2013-14 Craft of Teaching Schedule

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Spring 2014   

Students in Distress: Student Mental Health and Today's College Teaching

Monday, April 14 from 12:00-1:30 PM in Swift 201

At the typical American college or university, the rate of students visiting campus counseling services for serious mental health issues has doubled in the last decade.  What's behind this trend?  What are the mental health challenges that students in your classes are facing?  What are mental health practitioners observing, and what advice do they have for new college teachers?   What are some guidelines for dealing with students in distress?  Dr. Michael Pietrus, psychologist at the University of Chicago's Student Counseling Service and its Divinity School liaison, will give a brief presentation about the state of mental health on today's college campuses, followed by ample discussion of your questions, concerns, and experiences.  Coffee and tea will be provided.  Please feel free to bring a lunch.

Practicing an Alternative Epistemology: Thinking at the Edge

Tuesday, April 22 from 4:30-6:30PM, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall

Dr. Donata Schoeller, Visiting Scholar in the Committee on Social Thought, will lead a workshop on a method of listening, deliberation and articulation called "Thinking at the Edge", a method she uses with her students who are attempting to articulate something new, something for which there may be no previous theoretical framework.  "Thinking at the Edge", developed by University of Chicago Professor Emeritus in Philosophy and Comparative Human Development, Dr. Eugene Gendlin, is a dialogical method of concentration, listening and deliberation in which you will be challenged to go to the edge of your articulation of a central topic in your work by engaging in a series of steps that includes focusing, defining your terms, storytelling and drawing from your own experience and memory.  Dr. Schoeller will give a brief historical and philosophical background of "Thinking at the Edge," explaining how she uses it as a pedagogical tool, and will then lead us in practicing the first few steps of the method.  Co-sponsored by Alternative Epistemologies, the Craft of Teaching, and the Spiritual Life Office.  Refreshments provided. 

For the purposes of practicing the method, come to the event with one sentence in mind that best encapsulates what you are trying to express/convey in your work right now. 

Teaching Introductory Islamic Studies Courses: A Conversation with Marcia Hermansen

Wednesday, April 23 from 12:00-1:30 PM, Swift 208

Prof. Marcia Hermansen will lead a discussion on how to structure and teach introductory courses on Islam and Sufism.  Dr. Marcia Hermansen is Director of the Islamic World Studies Program and Professor in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago, where she teaches courses in Islamic Studies and the academic study of religion. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in Arabic and Islamic Studies.  Food and drinks will be provided. Presented by Majlis (the Islamic Studies Club).

Dean's Spring Craft of Teaching Seminar with Davíd Carrasco

Thursday, April 24 from 12:00-1:30 PM, Swift Common Room

CT - Carrasco.jpgLed by the 2014 Divinity School Alumnus of the Year Davíd Carrasco (ThM 1970, MA 1974, PhD, History of Religions, 1977), Neil Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America at Harvard University, with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Harvard Divinity School.  Prof. Carrasco is the author of numerous books, including Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of EmpireReligions of Mesoamerica,  Breaking Through Mexico's Past: Digging the Aztecs With Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Cave, City, and Eagle's Nest: An Interpretive Journey Through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2.  He has served as the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures and was the executive co-producer of the award winning film Alambrista: The Director’s Cut which put a human face on the ordeal of undocumented workers from Mexico.  Prof. Carrasco will discuss his pedagogy in relation to his teaching context and a recent course he has taught.  Complimentary lunch will be provided for the first 25 RSVPs.  Please RSVP to bdcline@uchicago.edu, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences. 

Professor Carrasco's syllabus for "Moctezuma’s México" is available for download here.

Course Design Workshop with Prof. Thomas Tweed

Monday, May 5 from 4:30-6:00 PM, Swift 106

CT - tweed_photo.jpgProfessor Thomas Tweed, Harold and Martha Welch Endowed Chair in American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss his approach to course design in relation to his undergraduate class, "What is Pilgrimage? Exploring the Boundary between the Religious and the Secular".  Prof. Tweed will address such topics as choosing and organizing course readings, student participation, incorporation of theory, and class assignments.   This workshop will be of interest to students in all areas of the Divinity School.   Presented by the American Religious History Workshop.  Food and drinks will be providedProf. Tweed's syllabus is available for download here.

How to Be a Colleague: Navigating Social Location

Wednesday, May 7 from 4:30-7:00 PM, Swift Hall Third Floor Lecture Hall

Social Location: Though we all have one, many of us lack the skills to talk about them either generally or as scholars of religion…

You are cordially invited to a workshop offering students and faculty of Swift Hall the opportunity to work through case studies illustrating what some have termed "micro-aggressions," moments that can occur as our academic work intersects with the realities of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, sexuality, gender expression, and religious diversity. Participants will acquire tools for fostering self-reflection and engaging the complexities of contemporary academic discourse.  Emy Cardoza, Assistant Director of the UChicago Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Divinity School alumna, will serve as an external facilitator, providing resources and creating a space for both students and faculty to participate in small-group discussions.  A reception will follow the workshop, providing further opportunity for continued, informal conversation.  Co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Divinity Students Association, the Women's Caucus, Alchemy in Color, and The Sacred Flame.

