2018-19 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 opportunities for professional development and the refinement of your application materials. 

Spring 2019

Pedagogy and Presentism: History and Ethics in the Classroom

Friday, March 29 2:30-3:30pm, Swift Hall Lecture Hall.

This panel discussion between Profs. Tisha Rajendra, Willi Goetschel, and William Schweiker will explore the themes of the Notre Dame/University of Chicago Graduate Student Conference, specifically the relation between history and normative commitments as they apply to the classroom setting. The panelists will address inquiries by audience members, as well as these guiding questions: What are some best practices for approaching fraught questions of historical fact? What role should the instructor's own commitments play in both the selection of content and in the methodology by which that content is approached? How ought instructors to respond to the urgent claims of the present without succumbing to presentism? Come for lively and open discussion of these and related issues.

Explorations Beyond the Classroom: Religious Studies Pedagogy and Its Career Opportunities

Tuesday, April 2, 12-2pm, Swift Hall Common Room

In terms of career placement, the University of Chicago has always had a wider reach than the classroom, and the Craft of Teaching Program is committed to highlighting and supporting the ways in which the intellectual training at the Divinity School equips graduates to be leaders and educators in a wide variety of fields and professions. Join us for this special joint workshop with UChicagoGRAD as we host three guests: Ellen Havdala (EGI Managing Director), Christina Ochs (CIRM Financial), and Dale Walker (MSI Development), each of whom has had extraordinary success in his or her career outside of the classroom, and each has a different level of familiarity with the Divinity School. With them, we will have a conversation around the transferability of skill sets cultivated in the academic study of religion, as well as the variety of institutional contexts in which those skills might fit. 

Lunch Provided for first 30 RSVPs to

Christina Ochs has worked in interest rate risk management for the past 15 years, gaining experience in almost every operational role at the CIRM. Having first earned her bachelor's degree from New York University she then gained an MBA from St. John's University of Rome. A passionate leader, Christina is a member of the Women's Presidents Organization. She also sits on various boards including the Women's Board of The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Chicago Chamber Music Society and the Active Transport Alliance.

Dale Walker completed a dissertation at the University of Chicago Divinity School directed by Hans Dieter Betz in 1998. Since then he has worked full-time as a fundraiser at the University of Chicago Library, University of Wyoming, Illinois Institute of Technology, the Divinity School, and Museum of Science and Industry. In his work he advocates for education and expands opportunities for scholars young and old to advance their studies. He remains involved with the Society of Biblical Literature, co-chairing program units, and is always delighted to receive paper proposals from Divinity School students.

Ellen Havdala has worked in a variety of capacities for Sam Zell’s affiliated companies since 1990. She represents EGI in sourcing potential transactions and meeting new capital sources. Ellen serves on the board of Ardent Health Partners, LLC, a provider of hospital and healthcare services. In addition, she is responsible for establishing and overseeing the Zell Global Entrepreneurship Network (ZGEN), an organization designed to provide continuing education and mentorship for students and alumni of Sam’s three entrepreneurship education programs. Prior to joining Sam’s organization, Ellen was a financial analyst with The First Boston Corporation in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Harvard College, and earned her Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago in 2016.

Dean’s Seminar in the Craft of Teaching, with Joseph L. Price

Wednesday, April 17, 12:00-1:30pm, Swift Hall Common Room

“The Evolution of an Introductory Course in Religious Studies.”  

Join us for the Spring 2019 Dean’s Seminar in the Craft of Teaching as we host the Prof. Joseph L. Price, Professor Emeritus of Whittier College. This workshop will explore how Prof. Price adapted a long-taught course to new student audiences, and it will provide some practical suggestions for ways that young pedagogues might be able to do the same. A description of the topic is below:

“During my first year at Whittier College I inherited the established, introductory course ‘What Is Religion?’ Existentially oriented, it utilized general texts to prompt students to identify and compile characteristics of religion(s). Perceiving a need for the course’s refreshment, I worked with my departmental colleague to develop a new introduction, ‘Exploring Religion,’ which aligned various works (e.g., fiction, memoir, treatises) exemplifying multiple methodologies (e.g., anthropological, sociological, and theological) with films and documentaries in order to stimulate students’ writing about religion. Over the years as students’ academic preparedness changed and their level of engagement waned, I retained the structure of the course (aligning texts with films to inspire creative essays) while shifting to a thematic approach (topics such as journey, space, nature, food, and death) drawing upon works from multiple religious traditions.”

