Wednesday, January 11, 9:00-10:30 am, Swift 208
It is an obvious truth that a poor writing prompt will accomplish little even as it drains the time and emotional stamina of students and instructor alike. And it is an obvious truth that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But it is much less obvious how to design assignments that both construct the arena for specific learning sought by the teacher and, at the same time, motivate students to put their best feet forward.
In this session, join Larry McEnerney, Director of the University of Chicago Writing Program, for a workshop on creative assignment design that will help participants break out from the rut of one damn paper-prompt after another, calibrating an array of design strategies with the possible learning goals to which individual instructors can be dedicated.
Participants should come to this session with the draft of an assignment -- either one they have used or one they could envision using in a course. These assignments will be workshopped and fine-tuned during the session.
Never fear -- coffee, tea, and light breakfast fare will be available!
“Salt for the Impure, Light for the Pure”: Cumulative Assignment Design and Students’ Intellectual Development (with the Early Christian Studies Workshop)
Monday, January 23, 12:00-1:30 pm, Swift 200
In the second of our two sessions this quarter on cultivating excellence and creativity in assignment design, join Ellen Muehlberger (University of Michigan) for lunch and a conversation about the merits and strategies of cumulative assignment design, that is, interweaving multiple assignments within a course in order to meet students where they are and lead them in the progressive development of the range of skills that they have. Prof Muehlberger’s own recent course, which successfully integrated a mixed group of majors and non-majors, will serve as a case study.
If you will join us for lunch, please RSVP to email@example.com no later than Thursday, January 19. A packet including Prof. Muehlberger’s syllabus and its series of assignments is available for perusal here.
Please note: Prof. Muehlberger will also be presenting at the Early Christian Studies Workshop on the same day, 4:30-6:00, location TBA.
Ellen Muehlberger is Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on the history of Christianity in “late antiquity,” roughly 300 C.E. to 700 C.E., and is particularly interested in the rhetorical and historiographical methods Christians adopted as Christian culture shifted from a minority to dominant position in the later Roman Empire. Her current project examines the subjective experience of death as imagined by late ancient Christians. She teach undergraduate courses on Christianity; graduate courses on Christianity in late antiquity, Gnosticism, asceticism, and theories of historiography; and language courses in Greek, Coptic, and Syriac.
Friday, January 27, 12:00-2:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
“Pedagogy and the Public Intellectual”
This seminar, with Rev. Dr. Daisy Machado (Union Theological Seminary) will explore one important role available to the scholar/teacher: as public intellectual who seeks to understand lived religion as a lens through which divine presence and activity are interpreted in the world. Together we will explore how research, teaching, and writing can be integrated as a form of public responsibility that examines the realities of people’s embodied faith, especially in the marginalized communities whose existence challenges but often remains unaccounted for by mainstream scholarly accounts.
An index of syllabi, articles, and other resources that will be relevant to Prof. Machado's seminar are available here: feel free to browse prior to the workshop.
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, January 23 to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.
Daisy Machado (PhD 1996, History of Christianity) is Professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary. Her scholarship focuses specifically on United States Christianities. She is the first U.S. Latina ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1981 in the Northeast Region and has served inner city congregations in Brooklyn, Houston, and Fort Worth. A native of Cuba, she was raised in New York, lived in Texas for twenty years, and lived in Lexington, KY for two years, where she served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Lexington Theological Seminary. Dr. Machado has a great interest in the concept of “borderlands,” which is a multilayered word that not only refers to a specific geographic location, but for Latinas and other women of color also refers to a social, economic, political, and personal location within the dominant culture.
Friday, February 3, 2:00-4:00 pm, Swift 200
Designing a college course is no easy task. It requires making difficult decisions about a whole host of issues, from what you should teach and how you should teach it to what you want students to know and how to tell if they know it. This installment of The Craft of Teaching Program’s Undergraduate Course Design Workshop is intended to assist participants in negotiating that complex process. It will be especially fruitful for people who are applying (or intending to apply) to adjunct positions for which they’ll need to design their own courses.
In the workshop we will discuss strategies for designing courses that will appeal to both students and selection committees. We’ll consider issues of course scope, institutional fit, marketability, and goal-setting. In particular we’ll work on creating:
1: a compelling and accurate course description;
2: realistic learning goals;
3: assignments that help you achieve those goals; and
4: a draft of a final product for use in job applications.
Participants should RSVP to email@example.com, and should come prepared with a draft course description and a provisional list of learning goals and assignments. Lunch will be available for those who RSVP.
This session will be led by Emily D. Crews, PhD candidate in History of Religions at the Divinity School and the Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago. She has taught courses in the UChicago College and at Lake Forest College, and has constructed scores of syllabi and cover letters. She will facilitate the session as a peer guide, sharing her recent experiences in adjuncting in the Chicago area and the valuable advice she’s gotten along the way.
Thursday, February 9, 4:30-7:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Five years ago, in January of 2012, the Divinity School hosted its first Craft of Teaching workshop, an experiment with resounding consequences for the Divinity School and for its wider community. Thanks to the inaugural vision and leadership of former Dean Margaret M. Mitchell, the great generosity of John and Jane Colman in endowing the Craft of Teaching for future generations, and the dedication of its program staff, we now have a robust and continually evolving annual series of lectures, seminars, workshops, and symposia, complemented by support for the Divinity School’s graduate student educators (acting as TAs in the U of C and as instructors at many area institutions) and a Craft of Teaching Blog that feeds a conversation on religious studies pedagogy between our alumni educators and our current students. In five short years, the Craft of Teaching has become nationally and internationally recognized as a cutting-edge program for the pedagogical development of graduate students and a vibrant hub for conversation and resources in the teaching of the academic study of religion. Divinity School students who have participated in the Craft of Teaching program have begun to graduate and earn faculty appointments around the country and the world.
Please join the Craft of Teaching program staff, the Teaching Task Force of the Divinity School, faculty, students, alumni, and friends for a festive reception in honor of the Craft of Teaching and all who have participated in it. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres beginning at 4:30, with a short program of remarks and awards at 5:00. Please feel free to join for as much or little of the event as you are able.
This celebration is co-hosted by the Craft of Teaching, the Dean's Office, and the DSA. We appreciate your RSVP for this event, to keep track of our numbers, but you are welcome regardless. Click through to our EventBrite page to RSVP.
Public Religious Literacy in Secondary and Post-Secondary Education: A Critical Theory Approach (with the Martin Marty Center)
Monday, February 13, 4:30-6:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Religious literacy is often associated with information about the beliefs, ritual practices, and sacred spaces associated with “world religions.” In this Craft of Teaching / Martin Marty Center workshop, led by Prof. Diane Moore (Harvard Divinity School), we will explore a more complex understanding of religious literacy that focuses on a method for understanding how religions function in human experience. We will examine 1) why better literacy about religion is essential for understanding human affairs in contemporary and historic contexts and 2) how a critical theory approach to teaching and learning about religion in secondary and post-secondary classrooms is relevant for both education broadly defined and healthy civic life.
In particular, the necessity and nature of teaching religion at the secondary-school level will be emphasized, as one of the crucial and underappreciated sites where the craft of teaching religion takes place.
Prior to this workshop, participants should review the short methods paper available here. Additional (and optional!) relevant reading is the American Academy of Religion’s Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K-12 Public Schools.
Diane L. Moore is the director of the Religious Literacy Project and a Senior Scholar at the Center for the Study of World Religions. She focuses her research on enhancing the public understanding of religion through education from the lens of critical theory. Moore chaired the American Academy of Religion's Task Force on Religion in the Schools, which conducted a three-year initiative to establish guidelines for teaching about religion in K-12 public schools (PDF) that were published in 2010. She is the coordinator for the Religious Studies and Education Certificate, and her book Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: A Cultural Studies Approach to the Study of Religion in Secondary Education was published by Palgrave in 2007.
Friday, February 24, 1:30-3:30 pm, Swift 208
It is a reality of the profession that educators trained in specific disciplines and with particular bodies of expertise will be called upon, at various stages of their career and to variable extents, to teach material that they do not know well. Young faculty in particular are always being asked to teach outside their specialties in order to help their departments participate in a broad interdisciplinary curriculum and respond to the academic interests of students in an ever-changing world. Teaching as a nonspecialist need not be cause for alarm or anxiety: teaching as a nonspecialist can be refreshing for an educator and offer a model for students in engaging the unfamiliar. Nonetheless, guidance in approaching specific bodies of widely taught material or problems in the study of religion is invaluable.
In this new series, “Teaching X as a Nonspecialist,” faculty who are veterans of making pedagogical gold of (what had once been) unfamiliar worlds will lead sessions drawing on their experiences and insights to aid graduate students in learning to do the same. The inaugural session, led by Prof. Catherine Benton (Lake Forest College), will be of value for all those who imagine that they might find themselves teaching Islam -- an increasing likelihood in our day. Prof. Michael Sells (Divinity School) will respond and help shape our conversation.
In advance of the workshop, please review the attached syllabi of Prof. Benton: evolving iterations of her teaching of "Introduction to Islam."
Catherine Benton is the Associate Professor of Religion and Chair of Asian Studies at Lake Forest. Her current research interests include oral histories of Muslim women in Khuldabad, Maharashtra, India, a Sufi pilgrimage center in western India, based on field research in India 2003-2015. She is also working on a project that includes oral histories of Hindu Vedanta nuns in the U.S. and India, and Buddhist nuns in Bhutan.
Michael Sells is the John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature. He studies and teaches in the areas of qur'anic studies; Sufism; Arabic and Islamic love poetry; mystical literature (Greek, Islamic, Christian, and Jewish); and religion and violence. He is the author of eight books and over sixty articles, and he has been the receipient of major academic awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship for the arts and humanities.
Tuesday, March 7, 4:30-6:30 pm, S208
Pedagogy does not begin with stepping into the classroom: strategic lesson planning in advance, combined with an improvisational readiness to adapt and flow with the needs of the moment, is of great pedagogical power, especially when teaching complex material and students who need careful guidance in understanding it. In this session, co-facilitated by Prof. Kevin Hector (Theology & Philosophy of Religion) and David Barr (PhD Candidate, Religious Ethics), participants will get to know the basic processes of student learning and will learn to implement practical strategies for planning classes that engage them, across a variety of institutional contexts. How does individual class planning vary from type to type of class (seminar, lecture, blend, etc) -- and what kind of decisions need to be made at a more fine-grained level than that of the syllabus?
Since we will spend a portion of the session working to produce the outline of an actual lesson plan, participants should come with the content of a particular class period (real or hypothetical) in mind. All that is required is a general sense of the material to be covered and the sort of course in which it will or would be given.
