The Association for Studies of Religion is a professional association which seeks to foster excellence in the phenomenological study of religion as a human construct. We are committed to promoting academic excellence, professional responsibility, free inquiry, critical examination, diversity, inclusion and respect.
Studies of Religion is among the top five courses in the New South Wales HSC in terms of candidature and external data analysis, including John DeCourcey’s work for the NSW Catholic Education Commission, indicate that it is consistently a significant contributor to a large proportion of students’ tertiary entrance ranks (ATAR).
The candidature for Studies of Religion is drawn from systemic, private and government schools across NSW with all three sectors, as well as cultural and faith based non-school organisations, represented among the Association’s members.
The Association is governed by our Constitution and supported by the Professional Teachers Council. We are based in Sydney.
The Association for Studies of Religion was formed in 1995 for the purpose of providing practical support for teachers of the newly implemented Studies of Religion HSC course. The Association’s first Constitution set out its aims to provide a network of professional support for teachers and a forum for the exchange of ideas and the exploration of issues relevant to the course.
Since 1995 NESA has revised the Studies of Religion syllabus a number of times with the most recent changes including a redefinition of the syllabus outcomes and content (2005) and its assessment (2010). At each of these stages of development the Association has provided advice, nominated members to NESA’s curriculum consultative committees and represented the interests and opinions of its members.
Beginning in 1995 the Association held an annual conference day for teachers with keynote speakers representing various religious and non-religious worldviews and workshops aiming to deepen teacher’s knowledge and understanding in areas from course content and curriculum design to classroom teaching strategies and assessment models.
In 2012, in response to an increasing number of members and an interest in more regular professional learning opportunities, the ASR moved to hosting a number of ‘twilight’ conferences each year with keynotes from leaders and academics and workshops with a classroom focus.
Commencing in 2020 as a response to the Covid pandemic and a strong desire to support our regional and remote members, ASR now provides online PL opportunities which are also recorded and can be accessed through our new and updated website.