Dr. John A. Schmalzbauer


Languages Cultures and Religions
Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
Languages Cultures and Religions
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


A sociologist by training, John Schmalzbauer holds the Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies. He serves as principal investigator on the Landscape Study of Chaplaincy and Campus Ministry in the United States, a five-year project funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Schmalzbauer is the co-author with Kathleen Mahoney of The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education (Baylor University Press 2018). His first book, People of Faith: Religious Conviction in American Journalism and Higher Education (Cornell University Press 2003), explores the role of religion in the careers of 40 prominent journalists and scholars, including Cokie Roberts, E.J. Dionne, Andrew Greeley, and George Marsden. From 1998 to 2004, Schmalzbauer taught in the Sociology/Anthropology Department at the College of the Holy Cross. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Wheaton College in Illinois.



  • PhD, Sociology, 1997, Princeton University
  • MA, Sociology, 1992, Princeton University
  • BA, Political Science, 1990, Wheaton College


  • Religion, Spirituality, and Health
  • Religion in America
  • Religion in Society
  • Religion, Media, and Popular Culture
  • North American Religions
  • Congregations on the Ground: Exploring Local Religious Worlds

Professional experience

Selected publications

  • “Campus Prophets, Spiritual Guides, or Interfaith Traffic Directors? The Many Lives of College and University Chaplains.” Journal of College and Character. 22:2: 156-162 (2021).
  • “Campus Religious Life in America: Revitalization and Renewal.” Society 50(2): 115-131 (2013). Symposium: The Changing Shape of Higher Education Since the 1960s.
  • “American Scholars Return to Studying Religion” (with Kathleen A. Mahoney). Contexts, Winter 2008, 16-21.
  • “Searching for Protestantism in the Encyclopedia of Protestantism.” Religion 35(4): 247-265 (2005)

Research and professional interests

  • Religion and American culture

  • Religion and higher education
  • Popular culture and religion
  • Chaplaincy and campus religious life
  • Ozarks religion

Awards and honors

Recipient of subcontract on Lilly Endowment National Study of Campus Ministries grant ($123,000 between 2004 and 2007)

Areas of Expertise

Higher education administration Religions of the world

Media Appearances

Religion Thrives on College Campuses
KSMU Radio

Sociologist Dr. John Schmalzbauer addresses the question: Where does religion stand in the heart of American universities?

The Compatibility of Science and Religion
KSMU Radio

Sociologist Dr. John Schmaltzbauer discusses the compatibility of religion and science, particularly in an academic context.

Big Shots, Born Again
Wall Street Journal

Sociologist Dr. John Schmaltzbauer reviews "Faith in the Halls of Power," a look at the corporate and political rise of evangelicals.