Teaching@Chicago Conference (Workshop on Teaching in the College)
September 21-22, 9 am - 5 pm
The Chicago Center for Teaching's fall orientation for graduate lecturers and course assistants, formerly known as the Workshop on Teaching in the College, has been renamed the Teaching@Chicago Conference. This year’s program will take place on Wednesday, September 21st and Thursday, September 22nd, and each day will be devoted to a specific group: Wednesday to Teaching Assistants and Thursday for College Instructors. This program is open to graduate students across all of the divisions who are preparing to teach either in the College or at another University, in the near future or as preparation for a career in academe. This workshop features individual sessions on an array of topics including:
Undergraduate Perspectives on What Makes a Good Teacher
Effective Grading Strategies
Key Challenges in Teaching
Teaching Your Own Course
How to Plan for Conceptual Learning
The Roles and Duties of the Course Assistant
Friday, September 30, 1:30-3:30, Swift Third Floor Lecture Hall
Scientific research, as well as our common experience, indicates that how we communicate often has a much greater impact on audiences than the content of our message. The skills of public communication are therefore of vital importance to the work of future teachers and scholars. This interactive workshop will present fundamental concepts of public speaking and provide practical advice for building confidence in front of an audience, using our bodies and voices to communicate information more effectively, and to connect with audiences. Led by Aaron Hollander, Program Coordinator for the Craft of Teaching. Participation in this workshop is will be of service to Divinity School students in any program and area, whether or not they will pursue Craft of Teaching certification. Coffee and tea will be provided.
Friday, October 14, 1:30-3:30 pm, Swift 106
This year, the Craft of Teaching program is especially committed to examining variances between the many contexts in which religious studies education takes place. Such variances begin, however, well before a faculty member is appointed in a department -- on the job market, applicants will encounter a wide range of approaches to teaching and to the professional expectations of a religious studies educator. Different kinds of teaching materials may be requested, evaluations or demonstrations of different sorts may be expected, and applicants will find themselves in need of representing their own pedagogical experience and orientations in personal conversation as well as in written statements. The role of teaching on the academic job market is anything but standardized, but it is always a matter of significance.
This panel, featuring three University of Chicago alumni who serve as department heads or program directors in diverse institutional contexts, will consider the different ways that -- in the course of search processes for academic positions -- applicants' teaching is considered within the holistic parameters of searches, that is, how their teaching experience, philosophy, and other materials are evaluated, interpreted, weighed, etc, in the teaching environments represented by our panelists. Such a conversation will shed light on a process that, for many graduate students, remains all too opaque, in the process equipping them to think more critically and speak more productively about their own teaching, vis-à-vis the applications they will make at different kinds of institutions.
Susan Hill (AM ‘86, PhD in Religion & Literature, ‘93; Professor of Religion, University of Northern Iowa)
Khaled Keshk (PhD in NELC, ‘02; Associate Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, DePaul University)
Esther Menn (AM ‘85, PhD in Biblical Studies, ‘95; Dean and VP for Academic Affairs; The Ralph W. and Marilyn R. Klein Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, LSTC)
Friday, October 28, 12:00-2:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
“Religion, Ecology, and Institutional Citizenship in the Anthropocene Era”
In a time when humankind’s intensive use of resources has caused massive changes to the global climate, one of the challenges of the study of religion is to analyze critically the religious and moral worldviews that have shaped these changes. The emerging discipline of religion & ecology focuses on how religious traditions have grounded human beings' fundamental outlooks on the environment in ancient and modern times. In turn, it examines how various spiritual worldviews can aid – or not – the development of an Earth-centered philosophy of life in a time of human-caused global warming, the so-called era of the Anthropocene. This discipline contends that the environmental crisis, at its core, is less a scientific or technological problem and more a spiritual problem, a matter of the heart more than one of the head. Market values have overtaken community values, and the lives of most people in the developed world run opposite the crucial insight in the American Indian proverb, "The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives."
In this seminar, join Professor Mark Wallace of Swarthmore College to consider a range of pedagogical and institutional considerations that reflect the diagnoses of an ecological perspective. In such a natural and cultural context, the university classroom is not closed in on itself but is part of a living network of people, institutions, and organisms, all bearing an impact on one another’s flourishing. Pedagogically, diverse approaches exist for integrating the fields of inquiry in religious studies with this broader orientation, whether at the classroom level or the level of the larger institution. In addition to in-class dialogue, writing, and exam assignments, alternative learning activities may cultivate cognitive development, self-discovery, and growth in civic responsibility, including:
* Community Based Learning, including class members volunteering in under-resourced communities in order to develop, as referred to by Swarthmore College, ethical intelligence in a mission-driven educational context. To that end, the goal of community based learning is to integrate classroom theory and community practice so that that class members can become more reflective and competent participants in public life.)
* Earth-Based Rituals, including nonsectarian performative and contemplative practices, borrowed and modified from different religious and cultural traditions, to develop experiential understandings of class subject matter. These “spiritual lab” practices often include neo-Pagan Council of All Beings ritual, lectio divina contemplative reading, modified Tu B’shevat (Tree Planting) ceremony, Zen Buddhist zazen sitting meditation, and Lakota medicine wheel practice.
* Student exposure to, analysis of, and involvement in institutional policies, including land use, energy use, investment, food acquisition and waste disposal, curriculum development, etc.
In advance of this seminar, please download and review the packet of syllabi here. For additional, optional reading, please see the collaborative final project report of Prof. Wallace's "The Green Campus" students here.
The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complimentary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP by Monday, October 24 to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.
Mark I. Wallace (PhD in Theology, ‘86; Professor of Religion, Swarthmore College) focuses his research and teaching on the intersections between Christian theology, critical theory, environmental studies, and postmodernism. He is a member of the Interpretation Theory Committee and the Environmental Studies Committee at Swarthmore; he is a member of the Constructive Theology Workgroup, active in the educational justice movement in the city of Chester, and received an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship for research in Costa Rica. He is the author of Green Christianity (Fortress, 2010), Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature (Fortress, 2005), Fragments of the Spirit: Nature, Violence, and the Renewal of Creation (Continuum, 1996; Trinity, 2002), The Second Naïveté: Barth, Ricoeur, and the New Yale Theology (Mercer University Press, 1990, 1995), and he is the editor of Paul Ricoeur's Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination (Fortress, 1995).
Monday, November 14, 4:30-6:30 pm, Swift 200
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 Richard Miller to consider the pedagogy of using practical cases to augment appreciation of otherwise theoretical or conceptual material. In the field of religious ethics, for instance: although it is sometimes stated that knowing moral theory is sufficient for resolving ethical questions that arise in practical experience and that the knowledge of cases adds little to moral knowledge, this theoretical priority is challenged by realities that seem not to be satisfied or exhausted by the interpretations we give of them. We will put these issues to the test through a discussion of historical cases and patterns of practical reasoning that, in participants’ respective fields, might be used to interrogate or enhance theoretical frameworks.
Prior to attending this workshop, participants are asked to select a historical or contemporary case that they might consider using in their classes, whether as a primary ‘text’ or as an example for testing or troubling other material (for example, a news story detailing a development in genetic engineering, or an example of sectarian violence over a shared sacred site). Please send a description of your case and the kind of class in which you would consider using it to the CoT Coordinators at email@example.com (by Friday, November 11), and come to the workshop prepared to introduce your case to the group and discuss your preliminary insights.
Wednesday, November 30, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Martin Marty Center
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 Autumn’s microteaching workshop focuses the pedagogy of dialogue and the skills (part logical and part improvisational) required to cultivate student learning through the posing and sequencing of questions. Sometimes associated with “Socratic method,” the cluster of techniques we will practice is dedicated to drawing out what students already know, examining entailments of the positions they may hold more or less critically, and connecting these with the material at hand. Each participant will lead a ten-minute discussion on pre-selected material, aiming to teach through interrogation rather than assertion.
The workshop will be facilitated by Richard Rosengarten, Dean and Associate Professor of Religion and Literature; and Aaron Hollander, Craft of Teaching Program Coordinator. Participation is strictly limited and advanced registration is required. If you are interested in being involved in this workshop, email the coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to receive further information.
Thursday, April 7th, 10:30 am - 2:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Many Divinity School students gain their first pedagogical training while working as Teaching Assistants (TAs) in the large, graduate-level introductory courses offered by the Divinity School. Combining perspectives from faculty members and experienced TAs, this two-part program will provide Divinity students with insight into this experience, exploring what it means to be an effective teaching assistant and what new TAs can expect to encounter in their first experiences in front of a classroom.
For the morning session, we have invited three faculty members who employ TAs in their introductory courses in the Divinity School for a panel discussion. Professors Simeon Chavel (Introduction to the Hebrew Bible), Sarah Hammerschlag (Introduction to the Study of Religion), and Willemien Otten (History of Christian Thought) will discuss their general expectations for their TAs, their views on the application process, and how they utilize TAs in their courses.
The afternoon session will be all about practice. A group of experienced TAs will run mini Microteaching sessions in which participants will be broken into small groups and be asked to lead five minutes of a mock discussion section on J. Z. Smith’s famous article “Religion, Religions, Religious” (download it here). They will then receive detailed feedback on their teaching strategy and performance from the experienced TAs and the other participants in their “section.”
There will be a lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions and the CoT will provide box lunches for participants. Please RSVP to email@example.com with your meal preference (meat/vegetarian/vegan) by Monday, April 4th if you would like a lunch. As always, tea and coffee will be provided.
Syllabus Workshop: Global Christianities (with the Global Christianities Workshop) [Arts of Teaching]
Thursday, April 14th, 12:00-1:30 pm, Martin Marty Center Library
In recent years, religion departments have increasingly sought faculty to teach courses on “Global Christianities,” yet there is no clearly established canon or structure for such a course. Instructors have many choices to make and questions to ask in their particular teaching contexts: How should one organize such a course -- thematically, regionally, etc? What kinds of material should be included and omitted? What does one hope students will gain from such a course by contrast with other courses on religion at the introductory level, on the one hand, or more advanced topics in the study of Christianity, on the other? What is at stake in the title: Global vs. World? Christianity vs. Christianities?
This workshop, led by Divinity School alum Garry Sparks (PhD, 2011), will consider the practical challenges of teaching classes on Global Christianities (or analogous formulations) in various different institutional settings. Participants will also have the opportunity to workshop draft syllabi of their own. If you would like to have a syllabus (or a segment thereof) workshopped, please email it in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, participants should simply bring a draft course description and a list of potential readings you might use for such a class of your own design. Samples of syllabi from Prof. Sparks, of relevance to the workshop, are available here and here.
Co-sponsored by the Global Christianities Workshop. Lunch will be provided.
Garry Sparks, Assistant Professor at George Mason University, received his Ph.D. in Theology from the Divinity School in 2011. His research and teaching interests focus on anthropological (socio-cultural and linguistic) and ethnohistorical understandings of theological production in the Americas, particularly among indigenous peoples. His areas include histories of Christian thought, theories of religion and culture, Native American religions, and religion in Latin America. He specifically attends to the periods of first contact between Iberian mendicant missionaries and indigenous Mesoamericans as well as current religious movements like liberation theologies, “Indian” theology (teología india), Latin American Protestantisms, and the revitalization of indigenous traditionalism (such as Maya Spirituality or kojb’al). Since 1995 he has done human rights work with and conducted fieldwork and language study among the K'iche' and Kaqchikel Maya of Guatemala.
Thursday, April 21st, 12:00-1:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
The humanities, scholars and educators continue to sense, are increasingly associated on college campuses with pre-professional requirements, a warm-up act to the real task of preparing students for a range of existing and tightly specified careers. The data suggest that the curricular presence of the humanities (core courses; gen-ed requirements; concentrations or majors) is being accordingly and considerably reduced. Yet it may be suggested -- not without controversy -- that preparation in the humanities serves not only its own edifying ends but also the formation of sensibilities and skills without which the professions are severely impoverished. In light of these problems, Prof. Peter Kaufman (Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond) reinvented himself at the age of 63, leaving an R1 where he taught undergraduate courses in the history of Christianity and graduate courses in religious studies (from late antiquity to early modern Europe) to engage the issues represented in the materials included for this seminar, and to continue developing what could be called an extra-curricular avocation to promote the indispensability of the humanities to the practice of leadership in our changing society. This seminar confronts the formidable challenges facing the profession, in order to consider the role that Swift Hall graduates have the opportunity to play in stewarding the future of the humanities.
The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complimentary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP by Sunday, April 17 to email@example.com, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.Peter Iver Kaufman (PhD, 1975) studies the political cultures of late antique, medieval, and early modern Europe and North Africa. He has written nine books and more than 40 articles on authority, religious conflict, and literary history, which have appeared in, among other journals, Leadership and the Humanities, Journal of Late Antiquity, Harvard Theological Review, Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, and Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He is editor-in-chief of Religions and editor of a series of monographs on the religion around iconic figures from Dante and Dürer to Virginia Woolf, Billie Holiday, and Bob Dylan. He has also edited five books, ranging from studies of charisma to others on leadership and Elizabethan culture.
Friday, May 6, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
One of the most difficult, yet most important, tasks for the scholar of religion is thinking about how to teach the college-level introductory course in Religious Studies. How should you teach it -- as a "World Religions" class? A "Theory and Methods" class? What should you teach, given that most of us don't specialize in all religions, everywhere? At this full-day colloquium, five members of the Divinity School faculty will facilitate a richly-textured conversation on the introductory course in all its complexity, taking as a starting point the notion that the academic study of religion should begin with its sources, broadly construed. Each faculty member has chosen a particular source that he or she thinks will work well in an introduction to Religion Studies, and these will be available as a pre-circulated packet, available below. On the day of the colloquium, each faculty member will introduce their source, then conversation will be opened to all for a discussion of its challenges and possibilities.
The full schedule for the colloquium is below. The packet of materials that our faculty will be using in their presentations is available for download here (please bring your copy with you to the colloquium so we need not print too many!).
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Introduction--with breakfast & coffee
9:15-:10:00 Karin Krause: A painted box containing relics from Palestine
10:15-11:00 Dwight Hopkins: “Pedagogy For Being Human in Global Comparison”
11:15-12:00 Sarah Fredericks: Ninian Smart, “The Nature of Religion”
12:00-1:00 Lunch--included for attendees!
1:30-2:15 Jeffrey Jay: Letter of Paul to Philemon
2:30-3:15 Angie Heo: "Praise to the Libya Martyrs," assorted media
Participants are encouraged to attend for as much of the colloquium as they are able, but are certainly invited to attend fewer sessions, as befits their schedules!
Thursday, May 19 - Friday, May 20, Ida Noyes Third Floor Theater
Does liberal education need saving? Some would consider an affirmative reply obvious. Under pressure from academic professionalization, corporatized universities, and a society obsessed with practical outcomes, liberal education must be championed anew or risk disappearing. Others argue that liberal education is at best a luxury that our society can no longer afford, at worst an elitist agent that reinforces social inequalities. To such minds, shifts away from liberal education are no reason to lament. And then there are those who dismiss the prophets of doom, arguing that liberal education remains alive and well on college campuses today.
This conference -- of which the Craft of Teaching program is one of several co-sponsors -- brings together historians, theorists, administrators, and educators to discuss the meaning of liberal education, the roles it has played through history, and its purposes and prospects for the future. Questions that the conference will explore include: What does liberal education aim to accomplish and why is it good? How has liberal education been understood at different times and in different societies (including outside the West), and what kinds of positions has it inhabited in relation to more utilitarian conceptions of education? Should everyone (in a democratic society) receive a liberal education? How have rising college costs produced changes in liberal education? What differentiates liberal education, general education, higher education, and the humanities—and what is at stake in clarifying these differences? With the increased professionalization of academic disciplines, are graduate students properly prepared to provide their students with a liberal education and to what extent is this a priority among faculty? How have changes in university administration and increased competition for prestige affected liberal education? What role should new technologies play in liberal education? What practical steps can and should be taken?
The conference will take place at the University of Chicago on May 19-20, 2016. On Thursday evening, May 19, Martha Nussbaum and Talbot Brewer will deliver keynote addresses that will lay out some central themes and questions. Friday, May 20 will feature four panel discussions, each with four panelists. Panelists will set out positions in brief opening remarks of 10 minutes each, to be followed by a moderated discussion between the panelists and with the audience. In this way, we aim to create a conversation in which many voices are heard and in which multiple perspectives are represented.
Tuesday, May 24, 12:00-2:00 pm, Swift 200
The range of resources and strategies with which we might engage in the teaching and learning of “religion” is virtually endless, shifting 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 Prof. Alireza Doostdar to consider the pedagogy of assigning ethnography -- the study and representation of observable human practices in particular sites or communities. Discussing published ethnographic texts (and other media) or crafting ethnographic assignments can bring "religion" to light in a way that would be impossible if we were to restrict ourselves to the textual artifacts (theological, legal, literary, and so on) produced within religious traditions. But what kinds of inquiry can ethnographic research inform? How do we draw on such research (whether published or practiced) more effectively for a range of classroom goals?
Prior to attending this workshop, participants are asked to complete the following short exercise of the skills we will be cultivating: (1) Select a site where you think “religion” is going on. (2) Spend a couple of hours at your selected site, observing the activities taking place and the people carrying them out. (3) Consider the following questions in relation to your site, and come to the workshop prepared to discuss your preliminary insights.
1- Space: How is space organized at your site? In what ways are specific spatial relationships produced in practice? What makes this space "religious"? Can you identify practices and processes by which space is "produced" as religious?
2- Power: What kinds of hierarchies can you identify at your site? How are these hierarchies produced? Who authorizes what goes on at your site? How? In what ways (practical, processual) does power get perpetuated or challenged?
3- Texts: Is what goes on at your site in any way related to something written down and viewed as authoritative? What is this relationship? If your site is produced through specific practices (like those you identified in response to 1 and 2), what is the role of the act of "writing" in relation to these practices? Where does this writing occur? Do you have to study a different site altogether to understand it?
4- Reflexivity: What is your role at this site? How does your presence affect what is going on? How does your identity and your relationship with the participants affect what you see and what you don't see?
(Participants are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance with a one-sentence description of the site they have selected for consideration. Conversation partners who have not had the time to complete the exercise are also welcome to attend -- please still have a site in mind where ethographic inquiry of relevance to your work might take place.)
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.
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).
Tuesday, January 12, 4:00-6:00 pm, Swift 106
Teaching confidently and creatively is not merely a matter of knowing the material and designing the course effectively. Your persona -- who you will be and how you will present yourself in the classroom -- is itself part of the pedagogical process. In this workshop, Seth Patterson (MFA, MDiv) and Prof. Sarah Hammerschlag (Assistant Professor of Religion & Literature) will lead a conversation and series of exercises to help participants refine and manifest the version of themselves that they want to be in the classroom. What do teaching authority and pedagogical virtuosity look like -- not in the abstract, but as our particular selves with our particular strengths, commitments, and educational objectives?
This workshop is capped in the number of participants that will engage in the exercises (and receive Arts of Teaching credit), though it remains open to any number of attendees / conversation partners. If you would like to be a participant, please email the Coordinators at email@example.com no later than Sunday, January 10. All that is required of participants is to come to the workshop ready with approximately five minutes of material from your field that you know well and can discuss comfortably. Note that this exercise is not about the content--your content will not be critiqued, so don’t overthink it!
Friday, January 29, 10:30-12:00 ; 1:00-2:30, Swift 106
Inextricable from the learning dynamics of a class are the interpersonal dynamics of a classroom: there is no such thing as a pedagogical setting exclusive of the people who take part in it, in all their complexity. In this two-part workshop with nationally-acclaimed teaching & learning expert Michele DiPietro (Kennessaw State University), we will explore the multifaceted question of identity as it pertains to classroom climate. Much of the public conversation around identity issues in recent years has focused on managing the sensitivities that arise when aspects of identity are exposed or threatened; this conversation will take a different approach, seeking to understand in a more nuanced way what identity is or might be, how it develops, how it is expressed or suppressed, as a normal dimension of human beings interacting with one another.
In Session 1: Identity Matters (10:30-12:00), Dr. DiPietro and Dr. William Rando (Chicago Center for Teaching) will facilitate a deeper understanding of identity dynamics as they affect teachers and students alike: filtering perception and expression, taking on greater or lesser significance in different groups, and intersecting with relations of power in the classroom. In this light, in Session 2: Faultlines & Strategies (1:00-2:30), will we turn to examining contemporary issues in classroom climate that can be productively related to this research on identity: the challenges that arise whether identity is articulated freely, suppressed as a compromising influence on learning, or even deliberately woven into classroom conversation. We will consider some of the evidence pertaining to stereotype threat, microaggression, and the trigger warnings debate, then discuss viable strategies for meeting these challenges carefully and creatively as educators. Coffee and other refreshments will be provided throughout. Participants are encouraged to attend both sessions but may certainly attend one or the other if this is what their schedule permits.
Michele DiPietro has served as Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University since 2010. Dr. DiPietro is a co-author of “How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching.” His scholarly interests include learning sciences, academic integrity, diversity and inclusion, the Millennial generation, statistics education, the consultation process in faculty development, and teaching in times of tragedy.
Wednesday, February 10, 9:00-10:30 am, Swift 200
The finest teachers can find their educational efforts thwarted by unmotivated students. Unquestionably, many factors in students’ lives contribute to their motivation or lack thereof, but teachers may not know about them, or be able to address them. Yet teachers are not powerless in the classroom when it comes to establishing an environment in which motivation—motivation to engage with content, with peers, and with the skills and goals of liberal education—is cultivated and continually reinforced.
In this workshop, led by Kathy Cochran, Associate Director of the University of Chicago Writing Program, we will examine the nature of specific problems around students’ motivation and consider available strategies to animate rather than enervate their commitment. Although such problems and solutions vary between disciplines and institutional contexts, we will look especially at the effects on pedagogy of language, in writing and speaking. Questions we might consider include: how might instructors use language in writing and speaking to motivate? How might students be motivated to write or speak, or through opportunities to write or speak?In advance of this workshop, participants are invited to submit to Kathy (or to bring to the session) some selection of text that you have used or might use with students to instruct, guide, assign, explain, or prompt them. (Include a sketch of the goals for the course, actual or hypothetical). For instance, you might submit a paper prompt, a syllabus (or part of it, such as a class requirement), a paper comment, feedback on a reading response, an in-class group assignment, etc.We will discuss these examples as well as your stories of particularly motivating or demotivating moments you have observed in class discussion. Please submit your example(s) by the end of the day Monday, February 8th if you can.Never fear--coffee, tea, and even some light breakfast fare will be available at the workshop!
