Finke given President's Award for Excellence in Academic Integration

March 19, 2009

Roger Finke, professor of sociology and religious studies in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts, has been awarded the 2009 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration.

The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment, and service.

Finke, who consistently receives high marks from his undergraduate and graduate students, is recognized as an international leader in the study of religion. He is the co-author of The Churching of America: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy, which received the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. The book is a scientific study of the most significant changes and trends in American religion over the last two centuries.

Cited by one nominator as “a brilliant intellect who has helped define the field of the sociology of religion,” Finke regularly publishes in the sociology discipline’s top journals, and was honored by the College with its 2000 Distinction in the Social Science Award.

His outreach efforts are highlighted by his development and current directorship of The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), a Web-based archive accessible to those interested in religion everywhere. One user called the Web site, which was visited more than three million times in 2007 alone, “an incredible resource that keeps getting better and better.”

While containing more than 350 data sets for scholars interested in religion, ARDA also provides user-friendly information for members of the press, government officials and religious leaders to obtain and summarize facts about religious observance in the United States and elsewhere. It is used by every major news service.

Last Updated March 19, 2009