2016-17 Craft of Teaching Schedule

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Spring 2017   

Wednesday, April 5, 4:30-6:00, Swift 201   

rosengarten2_0.jpgCome graduation day, cap and gown in hand, graduate students can look back on their range of teaching experiences. By then, of course, the only place to go is forward. This program will help students to strategize finding and prioritizing diverse teaching experiences, from the large lecture to the small discussion, from teaching writing to constructing a syllabus. Applying the principles of ‘backward design,’ this workshop aims at helping PhD students to develop a strategy for seeking teaching practice and engaging in Craft of Teaching programs calibrated to their needs and ambitions, beginning by considering what most such students will need in the long run: a teaching portfolio for the job market.

Join William Rando (Director, Chicago Center for Teaching) and Richard Rosengarten (Dean, Divinity School) to learn about the philosophy and pragmatics of the teaching portfolio, and to consider how the intended/imagined teaching repertoire students hope to have at graduation might impact their plans in the shorter term.

This event is geared toward early-term PhD students, but is open to everybody. No preparation is required. The workshop will be followed by an informal gathering at the Ida Noyes Pub to discuss the challenges and opportunities of teaching while a graduate student at the Divinity School.

Using Objects to Teach Religion [Arts of Teaching]

Monday, April 10, 4:30-6:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room


The range of resources and strategies with which we might engage in the teaching and learning of “religion” is virtually endless, though their usage shifts with different construals of the field and commitments to different learning goals. In the Craft of Teaching series, “Using X to Teach Religion,” members of the Divinity School faculty are invited to lead Arts of Teaching workshops combining a short presentation on the merits and limits of a particular type of resource they emphasize in their courses with close consideration and group workshopping of the associated course-design and active pedagogical decisions that need to be made.

In this edition, join Professor Jaś Elsner (Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture) to consider pedagogical strategies for teaching with material objects -- both the objects that haunt and destabilize the classic texts and ideological problems of religious studies, and the physical objects to which teachers may wish to expose their students face to face (in class or on site visits). This edition of the ‘Using X to Teach Religion’ series will consider the diverse contexts of teaching religion through the lens of the consideration of ‘objects.’

Prior to attending this workshop, participants are asked to select an object that they might consider using in their classes (whether an object on site somewhere pertinent to the course, or an object portable enough to bring to class). Please send a photograph of the object (or a description of an object that can be brought along to the workshop), along with a description of the kind of class in which it might be used, to the Coordinators at craftofteaching@uchicago.edu (by Friday, April 7th), and come to the workshop prepared to introduce your object to the group and discuss your preliminary insights.


Spring 2017 Dean’s Seminar in the Craft of Teaching, with Alum of the Year John Corrigan

Thursday, April 20, 12:00-1:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room

JCorrigan.photo.jpg“Square One: Teaching First-Year Students through Critical Reading”

Reading books and writing about them is a central component of learning in the humanities. A course organized around critical reading and disciplined, formal written reviews of books enables first-year undergraduates to cultivate skills crucial to achievement in fields such as religious studies and history. The seminar will frame an approach to such pedagogy and serve as a forum for discussion of the challenges and possibilities in organizing a course in such a way.   

Advance materials for this seminar will be available soon.

The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design, institutional context, and leadership in higher education.  Complimentary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP by Monday, April 17 to , indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.

John Corrigan is the Lucius Moody Bristol Distinguished Professor of Religion and Professor of History at Florida State University in Tallahassee. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including, most recently, Emptiness: Feeling Christian in America (University of Chicago Press, 2015). His works encompass American religious history, the history of emotion, and the digital humanities. Other titles include Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century (University of California Press, 2002); Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions (coauthor, Routledge, 2015), and Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives (coedited with David Bodenhamer and Trevor Harris, Indiana University Press, 2015). His research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the Fulbright Program. The many PhDs he has trained teach in universities throughout North America.

Microteaching: The Pedagogy of Close Reading [Arts of Teaching]

Wednesday, May 3, 9 am - 12 pm, Martin Marty Center Library


Microteaching is organized practice teaching in a supportive, low-risk environment.  Participants will teach a short lesson to a small group of peers and receive detailed feedback (including self-assessment based on video-recording) on their teaching strategy and performance.  This Spring’s Microteaching workshop will focus on close reading as a pedagogical strategy, drawing students into course material and larger questions by way of collective in-class reading and discussion.  Participants will not only practice modeling techniques of effective reading in the role of the teacher, but will also gain a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the communal-reading format as a pedagogical strategy.

Each participant will select and prepare a reading pertinent to their teaching goals and, for ten minutes, teach the other participants through a shared close reading and guided discussion.

The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Sarah Hammerschlag (Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture), Professor Ryan Coyne (Philosophy of Religion; Theology), and Maureen Kelly (Craft of Teaching Associate Coordinator). Participation is strictly limited and advanced registration is required. If you are interested in being involved in this workshop, email the coordinators at as soon as possible to receive further information.