Syllabus Workshop: Teaching Islamic Studies Across the Institutional Field (with the Islamic Studies Workshop)
Friday, February 19, 12:00-2:00 pm, Swift 106
This session is a panel discussion on syllabus design of introductory-level courses in relation to student audience: how do pedagogical approaches to the same material shift in relation to institutional contexts? Lauren Osborne, Mun'im Sirry, and Jawad Qureshi, all doctoral graduates or candidates of the Islamic Studies program at the Divinity School, will share representative syllabi and discuss teaching strategies based on their experiences with graduate and undergraduate students in research universities, religiously affiliated institutions, and liberal arts colleges. See attached for a diverse selection of Islamic Studies syllabi from our panelists--and please bring along your own, in hard copy or in your brain, to contribute to the conversation!
Mun'im Sirry is Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He earned his PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School (2012). His writings include Scriptural Polemics: the Qur’ān and Other Religions (Oxford, 2014).
Lauren E. Osborne completed her PhD in the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2015 and is now Assistant Professor of Religion at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.
Jawad Anwar Qureshi is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the American Islamic College. He is a doctoral candidate in Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School.
This session is co-sponsored with the Islamic Studies Workshop. Pizza lunch will be served!
Friday, February 26, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, Swift 200
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 19 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.
Biblical Studies Expertise and the Generalist Classroom (with the Early Christian Studies and Hebrew Bible Workshops)
Friday, March 4, 10:00-11:15 am, Swift 200
Negotiating the relationship between one’s own pockets of expertise and the broader topography of one’s teaching is a classic problem, and a potential opportunity, across academia. In this informal conversation, Winter Dean’s Seminar invitee Meira Kensky (PhD 2009; Associate Professor of Religion, Coe College) will lead a conversation on strategies for putting Biblical Studies expertise to productive and creative use in more generalist teaching contexts, such as introduction to religion or comparative religions courses.
Breakfast and coffee will be provided! This session is co-sponsored with the Early Christian Studies Workshop and the Hebrew Bible Workshop.
Friday, March 4, 12:00-2:00 pm, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall
"Building the Religion Major in the Era of the 'Death of the Humanities'"This seminar will discuss the challenges of attracting students to the Religion Major in the contemporary climate. As students are inundated with talk of career preparation and are told over and over again that humanities majors only get jobs at coffee shops, departments worry about declining enrollments, consolidation, and justifying their programs to administrators, trustees, and even their faculty colleagues. Prof. Meira Kensky (PhD 2009; Associate Professor of Religion, Coe College) will talk about some of the strategies her department has employed in building a rigorous and flexible curriculum, recruiting and developing talented students, and acting as ambassadors to the college community at large for both the study of Religion and the Humanities in general.The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complimentary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP by 12 pm Wednesday, March 2 to email@example.com, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.Meira Z. Kensky is currently the Joseph E. McCabe Associate Professor of Religion. Kensky received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Biblical Studies (New Testament) from the University of Chicago. Her first book, Trying Man, Trying God: The Divine Courtroom in Early Jewish and Christian Literature, was published by Mohr Siebeck in 2010, and was the inspiration for a conference on "The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective" at Cordozo School of Law in New York. Currently, she is working on her second book for Mohr Siebeck, an examination of the figure of Timothy in Early Christian literature. Recent publications include articles on Romans 9-11, Tertullian of Carthage's Apologeticum, and the figure of Timothy in the Pauline and post-Pauline epistles. Kensky has lectured widely around the Chicago and Cedar Rapids areas, and gave the 29th Annual Stone Lectureship in Judaism at Augustana College, IL, last May. She was the recipient of Coe College's C. J. Lynch Outstanding Teacher Award in 2013.
Teaching@Chicago Conference (formerly the Workshop on Teaching in the College)
September 24 - 25, 9 am - 5 pm
The Chicago Center for Teaching's orientation for graduate lecturers and course assistants, formerly known as the Workshop on Teaching in the College, has been renamed the Teaching@Chicago Conference. This year’s program will take place on Thursday, September 24th and Friday, September 25th, and each day will be devoted to a specific group: Thursday to Teaching Assistants and Friday for College Instructors. This program is open to graduate students across all of the divisions who are preparing to teach either in the College or at another University, in the near future or as preparation for a career in academe. This workshop features individual sessions on an array of topics including:
Undergraduate Perspectives on What Makes a Good Teacher
Effective Grading Strategies
Key Challenges in Teaching
Teaching Your Own Course
How to Plan for Conceptual Learning
The Roles and Duties of the Course Assistant
Friday, October 9, 12:00-2:00, Swift Third Floor Lecture Hall
Scientific research, as well as our common experience, indicates that how we communicate often has a much greater impact on audiences than the content of our message. The skills of public communication are therefore of vital importance to the work of future teachers and scholars. This interactive workshop will present the fundamental concepts of public speaking and provide practical advice for using our body and voice to communicate information more effectively and to connect with audiences. Led by Seth Patterson, MFA/MDiv, a professional theater artist and Divinity School alum who has worked with individuals and groups at the Divinity School, Booth School, Social Sciences Division, and GSA. Participation in this workshop is strongly recommended for students in any area pursuing Craft of Teaching Certification. Coffee and tea will be provided, but feel free to bring your own lunch.
Friday, October 23, 12:00-2:00, Swift 106
For early-career and established faculty alike, a course in "World Religions" or the like can present a substantial pedagogical challenge. Often an inherited course rotating between faculty members, "World Religions" risks becoming a professor's nightmare: it presents to students an opportunity for global exposure to religious ideas, practices, and problems, seeming to be an all-in-one package; yet for the teacher, such a demand for coverage can seem to necessitate either a superhuman level of mastery or a subpar level of depth. Such a course, therefore, requires a different kind of pedagogical hand and a number of tough choices. At this panel workshop, area faculty with experience in the challenges of teaching "World Religions" (and analogous formulations) will help to bring clarity, flexibility, and confidence to a staple course in much of the field of religious studies.
Dov Weiss, Assistant Professor of Religion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Catherine Benton, Associate Professor of Religion & Asian Studies, Lake Forest College
James Halstead, Associate Professor of Religion, DePaul University
**A collection of relevant syllabi from our panelists is available here. There will be some copies available at the workshop, but to save paper, we recommend downloading in advance.**
Dov Weiss is currently an Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed his PhD at the University of Chicago Divinity School as a Martin Meyer Fellow in 2011 and was the Alan M. Stroock Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies in 2012.
Catherine Benton has taught courses in Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese religious traditions, and Islam at Lake Forest College, where she has chaired programs in Islamic World Studies, Asian Studies, and Religion. She has worked in India over the last thirty years studying religious rituals in communities in Maharashtra, directing study abroad programs, and, earlier in her career, working as a field officer for UNICEF in south India.
James Halstead, OSA, has taught “Religious Worlds in Comparative Perspective” in the liberals studies program and “Religious Worlds and Ethical Perspectives” in DePaul’s Honors Program for 28 years. For twelve of those years he was also chair of the Department for Religious Studies, observing others teach the introductory course in religion.
Friday, November 6, 12:00-2:00, Swift Hall Common Room
Trina Janiec Jones (Wofford College) had her dissertation colloquium in Swift Hall on September 12th, 2001. The events of the previous day not only impacted her colloquium, but eventually, also took her teaching career and scholarly interests in directions she never imagined while sitting in Regenstein working her way through Sanskrit declensions. Trained in Buddhist philosophy at the Divinity School, she soon found that every job for which she interviewed required that she create a course on Islam. Since her graduation from the Divinity School, she has taught at two liberal arts colleges, teaching courses that have required her to become more of a generalist than she anticipated. This seminar will focus on an undergraduate course on interfaith engagement and religious pluralism that she recently co-taught, and will use its syllabus as an entry point into broader questions related to the role of the teacher in the undergraduate religious studies classroom. How, for example, does one negotiate students’ desires to explore “religion” or “spirituality” with one’s own pedagogical desire to foster an atmosphere of academic rigor and critical thinking? What, ultimately, should the goals of an undergraduate religious studies course be?
In advance of the workshop, please review Prof. Jones’ syllabus and her rubric for pluralism and worldview engagement (developed with the Interfaith Youth Core). Also recommended is this selection from Teaching and Learning in College Introductory Courses, by Barbara Walvoord, discussing learning goals in relation to Prof. Jones' own classes. For those who are interested, Kwok Pui-lan's 2011 Presidential Address at the American Academy of Religion will be relevant to the seminar.
The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complimentary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP by Friday, October 30 to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.
Katherine (Trina) Janiec Jones (AM, 1993; PhD, Philosophy of Religions, 2002) is an Associate Professor of Religion at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where she also serves as the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Co-Curriculum. She has won several teaching awards, served on a leadership team at the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion (for a workshop for Pre-Tenure Religion Faculty and Colleges and Universities), and has consulted at several schools seeking to examine their introductory religious studies curricula (also through the Wabash Center). She was a recipient of an American Academy of Religion/Luce Foundation Fellowship in Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology and participated in a Seminar in Teaching Interfaith Understanding, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Interfaith Youth Core. She is also a co-author of a rubric focused on pluralism and worldview engagement (https://www.ifyc.org/resources/pluralism-and-worldview-engagement-rubric), the research for which was funded by the Teagle Foundation.
Thursday, November 12, 12:00-2:00, Swift Hall Common Room
Iran is well-known for its centuries-old centers of Islamic scholarship where students from all over the world learn jurisprudence, sciences of hadith transmission, Qur'anic exegesis, theology, and philosophy. It is less commonly known that academic scholarship on religion has also been burgeoning outside the direct sphere of the hawzah (seminary) system. Join us for a conversation with visiting scholars from the University of Religions and Denominations in Qom who will discuss the philosophies, methods, and approaches these different institutions have adopted - not only in the study of Islam, but more broadly in comparative scholarship on religion.
Dr. Naeimeh Pourmohammadi is Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Religions and Denominations.
Dr. Fatima Tofighi is Assistant Professor of Women and Religion at the University of Religions and Denominations.
Mahdi Salehi is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Theology and Director of International Relations and Cooperation at the University of Religions and Denominations.
Alireza Doostdar, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the
Anthropology of Religion, will moderate the discussion.
Monday, November 16, 4:30-6:00, Swift 201
The range of resources and strategies with which we might engage in the teaching and learning of “religion” is virtually endless, shifting with different construals of the field and commitments to different learning goals. In this new 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 inaugural edition of the series, Prof. Karin Krause leads the conversation on “Using Images to Teach Religion.” Through history and across civilizations, images communicate ideas, address emotions, and arouse both devotion and criticism in ways different than texts do, ways that are often overlooked or translated into textual analogues. Bringing images into the religious studies classroom can elicit valuable attention to the extra-discursive dimensions of religious imagination, communication, and commitment, while forming the basis for productive cross-cultural comparison.
Prior to attending this workshop, each participant should (1) select an image that she or he has used or would like to use in a class, (2) email it to the Coordinators at email@example.com (no later than Friday, Nov. 13), and (3) consider how they might like to use the image and what challenges might arise in doing so. During the workshop, we will have the opportunity to discuss as a group the course-design and pedagogical choices appropriate to the images that participants have selected. If you also have syllabi of your own design or from classes you yourselves have taken, feel free to bring them to augment the course-design conversation.
