CCCU Director of Research & Grants Initiatives Earns Dissertation Award

April 11, 2012
P. Jesse Rine
P. Jesse Rine, director of research and grants initiatives at the CCCU.

P. Jesse Rine, director of research and grants initiatives at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, has been awarded the 2012 Outstanding Dissertation Award by the Religion and Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. Because of this award, which is presented every two years, Rine has been invited to present his research at the Religion and Education SIG business meeting at AERA’s annual convention, slated for April 13-17 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Rine, who earned his doctorate in higher education from the University of Virginia, began his role at the CCCU last year. His dissertation, titled “Pluralism, Provisionality, and Faith: Christian College Persistence in the Postmodern Turn,” asked how Christian colleges could successfully adapt to a cultural context in which pluralism is celebrated, while simultaneously remaining faithful to their fundamental institutional commitments. 

To resolve this dilemma, he proposed Christian fallibilism as a possible alternative to both relativist abandonment of exclusivist truth claims and absolutist disengagement from cultural diversity.  Rine’s research found that students can, in fact, be committed to their Christian faith and simultaneously open to pluralism. He also found that Christian colleges can model these commitments through their policy and practice.

“Dr. Rine’s work makes an important contribution to the scholarship of religious higher education institutional identity with respect to the challenges and opportunities of religious pluralism,” said Michael D. Waggoner, chair of AERA’s Religion and Education Special Interest Group.

AERA, a national research society with over 25,000 members internationally, strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. The Religion and Education SIG exists to provide an academic context in which to focus on the religious, ethical, and moral dimensions of educational contexts, processes, and policies at all levels and in all types of educational institutions.

Rine’s dissertation faced stiff competition among outstanding nominated work, elevating the honor associated with receiving the award. The evaluation process was rigorous, in order to surface the highest quality work among the nominated dissertations.


About the CCCU:  The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 185 intentionally Christ-centered institutions around the world. The 116 member campuses in North America are all fully-accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. In addition, 69 affiliate campuses from 25 countries are part of the CCCU. The Council’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit