2017-18 Craft of Teaching Schedule

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Listed below is the entirety of the quarter's Craft of Teaching schedule, and its individual events are linked in the menu to the left. Please note the two tabs at the bottom of this page. There, you will find information about the Chicago Center for Teaching's (CCT) quarterly seminars on course design and teaching portfolios, both of which provide important opportunites for professional development and the refinement of your application materials. 

Autumn 2017

Teaching@Chicago Conference [Chicago Center for Teaching]

Wednesday, September 20, 8:00 am - 3:30 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 to the Teaching@Chicago Conference. This year's program will take place on Wednesday, September 20th. 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, as well as breakout sessions to have more intimate conversation with peers and faculty in your discipline. 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:

  • Inclusive Teaching

  • Undergraduate Perspectives on What Makes a Good Teacher

  • Effective Grading Strategies

  • Key Challenges in Teaching

  • Mid-Course Adjustments

  • Teaching Your Own Course

  • How to Plan for Conceptual Learning

  • The Roles and Duties of the Course Assistant

See the CCT website for additional information and to register. Attendance at the annual Teaching@Chicago Conference is a requirement for Craft of Teaching Certification.

Workshop on Public Speaking [Arts of Teaching]

Friday, October 6, 2:00-4:30, Swift Third Floor Lecture Hall

done messed up.pngScientific 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 building confidence in front of an audience, using our bodies and voices to communicate information more effectively, and to connect with audiences.  Led by R. L. Watson, PhD Candidate in Religion & Literature. Participation in this workshop is strongly recommended for Divinity School students in any program and area, whether or not they will pursue Craft of Teaching certification. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be provided.

Unpacking the Seminar: Teaching Well from Our Research

Thursday, October 12, 1:00-2:30 pm, Swift 208

openbooks.jpgOf the many challenges facing educators at every stage of their career, one of the most fundamental is the relationship between teaching and research. Although much of our teaching may be outside our areas of expertise, it is still essential to be clear on how we can “translate” topics of our own intellectual interest into responsible and pedagogically productive formats for teaching.

In this workshop, join Professor Willemien Otten (History of Christianity; Theology) and Professor Brook Ziporyn (Philosophy of Religions) for a close consideration of different possibilities for how we define course topics (or sets of texts, or key figures) with which we want to deal, how we broaden them in such a way as to set up courses with a narrative arc, how we divide and organize the different components of a problem or field of inquiry, how we find additional materials to complement those we know best, and how we create useful assignments for a student body that is diverse in its interests and capacities.

In advance of the workshop, participants are asked to review sample syllabi from our faculty facilitators, where these challenges are addressed through the making of particular choices of course design and implementation. These syllabi can be found here. Please also think of a topic or text around which you would like to build a course and reflect briefly on your vision for teaching that material -- we will discuss your ideas during the workshop.

Pedagogy Unbound: Educating about Religion beyond Academia

Friday, October 27, 1:00-3:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room


When it comes to cultivating outstanding educators in the field of religion, the Divinity School has always had a far wider reach than the university classroom. To be a scholar and educator in religion is to be accountable to the interlocking publics of a society that makes the university necessary, and it is the Craft of Teaching Program’s commitment to highlight and support the ways that intellectual training at the Divinity School equips graduates to raise the level of the conversation around religion in a wide variety of fields and professions.

Join us for this very special event, to hear from a panel of three Divinity School alumni who are leaders in the forms and contexts of education about religion beyond academia: represented here are voices from the museum profession, from an interfaith relations NGO, and from new frontiers in online journalism. Before opening up for a general conversation with workshop participants, our panelists will speak about the work that they do and have done, about how and why education about religion figures into it, about the trajectories that have taken them from degrees at the Divinity School to their current positions, and about the contributions they envision for the future.

All are welcome, with no advance preparation. A light lunch will be available in the Common Room beginning at 12:30, immediately prior to the workshop. Please RSVP (by Sunday, October 22) to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu, so that we can best coordinate the lunch.


Alice Greenwald (AM ‘75) is the President and CEO of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. She has had a long and eminent career in the museum profession, having previously served in a variety of directorial and curatorial roles at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Hebrew Union College Skirball Museum. She is the author of several articles in museum studies, art history, and historiography, and she has received several awards including an NEA Fellowship for Museum Professionals (1981). 

Heather Miller Rubens (AM ‘04, PhD ‘11) is the Executive Director and Roman Catholic Scholar of the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies. In her research Rubens explores how religious communities navigate political, legal, and cultural spaces, as well as how different religious communities relate to one another in particular contexts. In addition to historical research, Rubens develops educational initiatives that foster interreligious learning for the public in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. She has been an adjunct professor at Lewis University, DePaul University and St. Mary’s Seminary, and is a member of the Committee on Ethics, Religion and the Holocaust at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Jeremy Fuzy (MDiv ‘15) is a religion journalist and former Editor at RealClearReligion, an online hub which aggregates writing on religious and interreligious topics from a variety of reputable sources, bringing together contributions from a range of ideological and cultural perspectives. At RCR, Fuzy worked to create a resource that makes available the best journalistic writing about religion, so as to demonstrate the diversity, dynamism, and intersectionality of religion in contemporary society.