Tuesday, December 1, 12:00-1:30, Martin Marty Center Library
The Philosophy of Teaching Statement is a document that communicates the goals and values that animate one's teaching. Writing a teaching statement is an extremely valuable exercise in pedagogical self-reflection, and such statements are a standard component of applications in the higher education job market. This workshop will introduce participants to the genre, examine sample documents, and start participants on their way to composing their own statements. Led by Bill Rando, Director of the Chicago Center for Teaching. Prior to the workshop, please take a look at this helpful article by Mary Anne Lewis to get a sense of the process for writing a Philosophy of Teaching Statement. Note that a completed Philosophy of Teaching Statement is a capstone requirement for Certification in the Craft of Teaching. This workshop is not itself a requirement, but will be very helpful in completing the statement.
Why They Don't Get It: Implications for Our Teaching from the Intellectual and Ethical Development of College Students (with the Chicago Center for Teaching)
Tuesday, March 31, 9:30 am -12:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Led by Craig Nelson (Indiana University). Most of us who teach undergraduates aim to foster our students' capacities to think through complex problems and to make informed judgments in full awareness of ambiguity and complexity. But this sort of deep learning that we long to see is strongly constrained by our students' cognitive development and implicit assumptions about learning. While this has been a consistent finding of over 40 years of research, beginning with William Perry’s seminal work with Harvard undergraduates, we typically design our courses with little attention to the developmental capacities of our students. In this workshop, we will examine students' typical epistemological assumptions as well as concrete strategies for designing assignments that foster deeper change in our students. We will also suggest ways in which our success in this effort facilitates students' subsequent success in graduate and professional school and in other contexts. While relevant across the curriculum, this workshop will be especially appealing to those who teach in values-encompassing fields, such as religion, culture, politics, and literature.
Please register for this event in advance at https://cotworkshop-whytheydontgetit.eventbrite.com. Relevant articles by Prof. Nelson are available here: "Dysfunctional Illusions of Rigor" and "Why Don't Undergraduates Really 'Get' Evolution?"
Craig Nelson is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Indiana University and a nationally recognized expert in teaching and learning. Dr. Nelson's scholarship on teaching has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and he served as the first President of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Grading's Dual Roles: Facilitation and Evaluation (with the Chicago Center for Teaching)
Tuesday, March 31, 2:00-4:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
Led by Craig Nelson (Indiana University). How can we better prepare students to do well on our assignments and exams--and to best benefit from them in terms of their own intellectual development? How can we maximize the effectiveness of students’ writing and thinking while dedicating our own limited time most strategically? In this workshop, we will examine the philosophy and technique of grading in light of this goal: fostering more substantial and meaningful achievement among students while fine-tuning our expenditure of time and effort as teachers.
Please register for this event in advance at https://cotworkshop-gradingsdualroles.eventbrite.com. Relevant articles by Prof. Nelson are available here: "Dysfunctional Illusions of Rigor" and "Why Don't Undergraduates Really 'Get' Evolution?"
Craig Nelson is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Indiana University and a nationally recognized expert in teaching and learning. Dr. Nelson's scholarship on teaching has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and he served as the first President of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
The Art of the Approach: Negotiating Hard Choices in Introductory Course Design
Monday, April 6, 4:30-6:00 pm, Swift 208
Taking seriously Jonathan Z. Smith’s much quoted line: “there is nothing that must be taught, there is nothing that cannot be left out,” this workshop with Russell McCutcheon (University of Alabama) focuses on the choices an instructor makes in designing and teaching an introductory course in the academic study of religion. Because such courses serve broad curricular needs (often comprising a General Education or Core Curriculum credit) while also recruiting majors for Departments of Religious Studies, the students taking such course, and their interest in/prior exposure to the material, can vary widely. So the choices the instructor makes—what to include and what to leave out—must take into account such a variety of concerns as to sometimes make designing and teaching such courses surprisingly difficult.
This workshop provides an opportunity to think more widely about the intellectual tools that can be used in such courses, so long as the instructor can clearly distinguish a delimited set of skills (e.g., description, interpretation, comparison, explanation) from the innumerable human situations where their scholarly use can be exemplified. For if Smith is correct that the liberal arts and/or the Humanities are concerned with “developing the students’ capacities for reading, writing, and speaking—put another way, for interpreting and arguing,” then teaching skills, used in precise situations, to make sense of human doings, likely ought to be the aim of such courses.
The workshop presumes that attendees have read Smith’s essay, “The Introductory Course: Less is Better” (available here). Please also review Prof. McCutcheon's latest introductory syllabus, and read as much as you are able of Prof. McCutcheon’s concise book Studying Religion: An Introduction, this being an example of one way to approach the challenge of an introductory course that is about more than memorizing names and dates. ***The first 25 people to RSVP for this event (at firstname.lastname@example.org) will receive a complimentary copy of Studying Religion*** (Of course, please do not register for a book unless you are committed to attending.)
Russell McCutcheon is Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama; his interests have long revolved around the practical implications of classification systems. He has written or edited a variety of books in the study of religion, often focused on methodology and theory, and frequently blogs at his Department’s site or at the blog for Culture on the Edge, a research collaborative of which he is a member.
Teaching Religious Pasts: Making Historical Studies Transformational and Motivational (with the Theology & Religious Ethics Workshop)
Monday, April 13, 4:00-5:30 pm, Swift 208
One of the challenges facing undergraduate teachers of the history and theologies of Christianity is how to interest students in what is to them ancient—and not very relevant—history and thought. Their disinterest in the past is only one aspect of a broader cultural attitude that sees little value in the study of the humanities. Amy Nelson Burnett (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) will discuss how she has used recent scholarship on teaching and learning (known as SoTL) to change the ways she teaches Christian history and thought more generally, and the courses on Reformation in particular, in the context of a large public University. In the course of the session, we will identify pedagogical practices encouraging the development of intellectual skills and bringing about a transformative understanding of religious past, so that students can see that the study of histories is both practical and relevant. This workshop is co-hosted with the Theology & Religious Ethics Workshop. Please contact Ekaterina Lomperis (email@example.com) for more information.
Professor Amy Nelson Burnett is the Paula and D.B. Varner University Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an R1 public institution of higher learning. She has authored several major monographs including Karlstadt and the Origins of the Eucharistic Controversy (Oxford, 2011) and the award-winning Teaching the Reformation: Ministers and their Message in Basel, 1529-1629 (Oxford, 2006). She is also a co-author of two volumes on pedagogy, Inquiry into the College Classroom: A Journey Towards Scholarly Teaching (Anker Publishing, 2007) and Making Teaching and Learning Visible: Course Portfolios and the Peer Review of Teaching (Anker Publishing, 2006).
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
This pedagogy seminar will focus on a graduate course on the theory of comparison: "The Very Idea of Comparing Religions." Dean Laurie Patton (Duke University, incoming President of Middlebury College) will lead 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. Dean Patton’s presentation will address effects of such pedagogical methods, the merits and limits of using the same case study throughout the course, how to enable students’ sustained engagement with such case studies to become more textured as the course proceeds, and how the particular design of this class fosters a specific kind of intellectual community.
Dean Patton's syllabus can be accessed in advance here.
The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complimentary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP by Friday, April 17 to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.
Laurie L. Patton (PhD, History of Religions, 1991) is incoming President of Middlebury College. She is currently the Dean of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion, and Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. She is the Divinity School’s 2015 Alum of the Year.
Beyond Polarization: Professor Martin Marty on Strategies for Public Engagement
Monday, April 27, 4:00-5:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
In collaboration with the Marty Center, the Craft of Teaching is pleased to present a special workshop with Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity. Reflecting on a lifetime of public engagement, Prof. Marty will discuss concrete strategies for communicating with broader audiences and for enhancing public discourse as scholars of religion. In advance of this workshop, please read Robert Kelly's article, "Public Theology and the Modern Social Imaginary." Also available, for optional advance reading, are selections of Prof. Marty’s published writing on the challenges of public conversation about religion, illustrating exemplary public engagement. The first selection includes the chapters “Argument, Conversation, and Story,” and “Tools for Moving from Argument to Conversation.” The second selection includes “Handle with Care” and “Worth the Risk.”
Please remain after the workshop for a celebratory reception hosted by the Craft of Teaching Program and the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion!
Introducing Religion: A Swift Hall Colloquium
Friday, May 1, 9 am - 5 pm, Swift Hall Common Room
One of the most difficult, yet most important, tasks for the scholar of religion is thinking about how to teach the college-level introductory course in Religious Studies. How should you teach it -- as a "World Religions" class? A "Theory and Methods" class? What should you teach, given that most of us don't specialize in all religions, everywhere? At this full-day colloquium, seven members of the Divinity School faculty will facilitate a richly-textured conversation on the introductory course in all its complexity, taking as a starting point the notion that the academic study of religion should begin with its sources, broadly construed. Each faculty member has chosen a particular source that he or she thinks will work well in an introduction to Religion Studies, and these will be available as a pre-circulated packet, available below. On the day of the workshop, each faculty member will introduce their source, then conversation will be opened to all for a discussion of its challenges and possibilities.
Schedule for the day's Colloquium is below. Packet of materials (please obtain your own copy) is available here:
8:45-9:00 First access to breakfast & coffee!
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Introduction
9:15-10:00 Margaret Mitchell on the Abercius Inscription
10:15-11:00 Wendy Doniger on Hindu cosmogonic, devotional, and political texts
11:15-12:00 Richard Rosengarten on George Herbert, "Love (III)"
1:30-2:15 Jaś Elsner on the C6 Beth Alpha Synagogue floor mosaic
2:15-3:00 Dan Arnold on "The Emptiness of Emptiness"
3:15-4:00 Kevin Hector on Ernst Troeltsch, "The Absoluteness of Christianity and the History of Religions"
4:00-4:45 Sarah Hammerschlag on Franz Kafka, "Before the Law"
All interested members of the Swift Hall community are welcome to attend and participate in this very special gathering. Please plan to come for part even if you are not available to attend for the whole day. Register to email@example.com by April 24th to note lunch preference (meat, vegetarian, vegan).
Experiential and Service Learning: The Pedagogy of Community Engagement [Arts of Teaching]
Monday, May 4, 12:00-1:30 pm, Swift 106 (note change in time & location)
Led by Joe Blosser (High Point University) the intention of this workshop is to illustrate the power of community engaged pedagogies — often called “service learning” — to increase student engagement and learning. It will draw on the experiences of participants to help them develop potential service learning courses in their respective fields. We will look at example syllabi, examine case studies, and brainstorm new ways to connect theory to practice by engaging students in promoting the common good of their larger communities.
In advance of this workshop, participants should read the packet of readings available here (two pieces expected, two optional) and mentally prepare a short statement, as if for a job interview, addressing how the classes you have taught / would like to teach could be integrated with service learning principles.
Joe Blosser (PhD, Religious Ethics, 2011) is Robert G. Culp Jr. Director of Service Learning and Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy, High Point University.
Flipping the Classroom: How Online Resources Enable Pedagogical Innovation
Tuesday, May 12, 12:00-1:30, Swift 106 (note addition to schedule)
Led by Christine Hayes (Yale University). The classic frontal lecture aimed at delivering content in real time is the mainstay of many university courses. How might classroom instruction be reimagined when content is delivered through online lectures in virtual time? This workshop explores the changing role of the instructor and the transformation of the classroom from lecture hall to learning laboratory in the digital age.
