Think tank will make WKU its home next year

Source: Chuck Mason, Bowling Green Daily News, Nov 3, 2012

The Society for Values in Higher Education is moving from Portland State University in Oregon to Cherry Hall at WKU, said Eric Bain-Selbo, executive director of the SVHE for the past two years and head of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at WKU.

The group holds its national meetings each summer to look at multiculturalism, sensitivity of public policies, citizenship and social justice, among other topics. The summer meeting in 2013 will be at the University of Denver. Some of the members’ findings are published in “Soundings,” an interdisciplinary journal produced at Florida State University and published through Penn State University Press.

Bain-Selbo said the summer meetings are a combination of discussion and time for members and their families to socially gather. He compared it to summer Chautauqua meetings held in the Northern states.

The SVHE began as the National Council of Schools of Religion from 1922 to 1924 by Charles Foster Kent, Yale University’s Woolsey Professor of Biblical Literature, according to the SVHE website. It took its current name in 1973 and has been housed in Portland, Ore., the past 16 years, the website noted.

The SVHE is currently advertising for a business manager/director to work in Bowling Green. The person selected will be an employee of the SVHE and not Western Kentucky University, the advertisement states.

The move to WKU moves the SVHE office from across the country in Oregon to just down the hall from Bain-Selbo’s office in Cherry Hall.

Bain-Selbo said the start of the group came after the Yale University faculty members became concerned about the study of religion in academic circles. The group looks at the issues not as a religious group but from an academic perspective. About 125 people attended last summer’s annual meeting. He said each summer meeting has a theme.

The group is looking at issues surrounding debt, and the summer meeting theme in Denver is “Debt: Obligations that Shape Our Lives.”

The group is financed through annual dues paid by members.

— More information about The Society for Values in Higher Education may be found at

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