The Centre for Religion and Social Policy brings theological insight into contemporary world issues and social policy debates—by stimulating research and engagement activity across the University and by building external partnerships.
In keeping with its vision, the University established a Centre for Religion and Social Policy (RASP). Formally launched on Thursday 8 December 2016 in Melbourne CBD, RASP actively builds collaboration with the churches and agencies.
The Centre for Religion and Social Policy (RASP):
- promotes and undertakes research on the interaction between religion and society, and its policy implications
- encourages public conversation about the implications of religious social thinking, including its socio-economic, environmental, cultural and political aspects
- adopts an advocacy role about relevant areas of social policy
- engages in research for peer-reviewed journals and monographs
- draws academic resources within the University of Divinity into closer engagement with current public issues
- identifies and resources informed spokespeople to engage in public conversation in areas of their expertise
- develops partnerships among the Colleges of the University of Divinity; the churches, religious organisations and religious orders, their agencies and networks; organisations and individuals who share the Centre’s aims
- encourages, through collaboration with the Colleges, the teaching of specific units on religion and social policy.
I'm very excited and honoured to be taking on the Director's role for the new University of Divinity (UD) Centre for Religion and Social Policy. The Centre is a key step forward by the University in line with one of its major aims, that of public engagement. I'm looking forward eagerly to working with UD partner institutions and members of our centre in various cross-disciplinary research projects engaging major social policy issues of our time. We aim to make our research timely and of a relatively perennial public nature.
RASP hosts and contributes to a number of public events during the year. Visit the University’s Vox (News and Events) website for information about public events coming up near you.
Members of RASP also regularly contribute to public commentary on current social policy issues. The University consists of eleven colleges representing a diverse range of Christian traditions so most articles will reflect the perspective of our members but in engagement with a range of other perspectives.
Disclaimer: The University of Divinity does not accept any responsibility or liability for the opinions expressed in these pages.
There is a Management Group of the Centre for Religion and Social Policy which provides advice to the Director and support to the Centre in fulfilling its aims. The Management Group is accountable to the Vice-Chancellor.
The members of the Management Group of the Centre for Religion and Social Policy are:
- the Centre’s three priority project leaders (currently in ecology, economy and wellbeing)
- one other person with expertise in research and engagement and/or grant applications/fundraising (currently the University of Divinity’s Director of Research)
- the Director of the Centre
Director of RASP
Reverend Dr Gordon Preece BA, MA, ThL, BD, PhD
An Anglican Priest based in Yarraville, Melbourne, Dr Preece brings an extensive background in leadership and research to the role. His wide-ranging experience has seen him hold positions such as Director of the Centre for Applied Christian Ethics (Ridley College, The University of Melbourne), Executive Director of Urban Seed Melbourne and Director of the Macquarie Christian Studies Institute (MCSI). Currently Dr Preece is Director of Ethos (Evangelical Alliance Centre for Christianity and Society), Chair and Executive of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Social Responsibilities Committee, member of the Standing Committee and Board Member of the Theology of Work Project, and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Divinity.
Dr Preece is a highly regarded scholar, researcher and lecturer with numerous publications, including eleven books on theology of work and ethics to his name. He is a public commentator in media forums (with Compass, Waleed Aly, John Faine, John Cleary, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Herald Sun) and for articles and reviews in journals, including ABC Religion and Ethics Online, Theology Today, International Journal of Systematic Theology and Foreign Affairs Journal. Additionally, Dr Preece’s writing has been featured in hundreds of articles in magazines. He edits the Australasian Religious Press 2013 best publication-winning and peer-reviewed Zadok Perspectives and Papers.
The purpose of appointment as a Member of the Centre is to promote and foster the work of RASP through:
- links between RASP and other appropriate institutions;
- collaboration in research, scholarship, publication, advocacy and policy development;
- exchange and sharing of knowledge, experience and expertise.
Members of the Centre will also have the opportunity to engage together in religious and social policy dialogue under the Centre’s auspice. Those with a religious faith will also be given opportunities for participating in intentional conversations that are integrative of their faith and professional research and social policy practice.
Membership is accorded to collaborators who take part in the work of RASP on a regular basis or during a period of at least three months based at, or otherwise working with, the Centre. The status implies a significant contribution to the work of RASP. While membership is usually honorary, Members are not precluded from receiving remuneration for undertaking specific assignments for RASP.
The Management Group may appoint as Members of the Centre persons who are able to contribute to its aims.
- Members of the Centre are entitled to access facilities of the Centre and, through the Centre, may be entitled to access the facilities of the University.
- Members of the Centre must acknowledge the Centre and the University in public activities and research publications supported by their association with the Centre.
Appointment as an Associate Member of the Centre is accorded to collaborators who take part in the work of the Centre on a regular basis or during a period of at least twelve months working with the Centre. The status implies a significant contribution to the work of the Centre. While an Associate Member of the Centre is an honorary role, Associate Members are not precluded from receiving remuneration for undertaking specific assignments for the Centre. Appointment as an Associate Member of the Centre is made upon the recommendation of the Director to the Centre Committee and normally reviewed and potentially renewed annually.
How to apply for Membership
If you would like to apply to become a member, please download and complete our application form, then, together with the statement detailing how you propose to contribute to the work of the Centre, please attach to this application form a short curriculum vitae (up to 5 pages) detailing current and previous research and/or other professional contributions relevant to the work of the University of Divinity and the Centre for Religion and Social Policy.
Applications should be addressed to the Director of the Centre: Reverend Dr Gordon Preece.