Participants will experience a simulated "flipped classroom" from the perspective of the students. In advance of this workshop, please watch the (50-minute) video lecture at http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145/lecture-20.
Coffee will be available; please feel free to bring lunch.
Christine Hayes is Robert F. and Patricia R. Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica. Before joining the Yale faculty in 1996, she was Assistant Professor of Hebrew Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University for three years. Her published works include several books and many articles in Vetus Testamentum, The Journal for the Study of Judaism, The Harvard Theological Review, and various scholarly anthologies. Her first book, entitled Between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds (Oxford University Press, 1997) was honored with a Salo Baron prize for a first book in Jewish thought and literature, awarded by the American Academy for Jewish Research (1999).
Teaching on the Page: Fine-Tuning Feedback on Student Writing Assignments [Arts of Teaching]
Monday, May 18, 4:30-6:00, Swift 200 (note change in location)
Led by Tracy Weiner (University of Chicago Writing Program). Teachers of the humanities and social sciences make extensive use of writing assignments to assess student learning, but many consider the assignment to be complete once it has been handed in and graded. The teaching process continues, however, in the feedback we give on writing assignments: in marginal comments, in stylistic encouragement and dissuasion, and in summary discussions of the assignment’s effectiveness in light of course goals and content. In this workshop, participants will learn and practice strategies for continuing to teach, and to teach effectively, in the process of responding to student written work.
In advance of this workshop, please complete a short exercise provided by the Writing Program (download here). The exercise involves reading, commenting on, and grading a piece of student writing from the first-year Humanities course "Human Being & Citizen."
Tracy Weiner is an Associate Director of the University of Chicago Writing Program.
Spring Microteaching Workshop: Square One [Arts of Teaching]
Friday, June 5, 9:30am-12:30pm, Swift 208
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 provides a capstone opportunity to this quarter’s running theme of the introductory course in Religious Studies. Participants will design and practice teaching the first ten minutes of an Introduction to Religion (or equivalent course) in a specific institutional context. Participants will not only practice techniques of effective delivery, but will also gain a deeper understanding of the he special problems and opportunities of providing an initial framework not only for an intro level course but also for an entire field of inquiry. What choices must be made? What potential liabilities must be accounted for? How to draw students in and set them up most effectively to approach the course as you will curate it?
The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Sarah Hammerschlag, Assistant Professor of Religion and Literature, also in the College; and Aaron Hollander, Craft of Teaching Program Coordinator. Participation is strictly limited and advanced registration is required.
How to Choose a Textbook, or, Why I Wrote My Own
Monday, January 12 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 200
Led by Dale Walker (PhD, 1998), Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the Divinity School and author of a recent book for use in introductory courses on the New Testament (Beyond the Obvious: Doorways to Understanding the New Testament [Anselm Academic, 2014]). Dr. Walker's "textbook" takes a different approach from most others, seeking to be briefer, topical, and synthetic, as opposed to exhaustive, book-by-book, and atomizing. Its aim is to orient readers to biblical criticism rather than walk them through every issue, and it prioritizes the preparation of students for productive discussion in class. This approach incorporates recent research on student learning and on making knowledge sticky. In preparation, participants are asked to read in advance the packet of materials available here.
Dr. Walker completed his dissertation on 2 Corinthians 10—13 under the direction of Prof. Hans Dieter Betz. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at a number of institutions throughout Chicago and at the University of Wyoming. Co-sponsored by the Early Christian Studies Workshop.
Student Mental Health and Today's College Teaching
Thursday, Jan 15 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 alarming trend? What are mental health practitioners observing, and what advice do they have for new college teachers? Join Dr. Michael Pietrus, psychologist at the University of Chicago's Student Counseling Service and its Divinity School liaison, for a discussion on the state of mental health on today's college campuses and its practical implications for classroom instruction and course design. Coffee and tea will be provided. Please feel free to bring a lunch. A packet of advance reading is available here.
Designing Assessments That Cultivate Rigorous Creativity (Arts of Teaching Series)
Wednesday, January 28 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 201
In this Arts of Teaching sequel to “Cultivating Rigorous Creativity” (Fall 2014), participants will design and workshop a sample assessment that cultivates creative as well as critical thinking. (Participants who did not attend Mr. Maxwell's fall workshop should view it in our multimedia library in advance.) In preparation for this workshop, all participants will read and annotate a text of their own choosing and then design a prompt, model, and rubric for an assignment on the chosen text. During the workshop, participants will examine the assignments to determine their effectiveness. Each participant will leave the workshop with a polished assessment that demands rigorous creative thinking. A reading packet, including a full description with samples of the required assignment (to be completed in advance of the workshop), is available here.
Led by Mark Maxwell, English and Fine Arts, Rolling Meadows High School. Mr. Maxwell is the author of the novel Nixoncarver (St. Martin's Press) and several short stories, and many of his students have gone on to publish their own creative writing.
Curricula and Criticism in Religious Studies: Notes from the Institutional Field
Friday, February 6, from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM in Swift 208
Led by Professor Brian Britt (MA 1987, PhD, Religion and Literature, 1992), Chair of the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech. Professor Britt will discuss some key elements of Religious Studies curricula and departments, with a focus on the challenging transition from graduate student teacher to faculty member. The workshop is intended to help participants understand and articulate how their teaching fits into wider departmental and institutional contours, and to develop language and tools for negotiating disciplinary (and interdisciplinary) expectations in the field of Religious Studies. Co-sponsored with the Religion and Literature Club.
Pre-Workshop Exercise: Participants are asked to choose a department at an institution they imagine themselves wanting to join and read what's on the web about mission statement, curriculum, and larger institutional context. On the basis of this research, they should then "write themselves into" the department with a three-year teaching schedule and sketch of committee/service assignments. They should choose an institition they don't know first hand. In the session we'll discuss this exercise with an emphasis on the perspective of the candidate and newly-hired colleague.
Dean's Winter Craft of Teaching Seminar with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp
Thursday, February 12 from 12:00-2:00 PM in the Swift Common Room
Led 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.
In addition to her service as chancellor and president, Chancellor Chopp has served as Dean of the Yale Divinity School and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Emory University. She is the author or editor of numerous books, including Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts (Johns Hopkins, 2013), Differing Horizons: Feminist Theory and Theology (Fortress, 1997), and Saving Work: Feminist Practices of Theological Education (Westminster, 1995). She has held several national leadership positions, including as a member of the governing board of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and as president of the American Academy of Religion.
The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complementary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.
Teaching the Undergraduate Research Paper (Arts of Teaching Series)
Monday, February 16 from 12:00-1:30 PM in Swift 201
Teaching the research paper begins with understanding the tacit skills and knowledge needed for novice learners to move from passive reading to active engagement with sources. The difficulty for the instructor rests in being able to identify and then teach these to students of varying interests and abilities. Anne Knafl (PhD, Bible, 2011), Bibliographer for Religion and Philosophy, and David Frankel, PhD student in History of Judaism and Library Intern, will discuss strategies for teaching the research paper, drawing on their experience collecting, evaluating and teaching scholarly materials at the Regenstein Library. This workshop will address not only the how but the why of assigning research: Why should students write research papers? Do they know? Do you know?
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 (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshop on Teaching in the College (Chicago Center for Teaching)
A two-day program of the Chicago Center for Teaching open to graduate students in all divisions and featuring sessions on a variety of pedagogy topics. See the CCT website for additional information. Note: Attendance at the CCT's Workshop on Teaching and completion of a workshop journal is a required component of the Divinity School's Craft of Teaching Certificate. Please refer to the Craft of Teaching program requirements.
Workshop on Public Speaking (Arts of Teaching Series)
Thursday, October 2 from 12-1:30 PM in the Swift 3rd Floor Lecture Hall
Scientific research, as well as our common experience, indicates that how we communicate often has a much greater impact on audiences than the content of our message. The skills of public communication are therefore of vital importance to the work of future teachers and scholars. This interactive workshop will present the fundamental concepts of public speaking and provide practical advice for using our body and voice to communicate information more effectively and to connect with audiences. Led by Seth Patterson, MFA, a professional theater artist and current M.Div. student who has worked with individuals and groups at the Divinity School, Booth School, Social Sciences Division, and GSA. Attendance at this workshop is a prerequisite for participation in the Fall Microteaching Workshop on lecturing. Coffee and tea will be provided, but feel free to bring your own lunch.
Cultivating Rigorous Creativity in Your Students
Wednesday, October 15 from 4:00 - 5:30 PM in Swift 201
Too often in academia we think of creativity as a frivolous thing, but there is nothing frivolous about it. It is a rigorous intellectual process of synthesis that goes beyond critical thinking and analysis. Participants will be encouraged to design assessments that demand rigorous creative thinking from their students. Featuring Mark Maxwell, English and Fine Arts, Rolling Meadows High School. Mr. Maxwell is the author of the novel Nixoncarver (St. Martin's Press) and several short stories, and many of his students have gone on to publish their own creative writing. Presented by Kevin Hector, Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Religions.
Advanced viewing recommended by Mr. Maxwell:
Dean's Fall Craft of Teaching Seminar with Joanne Maguire Robinson ("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.
The quarterly Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context. Complementary lunch is provided at all Dean's Seminars for the first 25 RSVPs. Please RSVP at any time to email@example.com, indicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.
Please read the following material in preparation for the seminar:
Teaching with Fiction
Monday, November 3 from 12:00-1:30 PM in Swift 201
Fiction can be an invaluable classroom resource even for those whose specialty is not Religion and Literature. Lucy Pick, Senior Lecturer in the Divinity School, Director of the Religious Studies major, and author of the novel Pilgrimage , and Noah Toly, Associate Professor of Politics & International Relations at Wheaton College and former Senior Fellow at the Marty Center (2012-2013), will discuss why and how to use fiction in the religious studies classroom.
A packet of advanced reading is available for download here. (Note: McCann's "All Respect to Heaven, I like it Here " is highly recommended but optional.)
Divinity School Philosophy of Teaching Statement Workshop (Arts of Teaching Series)
Thursday, November 13 from 9-10:30 AM in the Marty Center Library (Swift Hall, 2nd Floor)
The Philosophy of Teaching Statement is a document that communicates the goals and values that animate one's teaching. Writing a teaching statement is an extremely valuable exercise in pedagogical self-reflection, and such statements are a standard component of applications in the higher education job market. This workshop will introduce participants to the genre, examine sample documents, and start participants on their way to composing their own statements. Led by Elizabeth Chandler, founding Director and current Senior Associate Director of the Chicago Center for Teaching.