Demystifying Dissertation Writing and New Faculty Success: A Full-Day Workshop

Friday, May 9 from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, Third Floor Lecture Hall, Swift Hall

CT - PegBoyleSinglePix.jpgCT _ Demystifying.jpgDr. Peg Boyle Single, author of Demystifying Dissertation Writing, is a social psychologist and academic writing coach with over twenty years experience working with faculty members and doctoral students. During this time, Dr. Single has developed a system that demystifies academic  writing and new faculty success, helping thousands of doctoral students and faculty members across disciplines increase their writing fluency, productivity, and enjoyment.  Dr. Single presents proven, practical advice on academic writing with healthy doses of humor and encouragement.  This full-day program will consist of two workshops:

Demystifying Dissertation Writing

In this workshop, Dr. Single will help you overcome the barriers to becoming a fluent, constant, and happy dissertation writer.  You will learn about and acquire the daily habits for sustaining your writing, finishing your dissertation, and setting out on a successful career of academic writing.  Whether you're just starting the dissertation process or nearing its end, you will gain invaluable insights and learn practical steps to speed you on your way to writing fluency.

Demystifying New Faculty Success

Too rarely are graduate students prepared for the demands of academic life. They are elated to accept their first academic positions, only to be surprised and overwhelmed by the avalanche of teaching, teaching preparation, research, writing, college meetings, campus-wide committee assignments, advising, student counseling, and departmental politics.  In this workshop, Dr. Single will draw on her experience directing new faculty mentoring programs, facilitating writing groups, and offering retention and tenure trainings to provide advice and direction on finding balance as a new faculty member.

Dr. Single's book will be available for purchase, and a book signing will follow each workshop.

Registration is free, but advanced registration is required.  Deadline to sign up is May 5.  Lunch will be provided for the first 50 registrants.  To register, email Brandon Cline, Program Coordinator ( ), indicating meat, vegan or vegetarian dietary preferences.  

Div School Assignment Design Workshop: Creating Assignments that Teach and Motivate Your Students

Thursday, May 15 from 9:30-12:00 PM, Marty Center Seminar Room (Swift Hall 2nd floor)

CT - Classroom.jpgAssignments are not busywork or simply something to grade, but powerful instruments of teaching and learning.  In this workshop, you will learn how to create assignments that motivate your students, align with the learning aims of the course, and structure and support student learning in an integrated way.  This will be an intimate, hands-on workshop in which participants will create and actively share feedback on assignments for religious studies courses.  Inspiring and helpful discussion is guaranteed!   Participation is limited, and advanced registration is required.  To register, email Brandon Cline at Deadline to register is Friday, May 9.  Facilitated by Brandon Cline, Craft of Teaching Program Coordinator and a senior Teaching Consultant at the Center for Teaching and Learning.   

Teaching Philosophy of Religions: A Conversation with Prof. Brook Ziporyn

Wednesday, May 28 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 201

Join the Philosophy of Religions Club for a conversation with new faculty member Prof. Brook Ziporyn on the peculiarities and challenges of teaching Philosophy of Religions. Snacks and drinks will be provided.  


Reacting to the Past: A Participatory One Day Conference

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Saturday, May 31 from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Swift Hall


Reacting to the Past (RTTP) is an exciting, interactive approach to teaching classic texts and the history of ideas.  Imagine transforming your classroom into the Council of Nicea or the Reformation Parliament under Henry VIII or Athens after the Peloponnesian War.  RTTP consists of complex role-playing simulations in which students embody historical roles as they engage with big ideas, practice the close reading of primary texts, and cultivate skills for critical thinking and argumentation.  Pioneered at Barnard College, Reacting to the Past won the Theodore Hesburgh Award for pedagogical innovation and has been adopted at over 300 colleges and universities nationwide.

This one-day conference is a unique opportunity for Divinity School students in all areas to experience RTTP for themselves.  We will engage in a day-long game and learn how to implement RTTP in our courses.  Lunch will be provided for all participants.

Advanced registration is required, and enrollment is limited.  If you would to participate, email Brandon Cline (bdcline@uchicago.edu) ASAP to register, indicating any dietary preferences or restrictions.  The deadline to register is Friday, May 16.

Our facilitator will be Kamran Swansan, Assistant Professor of Humanities & Philosophy at Harold Washington College, co-author of Charles Darwin, the Copley Medal, and the Rise of Naturalism, 1862-1864 (part of the Reacting to the Past Series published by W. W. Norton), and a member of the RTTP Consortium Board, responsible for the intellectual content and the dissemination of the RTTP program.