The Craft of Teaching

The Craft of Teaching 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, and an extensive alumni network of decorated teachers to share our craft and to advance critical reflection on religious studies pedagogy. Find out more here, or browse our program schedule and multimedia library.

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

    Friday, May 9, 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, she 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.  See our spring schedule for additional details.

  • John and Jane Colman make gift of $900K to endow the Craft of Teaching (October 30, 2013)

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.

The Craft of Teaching not only has a new Facebook page, we now have a members-only group for online conversation about pedagogy!  We'll communicate event info on our FB page, while our FB group is intended as a semi-private place to post questions, share ideas, and otherwise confer about teaching and professionalization.  You could share your thoughts on the last Craft of Teaching Seminar; or ask other teachers for advice about leading an upcoming discussion section; or post a link to an interesting article on the future of religious studies departments.  It will also be a fantastic place to connect with and ask questions of Div School alums on FB, who are eager to share their teaching experiences with current students.   Be sure to like our page and join our group the next time you're on FB!

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. 

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. 

Check out our complete spring schedule here!

Featured Content:

Dean's Quarterly 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.


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

Summary of Craft of Teaching requirements for Divinity School doctoral students:

  • Attendance at the Center for Teaching and Learning's Workshop on Teaching in the College and the submission of a workshop journal

  • Attendance at three of the Dean's Quarterly Craft of Teaching Seminars

  • Participation in one of the annual Divinity School Syllabus Workshops

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

Download the printable self-tracking sheet.  For additional details, see the Program Requirements page.

For more information about the Craft of Teaching, please contact:

Brandon Cline 
Program Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching
University of Chicago Divinity School