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, 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.
Craft of Teaching schedule for Winter 2015 is up!
Check out the Winter schedule here - and stay tuned for room assignments, packets of reading, and added details.
The CoT unveils its new blog (Oct 24, 2014)!
Important improvements in the Craft of Teaching announced for 2014-15
Download the our fall newsletter to see changes in the program requirements and a preview of the upcoming year of new offerings and initiatives!
Andrew DeCort named 2014 Excellence in Course Design Award Finalist
Congratulations to Divinity School PhD student Andrew DeCort for being selected as a finalist for the 2014 Excellence in Course Design Award by the Chicago Center for Teaching. Andrew's course "Authority, Action, Ethics: Ethiopia", taught at Wheaton College last spring, was recognized as exemplary from a highly competitive pool of applications submitted by graduate students from all the university's divisions.
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!
Divinity School Syllabus Workshop (Arts of Teaching Series)
Friday, February 27 from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM in Swift 208
Led by Lucy Pick, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity. This annual three-hour workshop centers on course and syllabus design. Participants draft course titles and descriptions that are peer-reviewed during the workshop. Participation is limited and advanced registration is required. In the first hour, participants will discuss the principles of good course design including how to title a course and write a course description, how to structure a course for college students, what kinds and how many readings and assignments to include, among other topics. The remaining time will be used to discuss the course titles and descriptions submitted by participants, considering how to make them stronger, and how they might be fleshed out into a full syllabus. Lunch will be provided. In order to register, you must email Prof. Pick ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) by Friday, February 20 at noon with your name, the title of a college-level course you might like to teach some day (or have taught) and a brief, one paragraph description of the course. You can also include a short list of readings you might use in the course. It should be no longer than a single page.
Liminal Pedagogy: The Humanities and the Transformative Ritual of the Intro Course
Thursday, March 5 from 4:00 – 5:30 PM in Swift 208
Led by Jeffrey Kripal (PhD, History of Religions, 1993), J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Thought and former chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. Prof. Kripal will discuss his two-decade experiment in adopting the structure of van Gennep and Turner’s model of initiation as an apt and powerful tool for teaching the introduction to the study of religion course at two separate institutions: a small, relatively homogenous liberal arts college and a robustly multicultural research university. Prof. Kripal has recently used the same model to write a next-generation textbook on the comparative study of religion (Comparing Religions [Wiley-Blackwell, 2013]). Prof. Kripal will also discuss that collaborative process, some of the challenges his co-authors and he faced, and his experiences visiting colleges and universities that have adopted it.
The Table of Contents and a Note to the Instructor from Prof. Kripal's textbook are available here, and a recent syllabus using the textbook is here. Excerpts from the book's chapters are also available by request; please email
See our full line-up on our schedule page.
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.
Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Davíd Carrasco (Spring 2014)
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Led 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 Empire, Religions 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. Professor Carrasco's syllabus for "Moctezuma’s México" is available for download here. Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.
Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Jonathan Z. Smith (Winter 2013)
February 27, 2013
Led 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.
Craft of Teaching requirements for Divinity School doctoral students (updated September 2014):
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 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 more information about the Craft of Teaching, please contact: email@example.comBrandon Cline Program Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching University of Chicago Divinity School Aaron Hollander Associate Program Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching University of Chicago Divinity School