George Fox's doctor of psychology program receives $200,000 Templeton grant for research

A $200,000 grant from the Templeton Foundation will allow George Fox University doctor of psychology students to pursue dissertation projects on how positive human experiences impact church communities.

Rodger BuffordMark McMinnGeorge Fox Doctor of Psychology Professors Mark McMinn (left) and Rodger Bufford applied for the grant, to be distributed over three years beginning in January of 2014. The grant funds five psychology doctoral students – some at George Fox and some at Wheaton College in Illinois – who will study a positive psychology topic in the context of the church community.

Ultimately, the goal is to produce at least five journal articles and a brief book about positive psychology and the church.

“Over the past 15 years or so, psychologists have become increasingly interested in the positive dimensions of human experience,” said McMinn, a professor of psychology whose research interests include the integration of psychology and Christianity. “As a result, we are seeing a good deal of research on topics such as forgiveness, gratitude, hope, wisdom, and love.”

Among other things, the Templeton Foundation funds research in a core area termed “Science in Dialogue,” intended to promote discussion between science, theology and philosophy. George Fox’s particular project is titled “Positive Psychology and Ministry in Christian Faith Communities.” McMinn will serve as principal investigator for the project, Bufford as co-investigator, and MaryKate Morse, a professor of leadership and spiritual formation at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, as a ministry consultant.