are selected on the basis of the December 1 submissions, we do not plan to open up a second round.

Review selection criteria and selection committee

An information session for interested faculty was held on Monday, November 15 from 2:00-3:00 pm.

View the recording


1USF calculates summer research compensation for full-time faculty as a 3-unit overload assignment ($2,044 X 3 = $6,132).  Part-time USF faculty are paid the same total amount ($6,132) based on an equivalent hourly rate.