About Us

quoteSouthern Methodist University created the Center for Faith and Learning to promote greater integration of intellectual and spiritual life, both on campus and in society more broadly.  Rooted in and inspired by the University’s Christian heritage and United Methodist affiliation, the Center seeks to help SMU students, faculty, and staff discern and develop connections between their religious convictions and their academic and professional work.  In addition, the Center seeks to highlight and to promote dialogue surrounding the relevance of faith-based perspectives to fundamental questions in every area of intellectual inquiry and public life.
Our programs foster intellectual and spiritual development of undergraduate and graduate SMU students. Promoting greater integration of religious faith with academic study, these programs help students discern a sense of vocation across a broad range of intellectual inquiry and professional work.

Our programs highlight the contributions of faith-based perspectives to understanding and addressing fundamental questions in the arts, physical sciences, humanities, social sciences, and professions for the entire University community—and beyond.

We encourage all members of the University community to consider the relationship between SMU’s religious identity and heritage, and its mission of teaching, research, and service. We also foster dialogue about what it means to be simultaneously grounded in a Christian faith tradition and open to people and ideas of all religious and secular perspectives.

The Center for Faith and Learning is led by a Director, who must be a tenured member of the SMU faculty and who is appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs in consultation with the University Chaplain. The Director is responsible for overseeing all of the Center’s strategic, operational, and business affairs. The Director works in consultation with an Advisory Board composed of SMU faculty and staff and community supporters of the Center.

Dr. Matthew Wilson

Dr. Wilson


Matthew Wilson is Director of the Center for Faith and Learning and Associate Professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. His research focuses on public opinion, elections, representation, and the role of race and religion in politics, both in the United States and abroad. He is the author, co-author, or editor of three books and several dozen articles and essays, including Understanding American Politics and Politics and Religion in the United States. He has received research grants from the American Political Science Association, the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, and the Sam Taylor Foundation of the United Methodist Church, and his teaching has been honored with awards from the SMU Department of Residence Life and the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. He routinely serves as a commentator on political affairs for local, national, and international media outlets.

Click Here to View Our Board of Directors



2nd Floor of Hughes-Trigg Student Center, Suite 208

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8:30am-5:00pm



CFL on Social Media


Phone: 214-768-4541
Physical Address

Hughes-Trigg Student Center
3140 Dyer Street,
Dallas, TX 75205

Mailing Address

The Center for Faith and Learning
SMU PO Box 750282
Dallas, TX 75275

Faith and Learning Scholars


Faith & Learning Scholars gives qualified students the opportunity to integrate their studies with their faith.

You will enrich and deepen your faith and your purpose as you move into the future through:

Weekly service activity,
Small group interaction with faculty mentors 
Individual reading and reflection

85 students have successfully completed or are currently engaged in the Faith and Learning Scholars program in the last four years

Meet our Current Faith and Learning Scholars

To apply, open the application and submit in one of the ways listed below.

  Faith & Learning Scholars 2019-2020 Application

2020-2021 Application due date will be announced in March, 2020.

Submit Application

In person:
Office of the Chaplain, HTSC Ballroom

By email:
Phil Carlson

By mail:
Faith and Learning Scholars
Office of the Chaplain
PO Box 750282
Dallas, TX 75275



Lectures hosted by the Center for Faith and Learning allow faculty and visiting scholars who are leaders in their fields to share the impact of Christian theological resources on their research and teaching. These lectures offer insight and different perspectives, creating an open environment for future conversations between students and faculty regarding related topics.

EVENTS (2019-2020)

Faith and Politics

The Center for Faith and Learning presents: "Faith and Politics: Being a Wesleyan in the Public Square."

This event began with a presentation by Ryan Danker of Wesley Theological Seminary on the impact of the early Wesleyan movement upon the social, economic, and political conditions of 18th century England and Colonial North America. Ted Campbell of SMU's Perkins School of Theology responded to the presentation afterwards, and the event concluded with a Q&A period between the audience and the speakers. This took place Thursday, February 13th, 2020 at 6pm in room 120 of the Collins Executive Education Center on SMU's Dallas campus. This event is free and open to the public, but attendance requires registration online at http://cflfaithandpolitics.eventbrite.com


HK protests

SMU’s Center for Faith and Learning, along with the Perkins School of Theology, the Tower Center’s Sun and Star Program on Japan and East Asia, and the Embrey Human Rights Program, presents a panel discussion on the current situation in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall.
Hong Kong Protests: A Messianic Movement?

SMU's Center for Faith and Learning helped to present this special event taking place the evening of October 22nd from 6:30 to 8p.m. The featured speaker was Dr. Lap Yan Kung, Professor of Theology, The Divinity School, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He spoke on “A Secular/Theological Messianic Exegesis of the Anti-Extradition Bill in Hong Kong.”  

Panelists included Dr. Hiroki Takeuchi, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director, Tower Center Sun & Star Program on Japan and East Asia, and Dr. Matthew Wilson, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director, SMU Center for Faith and Learning.
Dr. Sze-kar Wan, Professor of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology, chaired the discussion.

To view the video of this event click here: Hong Kong Protests: A Messianic Movement?



The Center for Faith and Learning presents “God, Mind, and Machine”

This panel event explores the ethical and theological dimensions of artificial intelligence, touching on its implications for free will, the nature of the human person, the idea of creation, and the rights and moral status of a self-aware, non-human intelligence. The panel will take place Thursday, February 28th at 6:00 pm in the Crum Auditorium of the Collins Center, and will be moderated by Eric Barnes of the Philosophy Department.

To view the video of this event click here: God, Mind, and Machine

For all events before 2019, CLICK HERE