Fall Microteaching Workshop: The Large Lecture (Arts of Teaching Series)
Friday, December 5 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (location TBA)
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 fall's microteaching workshop will focus on the preparation and delivery of lectures for large enrollment courses. Participants will not only practice techniques of effective delivery, but will also gain a deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the lecture format as a pedagogical strategy. Consultants will include: Dean Margaret M. Mitchell, Shailer Mathews Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Dean of the Divinity School; Seth Patterson, MFA, a professional theater artist, current M.Div. student, and experienced performance coach and workshop leader; and Brandon Cline, Craft of Teaching Program Coordinator and a senior Teaching Consultant at the University's Center for Teaching and Learning. Participation is strictly limited and advanced registration is required. You can register by emailing Brandon directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Islamic Studies in the Liberal Arts
Thursday, December 11, 12:00-1:30PM in Swift 201
The Islamic Studies Workshop presents Lauren Osborne (PhD, Islamic Studies, 2014), Assistant Professor of Religion at Whitman College. In addition to her teaching at Whitman, Prof. Osborne has taught at Carleton College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this workshop, Prof. Osborne will discuss her experiences creating and teaching Islamic Studies courses within the liberal arts disciplines as well as at liberal arts colleges. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to email@example.com. While RSVPs are not required to attend, they are appreciated to ensure enough food for all participants.
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
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. Complimentary lunch will be provided for the first 25 RSVPs.
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
Professor 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 provided. Prof. 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
Dr. 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.
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)
Assignments 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. 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
Saturday, May 31 from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Swift Hall
NOTE: REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.
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. 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.
Authority in the Classroom
Monday, January 27 from 12:00-1:30PM in Swift 208
Professor Sarah Hammerschlag, Assistant Professor of Religion and Literature at the Divinity School, will lead us in a discussion about the role of authority in the classroom, the various ways in which a teacher might construct it, and how to negotiate our role as teacher within different classrooms and academic settings. Feel free to bring a lunch. Presented by the Religion and Literature Club.
Teaching the Bible with Technology
Tuesday, January 28 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 106
This workshop will focus on teaching the Bible--its texts, languages, and history--with technology, covering a range of approaches from online resources to online teaching. Join us for presentations and discussions with two recent Bible program alumnae: Anne Knafl, Bibliographer for Religion and Philosophy at the University of Chicago Library, and Annette Huizenga, Assistant Professor of New Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Co-sponsored by the Hebrew Bible and the Early Christian Studies Workshops.
Craft of Teaching Microteaching Workshop
Friday, Feb 7 from 2:00-5:00 PM
Microteaching is organized practice teaching in a supportive, low-risk environment. Participants will prepare a 10 minute lesson plan, teach it to a small group of peers, and receive detailed feedback (including self-assessment based on video-recording) on their teaching strategy and performance. Microteaching helps teachers of all levels improve both the content and methods of teaching and practice specific teaching skills such as questioning, the use of examples and simple artifacts to make lessons more interesting, effective reinforcement techniques, and introducing and closing lessons effectively. View our Participants Guide here for more information. Consultants will include Cynthia Lindner, Director of Ministry Studies and Clinical Faculty for Preaching and Pastoral Care, and Brandon Cline, Craft of Teaching Program Coordinator and a senior Teaching Consultant at the University's Center for Teaching and Learning. Participation is strictly limited and advanced registration is required.
Divinity School Syllabus Workshop
Friday, February 21 from 12:00-3:00 PM in Swift 200
Led by Prof. 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. This workshop is required for the Craft of Teaching certificate, but participation is limited, and advanced registration is required. In the first hour, we 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. In the remaining time we will discuss the course titles and descriptions you submitted, consider 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 Tuesday, February 18th 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.
The Art of Lecturing
Tuesday, February 25 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 106
This program, featuring Prof. Hindy Najman, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, and Dean Margaret M. Mitchell, and moderated by Jonathan Soyars, PhD student in New Testament and Early Christian Literature, will explore a variety of questions around the art of lecturing. Profs. Najman and Mitchell, both seasoned lecturers, will offer reflections on their experiences lecturing in different pedagogical settings, after which we will open up the floor for group discussion. Cosponsored by the Early Christian Studies Workshop, the Hebrew Bible Workshop, and the Bible Area Club.
Helping Students Cope with Pluralism and Criticism in the Classroom
Friday, February 28th from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 201
For many students, college may be their first exposure to critical reflection on sacred and deeply formative beliefs and practices. Moreover, they may be asked to consider, with seriousness and open-ended inquiry, beliefs and interpretations that they view as dangerous or blasphemous. The experience of a pluralist community in college - one that in particular is devoted to critical engagement across boundaries of tradition and belief - can be intimidating and unsettling for some. In this session, a panel of faculty and graduate student teachers will discuss how teachers can facilitate students' acclimation to pluralism and criticism in the classroom. With examples of pitfalls and "hot moments", we will discuss how best to respond as our students cope with religious, political, and other differences in the college classroom. Panelists will include Allison Gray, PhD student in New Testament and Early Christian Literature and adjunct instructor at Dominican University,
Tim Hiller, PhD student in Theology at the University of Chicago and Martin Marty Junior Fellow, Charles Huff, PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Adam Kotsko, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Shimer College. Presented by the Theology Workshop.
Beyond Content: What Does It Mean to Think Like a Medievalist?
Friday, March 7 from 12:00-1:30pm in Wieboldt 207
Prof. Leah Shopkow, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University, is the Principal Investigator and co-Director of the pioneering History Learning Project. The History Learning Project applies the concept of Decoding the Disciplines to history pedagogy, identifying and overcoming bottlenecks to disciplinary learning. An article about the History Learning Project in the Journal of American History, co-authored by Prof. Shopkow, won the McGraw-Hill/Magna Publications Publication in Teaching and Learning Award in 2009. The principles discussed in this workshop will be readily transferable to all of the Divinity School's areas of study. Don't miss this special opportunity to learn more this important pedagogical approach! Presented by the Medieval Studies Workshop.
Dean's Winter Craft of Teaching Seminar with Prof. Contance Furey
Friday, March 14 from 12:00-2:00PM in the Swift Common Room
Led by Divinity School alumna Constance Furey (PhD, History of Christianity, 2000), Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University. Professor Furey is a two-time recipient of the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award (2004, 2009) and author of Erasmus, Contarini, and the Religious Republic of Letters (Cambridge, 2006). She is presently at work on a book project entitled, Crowded Interiors: Sacred Selves and Relationships in English Renaissance Poetry, focusing on how devotional poetry by both male and female writers in the English Renaissance re-imagined intimate relationships as sites of utopian longing and fulfillment. Prof. Furey will discuss her approaches to religious studies pedagogy, particularly in relationship to her classes "Sex and Gender in the Reformation" and "Reformation: Body and the Word". Syllabi for these courses will soon be available for download here. Complimentary lunch will be provided for the first 25 RSVPs.
The pre-reading packet for Prof. Furey's seminar is available here.
Workshop on Teaching in the College (CTL)
A two-day program of the Center for Teaching and Learning open to graduate students in all divisions and featuring sessions on a variety of pedagogy topics. Deadline to sign up is Sept. 15. See the CTL website for additional information and to register. Note: Those pursuing the Divinity School's Craft of Teaching Certificate must attend the CTL's Workshop on Teaching and complete a workshop journal. Please refer to the Craft of Teaching program requirements.
Jewish Studies as Field Not a Discipline: Pedagogical Reflections
Tuesday, October 8 at 7:30 PM at the home of Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr
Facilitated by Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Modern Jewish History and Thought in the Divinity School. Please RSVP to Ori Werdiger (email@example.com). Light refreshments served. Presented by the Jewish Studies workshop.
Approaches to the Introductory Course in Religious Studies
Wednesday, October 9 from 4:30-6:00PM in Swift 201
Led by Professors Lucy Pick, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity, and Richard Rosengarten, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature. The "Introduction to Religious Studies" course is a cornerstone of most Religious Studies majors, but a review of any syllabus collection will show that there are numerous ways to approach it. Listen to Professors Rosengarten and Pick discuss the syllabi they created for "RLST 10100: Introduction to Religious Studies" at the College at the University of Chicago. They will discuss how they organized their courses and why, what they included and what they left out, and what worked and what didn't.
Pedagogy Brown Bag
Friday, October 18 from 12:00-1:00 PM in Swift 403
Bring a lunch, grab some complimentary coffee and tea, and come talk teaching with fellow Divinity School students! This informal BYOL conversation will have no particular agenda other than providing a forum to discuss your classroom successes and frustrations, bouncing ideas off one another, sharing assignments and classroom materials, and, of course, eating and drinking. (Although these discussions do not count toward the Craft of Teaching requirements, we hope they will further foster our learning community around issues of pedagogy--and caffeinate your afternoons!)
Dean's Quarterly Craft of Teaching Seminar with Prof. Nelson Tebbe
Friday, November 8 from 12:00-2:00 PM in the Swift Common Room
Led by Divinity School alumnus Nelson Tebbe (PhD, Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, 2006), Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School. Prof. Tebbe's scholarship focuses on the relationship between religious traditions and constitutional law, both in the United States and abroad, and is a regular commentator in the media on religious freedom. He is also a past recipient of the Dean's Teaching Award at St. John's School of Law. Prof. Tebbe will introduce and discuss his courses and teaching strategies at Brooklyn Law School. Divinity School students will be especially interested to learn how Prof. Tebbe's dual specializations and disciplinary trainings are integrated in his teaching, and what teachers of religion practicing their craft in other contexts can learn from the best practices of signature law school pedagogies. Complimentary lunch will be provided for the first 25 RSVPs.
Teaching Religious Law in an Age of Sensation
Thursday, November 14 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 106
How do both Western pedagogical norms and current events shape how teachers of Islamic history and law present their subject to their students? This special session will feature a conversation with Professor Ahmed El Shamsy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Recent controversies have contributed to the rise in interest in Islamic law, but these are also part of a long interaction of different legal traditions in their postcolonial encounter. Teaching about this legacy, of which Western universities are an imminent part, will the subject of this conversation, and all those interested in how current political events affect teaching and scholarship will want to attend. Presented by the Islamic Studies Workshop.
Teaching Religion and Literature, Women's Studies, and Asian Religions
Friday, November 15 from 12:00-2:00 PM in Swift 201
Divinity School alumna Zhange Ni (PhD, Religion and Literature, 2009), Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech and formerly Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor at the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, will present and discuss teaching materials from her classes on religion and literature, women's studies, and Asian religions. Presented by the Religion and Literature Club.
Writing Good Recommendation Letters for Your Students
Thursday, December 5 from 12:00-1:30 PM in Swift 208
This workshop, led by Catherine Brekus, Professor in Religions in America and the History of Christianity, and Jeffrey Stackert, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, will help graduate students learn how to write good letters of recommendation for their undergraduates. Among other topics, we will discuss what information should be included in a recommendation letter and how to avoid implicit gender and/or racial bias. Feel free to bring a lunch. The reading packet of articles (available here) and sample letters (available here) should be read by participants in advance of the workshop.
Capstone Reflections on the Teaching Assistant Experience
Friday, June 7, 3:00-4:30 PM in Swift 201
This event is intended for Divinity School graduate students who served as teaching assistants or writing interns during the 2012-13 academic year. The session, facilitated by Prof. Richard Rosengarten, will provide a forum in which attendees can reflect upon their experience as TAs. Prof. Rosengarten will make a brief presentation on the practice of pedagogical self-assessment that will aim to help you evaluate your own teaching, identify your emerging competencies as an educator, and build upon your TA experience in your future teaching. The bulk of the session will be an exercise in self-evaluation. There will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on how the Divinity School can better support its teaching assistants.
