Finke is 2016 recipient of Faculty Outreach Award

April 22, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  — Roger Finke, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts, has received the 2016 Faculty Outreach Award.

The award honors faculty who have positively and substantially affected individuals, organizations or communities through problem solving or development as a result of extending their scholarship.

As the founder and director of the Association of Religious Data Archives (, Finke has secured 20 years of continuous funding for a high-traffic website. Many religious scholars and writers credit the site as being an essential tool for religious study.

The archive went online in 1998 and now contains almost a million files, producing about 23 million page views last year alone. It’s contributions to research, education and public outreach include:


  • Disseminated nearly 60,000 data files in 2014
  • Cited as a data source in 273 referenced research journals between 2009 and 2013


  • Disseminated 36 learning modules and 25 lesson plans
  • Developed observational and interactive learning exercises
  • Offered Facebook quizzes and “compare yourself” surveys

Congregation and community

  • Included detailed denominational comparisons and profiles
  • Generated congregational membership reports by region


  • Disseminated a monthly package written by leading international journalists and scholars
  • Partnered with International Association of Religious Journalists

“Finke is being honored for the Faculty Outreach Award for his extraordinary contribution to our collective understanding of the role religion plays in the lives of people in the United States and around the world through his extensive public engagement and outreach efforts,” said a colleague.

As a professor, Finke remains active in research, serves as the major professor for five graduate students, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and serves on multiple departmental, college and University committees.

Last Updated April 25, 2016