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The Craft of Teaching

The Craft of Teaching (CoT) is the Divinity School's program of pedagogical development for its graduate students, dedicated to preparing a new generation of accomplished educators in the field of religious studies.  We bring together Divinity School faculty, current students, invited guests, and an extensive alumni network of decorated teachers to share strategies, develop skills, and advance critical reflection relating to religious studies pedagogy. Find out more here, or browse our program schedule and multimedia library.

  • Spring 2016 Schedule is live!

Take a look at our Spring Quarter schedule, hot off the presses. More details, including locations for events, are forthcoming.

  • The Craft of Teaching has its first publication!

Hearty congratulations to the graduate student Craft of Teaching participants who have been featured in a co-authored publication in the most recent volume of Teaching Theology and Religion! After the Spring 2015 workshop, "The Art of the Approach: Negotiating Hard Choices in Introductory Course Design," Prof. Russell McCutcheon, our guest for the workshop, invited four Divinity School graduate students to respond to the essay version of his presentation and collaborate on a forum-style submission to the journal. The publication, entitled "Crafting the Introductory Course in Religious Studies," consists of Prof. McCutcheon's essay, the four Divinity School responses (by Andrew Durdin, Kelli Gardner, Adam Miller, and Emily Crews), and an introduction by Aaron Hollander, Program Coordinator for the Craft of Teaching. Download the publication from the journal here and we'll keep you apprised of further interventions in the field of religious studies pedagogy by Craft of Teaching participants.


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For the 2015-2016 academic year, five recent University of Chicago Divinity graduates have been invited to provide their unique insights as new faculty members. Our Bloggers in Virtual Residence will be engaging with some of the topics addressed by this year's CoT programming and discussing some of their own personal successes and failures.
 

John and Jane Colman, long-time friends and supporters of the Divinity School, have made a generous gift of $900,000 to endow the Craft of Teaching.  The entire Divinity School community is deeply appreciative of their vision and leadership. Read more here

Navigating Normativity: Pedagogical Challenges and Opportunities of Diverse Commitments in the Classroom (with the Theology & Religious Ethics Workshop)

Wednesday, June 1st, 4:30-6:30 pm, Swift 106

It has become a truism that there is no neutral position from which course material may be examined, either on the part of students or of teachers. Not exclusively but certainly not least in religious studies, students and teachers alike enter a class with held positions of some kind toward the objects of inquiry. Particularly when the material at hand is disturbing or provocative (e.g. the Crusades; demonic possession), ethically uncompromising (e.g. animal rights activism; the Left Behind novels), or under contemporary public scrutiny (e.g. race relations; religiously motivated violence), being able to monitor and respond to the range of attitudes brought to bear by participants in the classroom is essential to ensuring learning. However, just how to relate to these commitments and to what extent address them explicitly can trouble even veteran teachers.

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This workshop is intended to cultivate sensitivity and strategy in relation to the commitments of students and teachers, which come together in an inevitable but variable mixture specific to each classroom setting. Teaching effectively to and not only about diversity is a challenge that we will embrace. There will not be one solution but rather a palette of possibilities with which teachers may choose to proceed in light of their pedagogical contexts and goals.

Our panel represents three different fields in three different institutional settings:

-Prof. Laurie Zoloth (Northwestern University) is Professor of Religious Studies, Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at the Feinberg School of Medicine, and Director of Graduate Studies at Northwestern University’s Department of Religious Studies. She is co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's Section on women and Religion and a member of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning, and she has been a member of the NASA National Advisory Council.

-Prof. Valerie Johnson (DePaul University) is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at DePaul University. Her research focuses on urban politics, African-American politics, and urban education.

-Prof. Jonathan Ebel (U of I Urbana-Champaign) is Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Department of Religion. His research program involves religion and war, religion and violence, lay theologies of economic hardship all within the American context. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School (PhD, 2004).

See our full Spring 2016 lineup here

Featured Content:

Beyond Polarization: Professor Martin Marty on Strategies for Public Engagement

Monday, April 27, 4:00-5:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room

Reflecting on a lifetime of public engagement, Prof. Marty discusses concrete strategies for communicating with broader audiences and for enhancing public discourse as scholars of religion.  Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Spring Craft of Teaching Seminar with Alumna of the Year, Laurie L. Patton

Thursday, April 23, 12:00-1:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room

Rebecca ChoppLed by Dean Laurie Patton (PhD, History of Religions, 1991), this pedagogy seminar focuses on a graduate course on the theory of comparison: "The Very Idea of Comparing Religions." Dean Patton, the incoming President of Middlebury College, leads a discussion on how a case-study method may be effectively used for teaching comparatively, drawing on her own extensive experience with such a method. Teaching comparatively, moreover, may involve not only drawing on the case studies of others but also equipping students to design and carry out their own case studies.  Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp (Winter 2015)

Thursday, February 12 from 12:00-2:00 PM in the Swift Common Room

Rebecca ChoppLed by Rebecca Chopp (PhD, Theology, 1983), Chancellor of the University of Denver and former President and Professor of Religion at Swarthmore College and Colgate University.  In this unique Dean's Seminar, Chancellor Chopp will draw upon her extensive experience in higher education leadership to discuss her approach to the classroom and university administration.  She will address the future of higher education and liberal education in particular, as well as the rewards and challenges of administrative leadership today. Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.

 

 

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Joanne Maguire Robinson (Autumn 2014): "From Paper Syllabi to Online Learning: Expanding Course Boundaries"

Friday, October 24 from 12:00-2:00 PM in the Swift Hall Common Room

With the help of technology, college-level teaching has expanded well beyond classroom walls.  Using a selection of syllabi from her seventeen-year career, Divinity School alumna Joanne Maguire Robinson (PhD, History of Christianity, 1996) will discuss shifting settings for and assumptions about both teaching and learning.  Prof. Robinson is Associate Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She is a recipient of the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence (2012), a National Endowment for the Humanities "Enduring Questions" course development grant (2012), and the North Carolina Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013).  She is also a member of the Editorial Board of Teaching Theology and Religion.  Prof. Robinson is the author of Nobility and Annihilation in Marguerite Porete's Mirror of Simple Souls (SUNY 2001) and is presently revising Waiting in Christianity.  

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Jonathan Z. Smith (Winter 2013)

February 27, 2013

jzsmith3.jpgLed by Prof. Jonathan Z. Smith, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor of the Humanities, Associate Faculty in the Divinity School, and author of a collection of essays on pedagogy entitled On Teaching Religion: Essays by Jonathan Z. Smith (edited by Christopher Lehrich; Oxford UP, 2012).  Prof. Smith discusses his approach to pedagogy especially in relation to the Introduction to Religious Studies course that he taught in the College.

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Visit our Multimedia Library for audio and video of more Craft of Teaching events.

Craft of Teaching requirements for Divinity School doctoral students (updated September 2014):

  • Participation in the Chicago Center for Teaching's annual Teaching@Chicago Conference.

  • Participation at three Dean's Quarterly Craft of Teaching Seminars

  • Participation in three Arts of Teaching Workshops

  • Participation in at least five additional Craft of Teaching programs of your choosing

  • Submission of a Philosophy of Teaching Statement

Download the printable self-tracking sheet available in Word format or PDF.  For additional details, see the Program Requirements page.

For detailed descriptions of upcoming events, please see our schedule page.

For more information about the Craft of Teaching, please contact: craftofteaching@uchicago.edu

Aaron Hollander
Program Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching
University of Chicago Divinity School
 
 
 
 
Marshall Cunningham
Associate Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching
University of Chicago Divinity School