Teaching the Bible in Diverse Classrooms
Tuesday, June 4 from 4:30-6:00 PM in Swift 201
The Bible continues to be one of the world's most read and taught texts. However, in a classroom of students who come from diverse religious/cultural backgrounds and hold different and often conflicting views about the Bible, how does an instructor get everyone on the same page in order to talk about the bible in a productive way? This is a challenge whether you are teaching a course that addresses the Bible primarily or peripherally. Join panelists Prof. Simeon Chavel, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, Prof. Lucy Pick, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity, and Allison Gray, PhD student in New Testament and Early Christian Literature, for a lively and informative discussion. Presented by the Hebrew Bible Workshop and the Bible Club.
Workshop on Syllabus Design: Goals and Assignments for NT Intro Courses
Thursday, May 16th from 12:00-1:30pm in Swift 106
This workshop will continue the discussion started in the fall's "Teaching Introduction to the New Testament", which focused on articulating student-oriented course goals for a NT intro course, although attendance at that event is not a prerequisite. At this meeting, we will look at (pre-circulated) syllabi that have been used to teach NT intro courses and hear from the instructors. What kinds of assignments proved most effective in meeting the learning goals for the course? What would the instructor change before teaching the class again?
The majority of our time will then be spent working in groups on our own draft syllabi, brainstorming how we can use a variety of assignments to help students meet the course learning goals. We invite you to come prepared to share a course map for a hypothetical NT intro course, consisting of 3 course learning goals and a skeletal outline of possible assignments and readings. Bring it along to consult with your colleagues and get helpful feedback! (Even if you don't have time to prepare draft materials, please join us for the discussion.) You are welcome to bring a lunch to the meeting.
Rethinking “Dead” Language Instruction: Ancient Languages and Modern Language Pedagogy
Friday, May 10th at 12:30-2:00PM Swift 208.
There is a widely accepted notion that teachers of ancient and so-called “dead” languages face a set of challenges distinct from that of modern language teachers, with different goals and approaches. The purpose of this workshop is to reconsider this notion. We'll be asking such questions as: What goals do we have in mind for our language students, and how successful are we in guiding them to these goals? What assumptions underlie the usual approaches to teaching ancient languages? What aspects of modern language instruction might we fruitfully incorporate into our teaching? Although Latin will be a focus of the presentation, this workshop is designed to benefit all teachers of ancient languages.
Led by Alex Lee, an advanced PhD student in the Department of Classics, University of Chicago. During his several years of teaching Latin and Greek at the university, he has developed a passion for language pedagogy. He is very interested in language acquisition theory and has experience with alternative methods of language instruction. Co-sponsored by the Department of Classics. Optional readings will be available for download in advance (link forthcoming). Pizza will be provided.
Spring Craft of Teaching Seminar
Thursday, May 2, 2013, from 12:00-1:30 PM, Swift Common Room
Led by the 2013 Divinity School alumnus of the year, Prof. Michael Kinnamon (AM 1976, Ph.D. 1980), presently Spehar-Halligan Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Collaboration in Interreligious Dialogue at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry. Prof. Kinnamon will introduce and discuss a course he has designed and taught, the decisions that went into its design, and some of its outcomes.
2013 Teaching at Public Research Universities Conference
Friday, April 26
Sponsored by Deputy Provost for Graduate Education, the Teaching at Public Research Universities Conference is part of an annual University of Chicago graduate student conference series that focuses on teaching at different types of institutions. This year's conference will address how to develop teaching, research, and other professional skills to succeed on the faculty at a public research university. The panel will feature Divinity School alumna (History of Religions) Prof. Elizabeth Wilson, Professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, and Affiliate in the Women's Studies Program as well as the Asian and Asian American Studies Program, Miami University of Ohio.
Pedagogy Discussion with Professor James T. Robinson
Friday, April 19 at 9:30 AM in Swift 106
The Islamic Studies Club (aka, Majlis) invites you to discuss pedagogy with Professor James T. Robinson. He will discuss his thought process in the envisioning of a course and the creation of a syllabus, as well as his general pedagogical approach to courses related to Islamic Studies.
From Here to There: The Transition to the First Years of Teaching
Friday, April 12, 3:30-5:30 PM in the Swift 3rd Floor Lecture Hall
What are the biggest challenges you will face as you move from graduate education to full-time teaching? What should you be doing now to ensure you will thrive in your first years as a teacher-scholar?
As part of the Divinity School's participation in the Wabash Center's Graduate Programs Teaching Initiative, we invite you to a panel discussion featuring ten recent Divinity School alums representing a wide range of institutions and areas of study. Moderated by the Wabash Center's Eugene Gallagher (PhD, '80) and Dean Margaret Mitchell, the event will include opportunities for Q & A, and all will be invited to continue our conversation at a reception immediately following.
Divinity School Syllabus Workshop
Friday, March 8, 12–3PM in Swift 200
Led by Prof. 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.
Winter Craft of Teaching Seminar with Jonathan Z. Smith
Wednesday, February 27, from 4:30–6:00 PM in Swift Common Room
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 forthcoming collection of essays entitled On Teaching Religion: Essays by Jonathan Z. Smith (edited by Christopher Lehrich; Oxford UP). Prof. Smith discussed his pedagogy in relation to a course he has taught at the University. Readings for the seminar can be downloaded here and here.
Pedagogy and Embodiment
Thursday, February 14th, 4:30–6PM, Swift 106
The Theology Workshop welcomes Prof. Kristine Culp, Associate Professor of Theology and Dean of Disciples Divinity House, Prof. Jeffrey Stackert, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible, and Cynthia Lindner, Director of Ministry Studies and Clinical Faculty for Preaching and Pastoral Care, to reflect on their own experiences and best practices for creating classroom cultures and environments that intentionally honor the body as a constitutive part of being human. All are invited to join our panelists in wrestling with such questions as: How can teachers use their own embodied presence in the classroom—and the embodied presences of their students—to deepen and inflect learning? What kinds of pedagogical practices work to unveil and dismantle oppressions in the classroom that silence or privilege certain embodied experiences? How can existing structures with which bodies may be at odds—physical space, institutional culture—be shifted, challenged, or named in order to create an academic space where bodies are not something to be overcome or managed, but to be received with hospitality as essential parts of human life and even scholarly inquiry?
Discussion of Teaching Islam
Friday, February 8 at 9:30 a.m. in Swift 106
The Islamic Studies Club (AKA Div Majlis) invites you to discuss selections from the book Teaching Islam (ed. Brannon Wheeler).
A Conversation on Pedagogy with Prof. Dan Arnold
Wed., Feb. 6th, 4:30–6 Swift 208
Featuring reflections by and conversation with Prof. Dan Arnold, Associate Professor of the Philosophy of Religions in the Divinity School. Presented by the Philosophy of Religions Club.
Information Session on Teaching at the Graham School
Friday, Feb. 1, 12–1:30PM, Swift Common Room
Prof. Wendy Doniger and Cary Nathansen, Associate Dean in the Graham School, will talk about designing continuing education courses and teaching in the Graham School.
A Discussion on Contemplative Pedagogy with Professor Jennifer Oldstone-Moore
Thursday, January 24th, 12–1:30 pm, Swift Room 106
Featuring Divinity School alumna Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, Associate Professor of Religion at Wittenberg University. Specializing in Chinese religious traditions, Professor Oldstone-Moore teaches courses in Chinese and Japanese Religion, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Religion and Literature in East Asia, among others. Her work was recently featured at a conference of The Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. Professor Oldstone-Moore's presentation will consider ways in which contemplative practice might serve as a resource for teachers of religion. Presented by the Religion and Literature Club.
The Educator as Mentor: A conversation between Prof. Kevin Hector and Prof. Jeffery Stout
Friday January 11th, from 12–1:30 pm. Swift Hall Common Room
The Religion and Ethics Workshop present Profs. Kevin Hector and Jeffrey Stout, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, in a conversation about the role of the educator as mentor. Presented by the Religion and Ethics Workshop
Teaching Introduction to the New Testament
Monday, November 26, 4:30–5:30PM Swift 208
A discussion of the aims and course designs of introductions to the New Testament in different institutional contexts, facilitated by Brandon Cline, PhD candidate in New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Program Coordinator for the Craft of Teaching. Presented by the Early Christian Studies Workshop and the Bible Club.
Pedagogical Problems: Teaching Religion and the Danger of Becoming "Don Juan of Myths"
Thursday November 15th, 4:30–6 in Swift 200
Discussion with Prof. Charles Matthewes, Divinity School alumnus and Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion at the University of Virginia.
The Teaching of Jewish Studies: Theoretical and Pedagogical Reflections
Monday, November 12 at 7:30PM at the home of Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr
Facilitated by Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Modern Jewish History and Thought in the Divinity School. RSVP required. Please RSVP to Sam Shonkoff (firstname.lastname@example.org). Presented by the Jewish Studies Workshop.
Teaching Religion in the Internet Age: Electronic Resources in the Religious Studies Classroom
Thursday, November 1, 3:00–4:30PM Regenstein 207
Facilitated by Divinity School alumna Dr. Anne Knafl (Ph.D. 2011), Bibliographer for Religion and Philosophy, University of Chicago.
Fall Craft of Teaching Seminar with Prof. Rebecca Raphael
Friday, October 26 from 12–2PM in Swift Common Room
Led by Divinity School alumna Prof. Rebecca Raphael (Ph.D. 1997), Associate Professor of Philosophy and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities at Texas State University-San Marcos. Prof. Raphael will discuss her NEH grant project on the study of religion in humanistic curricula and engage in conversation on her design and teaching of recent two courses. Materials for discussion may be downloaded here.
Workshop on Teaching in the College (CTL)
A two-day program of the Center for Teaching and Learning open to graduate students in all divisions and featuring sessions on a variety of pedagogy topics. See the CTL website for additional information. Note: Those seeking to complete the Craft of Teaching Program must attend the Workshop on Teaching and complete a workshop journal. Please refer to the Craft of Teaching Program requirements.
Winter Craft of Teaching Seminar with Prof. M. Cooper Harris
Friday, January 30 from 4:30PM–6PM in Swift 200
M. Cooper Harriss, Ph.D. 2011 (Religion and Literature), Instructor and Visiting Professor of Race and Religion, Department of Religion and Culture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia). Professor Harriss offers courses in American and African-American religious traditions, religion and modernity, and religion and literature.
Spring Craft of Teaching Seminar with Prof. Anne Taves
Thursday, May 3 from 12–2PM in the Swift Common Room
Led by Prof. Ann Taves, A.M. 1979, Ph.D. 1983 (History of Christianity), Virgil Cordano, OFM, Professor of Catholic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Divinity School's Alumna of the Year for 2012. Prof. Taves teaches courses that focus specifically on Catholic history and practice as well as courses that examine Catholic history and practice alongside other traditions. Her undergraduate courses are structured around questions in the study of religion that can be addressed from both the perspectives of the humanities and the sciences, e.g.: How and to what extent do religious or spiritual practices transform people? What happens to a tradition when it is transmitted from one cultural context to another? How do people know or decide if an event or experience should be attributed to a supernatural source?