Fred Glennon, Ph.D. (Courses)
Professor (RH 216)

Department of Religious Studies
Le Moyne College
Syracuse, New York 13214 
(315) 445-4343

REL 300-01, 50

Religion and Healing

Spring 2009   Location:  GH 113    TTH 2:30pm; 5:30pm    Email:

(Click here for healing sounds)

Mission Statement:  Le Moyne College is a diverse learning community that strives for academic excellence in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition through its comprehensive programs rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. Its emphasis is on education of the whole person and on the search for meaning and value as integral parts of the intellectual life. Le Moyne College seeks to prepare its members for leadership and service in their personal and professional lives to promote a more just society.














Course Description and Objectives: This course is an exploration of the plurality of cultural and religious contexts in which healing occurs with the goal of enabling students to appreciate the overlap between the fields of religion and health care. We research the understandings that religions and healing systems, both traditional and modern, have of the human condition, of health and illness, and of acceptable ways of maintaining and restoring health. We look at how religious commitments and practices both facilitate and inhibit processes of healing. Through readings, guest lectures, and field trips, students become exposed to alternative and complementary forms of medicine and healing practices and the religious and spiritual worldviews that give shape to them. By participation in and successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1.       Discuss intelligently how traditional cultures and religions have conceptualized disease, illness, and healing;

2.      Articulate clearly an understanding of the cultural and ideological underpinnings of modern medicine;

3.      Discuss several alternative and complementary healing practices and their theoretical grounding in spiritual and religious worldviews;

4.      Develop sensitivity to and appreciation for the role of ritual in addressing illness and healing;

5.       Engage in discussion about research on the impact of religious belief and practice on maintaining and restoring health;

6.      State and appreciate reasons for the human desire to place suffering, illness, and death into a broader context of meaning;

7.      Develop their research, observation, analytical, and writing skills;

8.      Enhance their skills at working cooperatively with others on various tasks in a group context; and

9.      Take an active role in and responsibility for their learning.

Methods of Instruction: The content of the course will be covered by lectures, group discussions and presentations, audio-visual presentations, structured reading and writing assignments, and other media depending upon student interest and involvement.

Required Texts and Other Readings: The following required texts are available in the bookstore:

  • Linda Barnes & Susan Sered, eds., Religion and Healing in America (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (Bantam Books, 1976)

In addition, I will place other required readings in book, essay, and electronic formats on reserve in the library or on Blackboard.  Reference is made to these readings in the course schedule.

Recommended Texts:If you are a nursing student and are interested in the intersection of religion and healing in the clinical context, a good book to read (and which will be referenced in the course schedule), is:

        Geri-Ann Galanti, Caring for Patients from Different Cultures (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003, 2008).(There is a 4th edition but the only difference I can see between the third and fourth is an additional chapter).

Office Hours: I will be in my office at the following times: Tue., Thur., 1:00-2:15pm; Wed. 2:00-3:15pm. If these times are not convenient, see me to make other arrangements. Come by if you have any questions related to the course.  

Student Responsibilities and Rights: Students have the responsibility for sharing in and contributing to the learning process. This responsibility includes developing a learning covenant (see attached), reading assigned material prior to class, participating actively in group process, class presentations and discussions, completing written assignments on time, and evaluating and suggesting positive directions for the class. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the student has certain rights. These include a right to voice an opinion that is based on a self-chosen value system, a right to dissent or differ from the professor or from others in the class, a right to papers and tests returned at a reasonable time, access to the professor at hours other than class time, and a right to know the grading system.

Evaluation: Student evaluations will be based on successful completion of assigned and self-chosen activities. The assigned activities include group participation (15-25%), a report on a religious healing ritual (10-25%), and a group final (15-25%). The remaining 25-60% of the student's grade will be determined on the basis of the student choosing from a menu of activities (see the learning covenant guidelines and activity options under Course Materials button).  The grading scale will be as follows:

For College grading policies, including grievance policies for grades, please refer to the College Catalog, pp 10-11.


Course Grading Scale












































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Blackboard: The bulk of the materials for this course will be distributed through the use of Blackboard at Le Moyne. To access these materials, just point your Internet browser to The course will be listed under Spring 2009, Religion and Healing Section 01 or 50. Students who are enrolled in the course already have access to the course and just need to register their password for the course. I will use the email given to you by the school (your Le Moyne account) as the official means to communicate with you. If you want to use a different email account, you must make that change in your blackboard profile.

Tentative Course and Reading Schedule: The daily class schedule can be found in an html document on the Blackboard course site under the "Course Documents" button and also by clicking on the "Course Reading and Assignment" link above. Students should consult the file frequently in order to be apprised of any changes in the schedule. All changes made by the instructor in this file will be considered official. The schedule of student presentations during the latter part of the term can be found under the "Assignments" button once these are finalized.

Learning Covenant and Activity Options: Also under the "Course Documents" button, you will find two files related to the Learning Covenant and Activity Options. These files describe the teaching philosophy and approach to this class and the various ways students can be evaluated.

Web Page: My web page ( includes all the basic information for this course and three things of note. First, the syllabus for this course is on the Web Page under courses and I have included (and am including) Web sites related to the course. Clicking on these would allow you to visit web sites that have materials on the particular topics we are discussing. Second, I have included a course evaluation form. You can use this form at any time during the semester to provide feedback to me about the course and changes you would like to see made. The feedback comes to me anonymously so you don't have to worry about recrimination.(You will be required to complete the mid-semester survey found on Blackboard as part of your participation grade.The online form noted above is meant to provide additional feedback at any time during the semester.)

Special Needs: In coordination with the Academic Support Center (ASC), located on the first floor of the Noreen Reale Falcone Library, reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities. Qualified students should register with Ms. Nicole Servais, Director of the ASC (445-4118 [voice] or 445-4104 [TDD]), for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving the appropriate form from the ASC, students should meet with the instructor to review the form and discuss their needs. Students should make every attempt to meet with the instructor during the first week of class so that accommodations can be implemented in a timely manner.

Students with Personal Problems: Students who encounter personal problems of any kind, especially problems that might affect their academic performance, are encouraged to contact the Center for Personal Growth and Counseling. The Center is located in Romero Hall; appointments may be arranged by phone at 445-4195. The Center provides both individual and group counseling on a strictly confidential basis. The professional staff is also available on an emergency basis.


Policy on Academic Honesty:  Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating) undermines the trust between instructors and students and among students themselves.Such dishonesty is the attempt to fulfill a course requirement by representing as your own the intellectual property (ideas, words, or work) of another person (living or dead; professional writer or student) found in print or electronic sources, even with the personís permission. Please note that this definition includes paraphrasing anotherís work: if you read it somewhere, cite it. As a member of an intellectual and academic community, you are obliged to acknowledge the source of phrases and ideas that are original to someone else.The minimum penalty is failure of the assignment but could lead to failure of the course.In addition, I will report the incident to the Dean of Arts and Sciences who may decide to take further disciplinary action.A second act of academic dishonesty during your career at Le Moyne often results in expulsion from the college (College Catalog, p. 41). You may access the LeMoyne site on plagiarism at: The Landmark Citation Machine is an excellent resource for students.This website will format any type of citation into MLA or APA style. You can also use RefWorks if you are on campus to create an account (see to see how).