Autumn 2017 Dean’s Seminar in the Craft of Teaching, with Michael Kessler

Friday, November 10, 12:00-2:00 pm, Swift Hall Common Room


"Teaching Polarizing Questions and Contested Claims of Justice"

One significant obstacle to teaching is the current level of political polarization around moral and cultural issues which can make it difficult to build an open and robust in-depth classroom conversation space that at the same time protects the full participation and dignity of each student. Faculty in many settings, from seminars on moral theology to introductions to religious studies, will need to delicately handle charged issues, deeply entrenched and forcefully expressed viewpoints, and sub-optimal rhetorical and argumentative methods. 

In this Dean’s Seminar in the Craft of Teaching, join Professor Michael Kessler (Georgetown University; Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs) to explore pedagogical methods for exploring fairly, deeply, and rigorously a full range of political, religious and social perspectives around the issues of the class while building an open conversation space across profound differences. 

Advance reading materials, including Prof. Kessler's syllabus on "Religion, Morality, and Contested Claims for Justice," can be found here.

The quarterly Dean's Seminars are the flagship series 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 Sunday, November 5 to craftofteaching@uchicago.eduindicating meat, vegetarian, or vegan preferences.

Michael Kessler (AM ‘97, PhD in Theology ‘03), is managing director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, an associate professor of the practice of moral and political theory in the Department of Government, and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. Kessler’s research and writing focus on theology, philosophical and religious ethics, and social, political, and legal theory. He is interested in problems of law and religion, both globally and in the U.S. constitutional context. Kessler is the author of several edited volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of Political Theology, co-edited with Shaun Casey (Oxford University Press, forthcoming); Political Theology for a Plural Age (Oxford University Press, 2013); and Mystics: Presence and Aporia, co-edited with Christian Sheppard (University of Chicago Press, 2013). He also wrote “Engaging Religion in U.S. Foreign Affairs,” a chapter in the Companion to Religion and Politics in the United States (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).

Microteaching: Teaching What You Don’t Know [Arts of Teaching]

Tuesday, December 5, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, Martin Marty Center

step-off_big.jpgMicroteaching 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 on the abiding challenge of teaching in areas that are not our areas of expertise. Teaching outside of our comfort zones is not merely an overwhelming likelihood for early-career faculty; it is also an underappreciated opportunity to keep things fresh in the classroom and reach students all the more effectively.  In this workshop, each participant will teach a ten-minute lesson on pre-selected material from outside her or his areas of expertise, working to turn their status as a “content novice” (Therese Huston) into a strength rather than a liability.

The workshop will be facilitated by Professor Lucy Pick, Senior Lecturer in History of Christianity and Director of the Undergraduate Program; and Aaron Hollander, Craft of Teaching Program Coordinator. Participation is strictly limited to Divinity PhD students, and advanced registration is required. If you are interested in being involved in this workshop, email the coordinators at craftofteaching@uchicago.edu as soon as possible to receive further information.

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


The Seminar on Course Design examines the foundational concepts in teaching and learning and how to apply these ideas in a course plan that will support student learning and provide evidence of student learning. During the seminar, participants will create a plan for learning in the course, explaining to the other participants how this learning is linked to the final graded project, regardless of whether the course is their own or one institutionally prescribed. They will also begin to analyze their teaching goals and consider how to align those goals with student, program and/or institutional needs.

Since this seminar also interrogates ways of determining whether and how a course might be improved, it serves as a critical piece of learning for advanced graduate students who are preparing teaching documents for prospective employers. We encourage advanced graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to complete this workshop prior to enrolling in either the Seminar or Workshop on Teaching Portfolios or the Workshop on Philosophy of Teaching Statements.

This seminar will be held on Tuesday, October 10, from 1:00-3:30pm in Wieboldt 310. More information can be found here.

Stock Portfolio.jpgNot solely a requirement for the job market, teaching portfolios help graduate students think, talk and write about teaching with precision and sophistication. In developing your teaching portfolios, you sharpen your ability to reflect on and analyze your teaching performance and to present yourself as knowledgeable, confident and thoughtful instructors. In this seminar, advanced graduate students and post-doctoral fellows identify the key components of a portfolio, evaluate sample portfolios, and begin constructing their own portfolio through a series of exercises.

This seminar will be held on Tuesday, October 17, from 1:00-3:30pm in Wieboldt 310. More information can be found here.