The Center for Cistercian and Monastic Studies at Western Michigan University encourages and facilitates research on all aspects of the Cistercian tradition and in the broader field of communal religious life around the world. The center strives to develop meaningful dialog between academic scholars of monasticism and members of monastic communities to enrich both endeavors.
The center hosts an annual conference designed to attract participation from representatives of academic and religious institutions to disseminate current research and develop networks for collaboration. The center develops academic projects which advance the study of monasticism. The Center collaborates with other institutions, both academic and religious, to promote an understanding of monasticism historically and today.
The center was established in 2010 as a research center under the aegis of the Medieval Institute as the successor to the Institute of Cistercian Studies, which had been founded in 1973 as a cooperative venture between Western Michigan University and Cistercian Publications, Inc.