About Us

about usThe Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies (CERIS) is a collaboration of academic, non-profit, and religious organizations in the tri-state area ( Ohio , Pennsylvania , and West Virginia .) CERIS facilitates program development and disseminates information on Islamic Studies to students, faculty, and the larger communities we serve. Islamic Studies encompasses many languages, literatures, and disciplines, and extends from the seventh century to the present and across broad geographical areas of the world. Through collaboration and the sharing resources among the members, we are able to bring more resources to our institutions in these fields of study, and to provide useful information including funding opportunities for scholarly research, guest speakers, film screenings, conferences, and course listings.

Institutions can become CERIS members with an annual membership fee of $250.

Mission Statement

    The Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies (CERIS) is a collaboration of academic, non-profit, and religious organizations in the tri-state area (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia) dedicated to the sharing of resources related to Islamic Studies. CERIS aims to foster understanding about Islamic Studies, which encompasses many languages, literatures, and disciplines, and extends from the seventh century to the present and across broad geographical areas of the world. One-fifth of the global population is Muslim, many living in the tri-state area. The Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies seeks to build the future through dialogue today. The Consortium maintains an online, searchable database of educational resources, such as events, courses, and expertise, related to Islamic Studies.


    Since the formation of CERIS, representatives of member institutions have met on a regular basis and have adopted operational procedures to facilitate the smooth functioning and growth of this unique consortium. For a full version of CERIS accomplishments, please click here.

    CERIS has ...
  • Consists of numerous member institutions
  • Significantly enhanced curriculum at CERIS member institutions and K-12 schools through curriculum development grants for faculty, book discussions and CERIS lead study tours abroad
  • Hosted numerous Fulbright Scholars and awarded multiple Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad for Educators
  • Initiated educational programming and provided resources to Upward Bound, Elderhostel, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Ethnic Heritage Studies Program, Frick Art Museum, Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Library System, Bottleworks Ethnic Arts Gallery, intermediate units throughout the region, and to our member institutions
  • Sponsored numerous guest speakers at CERIS member institutions

Accomplishments II

  • Received grants from Pittsburgh Foundation for Islamic calligraphy exhibit and NAFSA for Global Generation Y
  • Collaborated on proposal development for CIES, FYPSE, Rockefeller Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, Social Science Research Center, American Library Association, CAIR –Pittsburgh Chapter and Three Rivers Community Foundation
  • Disseminated countless announcements about funding, study abroad, and programming opportunities available to students, staff, faculty, and the community
  • Developed a library assessment to encourage resource sharing among CERIS member institutions
  • Established a website with extensive resources for secondary and tertiary educators, and for the public and a calendar with current listing of events taking place in the tri-state area
  • Established CERIS Readers' Forum to encourage informed discussion among educators from CERIS member institutions and teachers from the tri-state area
  • Established the annual CERIS Undergraduate Research Symposium to foster research on topics related to Islamic Studies

Giving to CERIS

It has been fifteen years since a hand full of institutions convened to collaborate on expanding Islamic resources in the tri-state region. We have now grown to a dynamic consortium of over thirty members representing private and state-supported colleges, universities, and community organizations. Though our membership has expanded, the field of Islamic studies must compete for highly sought after resources at each of our member institutions. As we continue to work and advocate to create opportunities in Islamic studies for educators, students, and citizens, we welcome financial support to help fund several of our ongoing initiatives and begin new comprehensive programs that will enhance curriculum, library holdings, expand student opportunities related to Islamic studies at our member institutions, and develop programming in the communities we serve through cooperation with K-12 educational institutions, public libraries and business and community organizations.

Please contact Elaine Linn, Executive Director, for more information about supporting CERIS.

eel58@pitt.edu; 412 648-2113

OUR History

It became starkly apparent in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 that there existed in southwestern Pennsylvania both a demand for and a lack of academic programs and educational resources aimed at understanding Islam and the Islamic world. An examination of the region's institutions of higher learning demonstrated that by combining and sharing resources, a high quality program could be created. The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh invited schools in southwest Pennsylvania to pool their resources to create a critical mass of expertise on Islamic Studies. The Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies grew out of this collaborative effort.

Initiatives include the development of a database of resource information about courses offered, special events and lectures, and institutions throughout the region with interests related to Islamic Studies. This database will be expanded to encompass areas of expertise held by consortia faculty and staff as well as individuals at local and national organizations, academic programs (i.e., degrees, majors, minors); and resources, including books, films, and articles, relevant to Islamic Studies. The Consortium's database, which will archive past information, produces an online events calendar of current and future events, and serves as a useful tool for anyone seeking information about local educational resources on Islamic Studies.

A long term goal is to develop a certificate program in Islamic Studies where students from participating schools could complete coursework at various institutions within the Consortium. The certificate would combine language acquisition, area studies expertise, and area and global studies research and methodological competencies, somewhat similar to the model established by the existing Area Studies and Global Studies certificate programs offered by the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Consortium is committed to focusing attention on Islamic Studies rather than Islam or Middle East Studies. Islamic Studies extends from the seventh century to the present and across broad geographical areas of the world. It encompasses many languages, literature, and disciplines, including law, economics, music, and architecture. Members of the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies are committed to capitalizing on the existing strengths and capabilities at their institutions, rather than duplicating competencies. Such an approach will benefit the region's students, faculty, schools, and the communities they serve.

CERIS Presidents & Officers: Past & Present

Robert Matson

Former CERIS President

Professor of History
University of Pittsburgh Johnstown
E-mail: rmatson@pitt.edu
Phone: n/a

Joseph Heim

Former CERIS President

Associate Professor, History
California University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: heim@calu.edu
Phone: 724-938-5721

Buba Misawa

Former CERIS President

Associate Professor, Political Science
Washington and Jefferson College
E-mail: bmisawa@washjeff.edu
Phone: 724-223-6184

Fran Leap

Former CERIS President

Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Seton Hill University
E-mail: leap@setonhill.edu
Phone: 724-830-1054

Tony Gaskew

Former CERIS President

Director, Criminal Justice Program,
Coordinator of Criminal Forensic Studies
and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Phone: 412-362-7636

Michael McKale

Professor of Religious Studies
Director of the Institute for Ethics
Director of the Religion in Mexico Program
Saint Francis University
E-mail: mmckale@francis.edu
Phone: 814-472-3396

Rachel Sternfeld

Current CERIS President

Assistant Professor of Political Science
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
E-mail: rachel.sternfeld@iup.edu

Elaine Linn

Executive Director

Assistant Director, Global Studies Program
University Center for International Studies
University of Pittsburgh
E-mail: eel58@ucis.pitt.edu
Phone: 412-648-2113

CERIS has elected officers that lead the organization in its efforts to identify and increase educational resources on Islam in the tri-state region. Officers are elected every two years by CERIS member representatives.

Unless otherwise noted, the information provided on this site does neither represent the official statements or views of the University of Pittsburgh nor other CERIS member institutions. The information maintained and referenced on this site are provided "as is" with no warranties of any kind. CERIS member institutions disclaim all liability of any kind arising the information posted. CERIS respects the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, including academic freedom of artists, scholars and invited guests.