Online and Blended Teaching: Notes from the Field

Monday, May 8, 12:00-1:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room

rando.jpgIncreasingly, university educators are expected to incorporate new technologies in assignment design, assessment, and student learning; teaching online is more and more a reality with which educators need to be familiar, not only when teaching online exclusively (e.g. MOOCs) but also in the classroom itself. The wide variety of platforms associated with these resources pose new questions and problems, new challenges and opportunities, to educators committed to teaching excellence. Join the Craft of Teaching for a panel sharing their experiences of teaching with a range of online resources (and requirements).

Lunch will be served! Please RSVP to by Friday, May 5, so we can provide accordingly.

William Rando (Director, Chicago Center for Teaching) and Emily Joy Bembeneck (Associate Director of Pedagogical Innovation, Graham School) will offer an introduction to online courses, online resources in conventional classroom settings, and the scale of this new format for teaching higher education. Then, two emerging educators at the Divinity School who have been called upon in their teaching to work with online platforms (Adam Miller, PhD Student in History of Religions; Aaron Hollander, PhD Candidate in Theology) will offer ‘notes from the field’ sharing their experiences, expectations, and strategies with putting online technologies to work in their classrooms.


Diamonds in the Rough: Meeting Students Where They Are [co-hosted with the Ethics Club] 

Thursday, May 18, 4:30-6:00 pm, Swift 208

Rough-Diamond.jpegYou're leading a seminar discussion on a difficult book, and your students' comments are coming out raw, disorganized, or off-topic. How do you identify, amplify, and interweave the most interesting and relevant points of each student's comments?

Your seminar students are unanimously criticizing this week's text, and you're inclined to agree with them. How do you channel the author's voice to present the strongest version of what the text has to say?

Your student sits in your office, eager to hear your feedback on the paper idea he just proudly proposed. But his ideas are quite underdeveloped. How do you help him get where he's trying to go?

Join Professor Richard Miller (Religious Ethics) for a session aimed at developing this most essential of teaching skills, the craft of finding diamonds in rough student understanding and work, in order to bring them to light.

Traditions of Swift Hall: Building a Teaching Career in Constructive Studies

Wednesday, May 24, 3:00-4:30 pm, Swift 3rd Floor Lecture Hall

tlewis_thumb.jpgIn the first installment in a series of conferences engaging “The Tradition(s) of Swift Hall,” which gathers the community of Divinity School, present and past, and scholars from different institutions in a journey of critical self-reflection, this first conference on “Constructive Studies in the Academic Study of Religion” will focus on the traditions and unanswered questions that have emerged out of the interaction among theology, philosophy of religions, and religious ethics.

The conference begins with a Craft of Teaching session featuring Professor Tal Lewis (Brown University) Professor Bruce Ellis Benson (Loyola Marymount University), and Professor Sarah Fredericks (Divinity School), who will lead a conversation on the special challenges and opportunities of an early career in constructive studies (e.g. in theology, ethics, or philosophy of religion). 

After briefly introducing their own career trajectories, Professors Lewis, Benson, and Fredericks will discuss some of the following issues, and others, with graduate student attendees: How does institutional context inflected the ways in which our work is articulated as “constructive” or calibrated to different audiences? How can a career as an educator be built specifically upon training in constructive studies at the Divinity School? How might this academic formation converge or conflict with different educational environments, specifically in terms of its constructive valances? What specific or distinctive skills or mindsets are we hoping to cultivate in our students? How does the constructive study of religion fit into the aims of a liberal arts education or into the goals of a university more broadly? What are possible ground rules or orienting commitments for responsible undergraduate courses in constructive studies?

All are welcome, regardless of their participation in the conference more generally. Refreshments will be available.

Annual Philosophy of Teaching Workshop [Arts of Teaching]

Thursday, June 8, 2:00 - 3:30 pm, Swift 200

rando.jpgIn this annual workshop, William Rando (Director, Chicago Center for Teaching) will guide students toward the production of a Philosophy of Teaching statement, part of the teaching portfolio for the academic job market. It will be an introduction to the principles of the PoT statement, aimed at those writing the statement and looking at the job market in the coming year or two. This workshop will serve as a jumping-off point for preparing job market materials over the summer in advance of the application season in the fall, and will suggest strategies for configuring the statement, incorporating teaching experience in a compelling way, and insights into the presentation of teaching competencies in a portfolio format.

Participants in this workshop will have the opportunity, should they wish to take it, to work on teaching materials over the summer and reassemble for a second time in late September. In part two, students will be able to work in a group context on the drafts of the PoT statements they have composed.

This workshop is also highly recommended to those intending to prepare a Philosophy of Teaching statement towards the completion of the Craft of Teaching certificate.

For the events of previous quarters, please see our archive.