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 opportunities for professional development and the refinement of your application materials.
Tuesday, January 8th, 10:00-11:30am, Swift Hall 403
Led by Dr. Jessie DeGrado, this year's annual workshop will focus on inclusivity in course design and pedagogical practice. Topics for discussion will include how to integrate diverse viewpoints and authors in the course content (without resorting to binders full of women) and how to communicate respect for students in the syllabus. We will also consider concrete changes we can make to classroom activities to be fully inclusive of ethnic, socio-economic, and even neurological difference.
In order to register, you must email the Craft of Teaching (email@example.com) by 5pm on Monday, January 7. Registration is limited to 15 participants. Before we meet, please reflect on your past pedagogical experiences and be prepared to share a time you did not rise to the challenge of creating an inclusive classroom. If you have not had the opportunity to teach a course yet, you may bring an example from a course in which you were a student. We will discuss together how we can better handle these situations.
Coffee, tea, and breakfast items are provided.
Friday, January 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Swift Hall 200
A poor writing prompt accomplishes little, other than frustrating student and instructor alike. Creating an assignment that both motivates students to write and successfully fosters the approaches and methods of the class, however, is an exceedingly challenging task. In this session, join Tracy Weiner, Senior Associate Director of the Writing Program, as she leads a workshop designed to introduce teachers to non-traditional writing assignments. These writing assignments are intended to help students, particularly first year undergraduates, build the critical reading and writing skills necessary to succeed in subsequent polished written works.
Workshop participants will begin by discussing goals for student writing, and then work backwards from these goals to assignments that can help students achieve them. To ground our discussion, all participants will be expected to to find and submit in advance a 1-3 page sample of "good" writing about religion. The sample should be published and not written by you. By "good" writing, we mean the kind of writing that you'd like your students to be able to produce -- eventually, if not right away. The scare quotes around "good" are there for a reason: we expect a lively debate about what "good writing" means to you, to your students, and to readers. We'll then ask what skills students would need to write in this way: what do they need to know about research? Critical thinking? The writing and editing process? Finally, we'll work on assignment prompts and sequences likely to develop these skills.
To participate in the workshop, attendees must submit a 1-3 page sample of "good" writing about religion (published in print or on-line, not written by you) to by 5pm on Weds, January 23.
Coffee and tea provided.
Winter Dean’s Seminar in the Craft of Teaching, with Ellen Haskell (co-hosted with Wednesday Lunch!)
Wednesday, February 6, 12:00-2:00pm, Swift Hall Common Room
“Teaching and the Academy”
This seminar explores strategies for effective teaching within institutional constraints. When prerequisites are not practical, how do you prevent every course from feeling like an introduction? How do you find the intersections with students’ experiences that make a course relevant to those who know little to nothing about the topic? What considerations define expectations for introductory versus advanced courses? And finally, how do you decide what courses to offer when you are the only faculty member at your institution teaching in your field?
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 30 RSVPs. Please RSVP by noon on Monday, January 19th to .
Prof. Ellen Haskell is Director of Jewish Studies and the Herman & Zelda Bernard Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at UNCG. Educated at the University of Chicago Divinity School and the University of Michigan, her field of expertise is the study of Jewish mysticism, with special emphasis on classical Kabbalah and Sefer ha-Zohar (The Book of Splendor). She is the author of two monographs, Mystical Resistance: Uncovering the Zohar’s Conversations with Christianity (Oxford, 2016) and Suckling at My Mother’s Breasts: The Image of a Nursing God in Jewish Mysticism (SUNY, 2012). Haskell received an American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship to develop Mystical Resistance. Her research interests include Jewish mysticism’s relationship to its cultural environments, Jewish responses to Christianity, and Jewish religious imagery, especially that which incorporates gender and teachings on the human body.
Tuesday, February 12, 4:30-6:00pm, Swift Hall Common Room
The Craft of Teaching is pleased to host Dr. Robert Orsi, Professor of Religious Studies and History and Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies at Northwestern University, for a workshop that explores the teaching of lived religious practice in the United States. We will discuss what “lived religion” is, the disparate topics it covers, and the various methods that can be employed to analyze it. We will think about ways in which a teacher might construct a class to provide a substantive introduction to lived religion that helps students recognize how much there is to be learned from engaging the specific people, practices, objects, rituals, and myths of individual religious communities. The study of religion is not just about reading stories told about others; it is as much about coming to understand the stories others tell (and retell) about themselves.
Coffee and tea provided
Wednesday, February 27, 10:30-12:00pm, Swift 208
Please join the Craft of Teaching as it teams up with Russell Johnson (Uchicago 101s; PhD Candidate in Philosophy of Religions) to host Daniel Wyche (PhD Candidates in Philosophy of Religion) for an absolutely zero-prior-knowledge-required workshop that will help you identify, navigate, and successfully use the audio/visual resources available in both the classroom and conference hall. We will learn which buttons to press, which buttons not to press, how to make sure your microphone works without slamming your hand into it repeatedly, and what all of these different wires actually do. Our goal will be for everyone to leave the room equipped to troubleshoot simple, standard A/V problems without having to waste class time waiting for tech help, and avoid the embarrassment of futzing around with cables in front of your students and colleagues.
Coffee and tea provided
Monday, March 11, 1:00am-2:30pm, Swift 400
The Craft of Teaching welcomes Dr. Ben Zeller, Associate Professor of Religion at Lake Forest College, for a workshop on using movies to teach religion. We will explore the ways that movies, primarily cinematic productions but also including documentaries, offer promise and peril in the religious studies classroom. We will address questions such as: What are some best practices for utilizing movies in teaching? How can we help students engage cinema as a way to learn, and not just as entertainment? How can movies be integrated with other course components in the most effective manner? We will also think about times when movies are not effective in the classroom, and also how to handle problems that arise when teaching with movies. We focus primarily on courses that employ movies as one component of the class, but will also touch on courses centered on movies as their primary subject.
Coffee and tea provided
For the events of previous quarters, please see our archive.
The aim of this course is to help graduate students and postdocs from across the disciplines prepare to teach in the college classroom. Over the course of the term, we read literature on teaching and learning and use that scholarship to reflect on our own teaching practice. We start at the beginning by thinking first about how people learn, and exploring how to create an inclusive and welcoming learning environment. Next we turn our attention to course design and consider what kind of structure will help us promote learning in our students. We then consider assessment: how do we know students are learning, and how can the work we assign them promote meaningful engagement with course material? We then think about how to actively engage students by exploring different teaching methods, and what can be said for (and against) them.
This course will begin on January 25, from 12:30-2:00pm in Wieboldt 310 D/E. More information can be found here.
This seminar will provide attendees with best practices for drafting effective teaching statements and portfolios for academic job applications. In this seminar, you will learn about the key components of a teaching portfolio and explore what makes for an effective statement of teaching philosophy. You will also be able to view and evaluate sample teaching statements and begin drafting your own teaching statement through a series of exercises.
The seminar is appropriate for graduate students and postdocs in any discipline, and also fulfills the Teaching Portfolio Seminar requirement of the CCT College Teaching Certificate Program.
More information can be found here.