Syllabi forthcoming

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 Friday, April 12 to .

Joseph L. Price is a Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies. With a doctorate in theology and culture, he has taught more than thirty different courses, ranging from “The Life and Teaching of Jesus” to “Latin American Liberation Theologies” and from “Cinema and Religion” to “Sport, Play, and Ritual.” Author and co-editor of several theological works, including Tillich and A New Handbook of Christian Theology, he has also published numerous essays and books on sports and religion, including From Season to Season: Sports as American Religion and Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America. Combining his interests in sports, ritual studies, and music, he has sung the national anthem for more than 125 professional baseball games in 20 Major League ballparks and 100 minor league stadiums in 42 states.

Gendered Teachers, Gendered Students, Gendered Content: A Conversation About Teaching Religion and Gender

Friday, May 3, 1:00-2:30pm, Swift Hall 200

Teaching always involves problems, negotiations, and opportunities related to gender. Come participate in a conversation that grapples with the realities of teaching in and about gender, especially within the context of the academic study of religion. Our conversation will deal not only with the inescapably gendered quality of the materials we explore in the classroom, but also the unavoidably gendered experience of teachers and students alike.

Kelli Gardner, PhD Candidate in Hebrew Bible, will lead this discussion. Kelli teaches religion and gender courses at University of Chicago and Loyola University Chicago, and is a new mom learning how to balance the demands of teaching, dissertating, and parenting.

Lunch Provided for first 15 RSVPs to .  

C.V. Workshop [Arts of Teaching]

Thursday, May 16, 4:00-5:30 pm, Swift Hall 400

The Curriculum Vitae (CV) is one of the main documents that academics use to summarize their experience and qualifications. Whether you are preparing an application for an internal fellowship or a faculty position you will need such a document.  In this workshop we will discuss the components of a CV, focusing on those specific to the academic study of religion, and how best to showcase your work in the doctoral program University of Chicago Divinity School. Students are encouraged to bring drafts of their CVs to discuss. This workshop will be led by Profs. Sarah Fredericks and Margaret M. Mitchell.  Please RSVP by Monday, May 13, to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.

Coffee and Tea Provided.

Teaching a Jesus Course for Undergrads

Monday, May 20, 4:30-6:00pm, Swift Hall 201

Teaching about Jesus is fraught with difficulties. Whose Jesus? Which Bible translation? What time period? Does one focus on literature, material remains, art, music, theater, film, or all of these? The possibilities are endless for the one who ventures into this exciting but difficult topic. Join us as the Craft of Teaching hosts Prof. Stephen Ahearne-Kroll, who will draw upon his almost twenty years of teaching biblical studies courses in various educational settings (private undergraduate, seminary, public undergraduate, and graduate contexts) to talk about some ways to teach about Jesus that have worked best and not worked very well at all.

A dinner will be hosted afterwards for the first 12 RSVPS to

Coffee and Tea Provided

Wabash Center Alumni Panel and Micro-Teaching Workshops [Arts of Teaching]

Wednesday, May 29 (see below for event times and room information)

Alumni Lunch Panel | 12-1:30pm Swift Hall Common Room | May 29th Five visiting PhD alumni will introduce their career paths and present home institutions, which range from large public universities to small liberal arts colleges. We will encourage them to reflect on their transitions from UChicago to other educational contexts and their experiences on the job market (especially in regards to teaching). Come with your questions! Please RSVP for lunch -

Alumni panelists:

  • Jessica Andruss, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Mellon Fellow, Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, University of Virginia

  • Patricia Duncan, Assistant Professor of Religion, Texas Christian University  

  • Charles Preston, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Millsaps College

  • Bryce E. Rich, Assistant Professor of Theology and Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Brite Divinity School

  • Joseph Steineger, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Lindenwood University

Micro-Teaching sessions | 2-4:30pm Locations TBA | May 29th - Each alum will work with 4-5 students who will prepare 15 minute teaching demonstrations at the undergraduate level. No prior teaching experience or knowledge is required from student participants! Students may prepare demonstrations on any topic and should feel free to enact whatever pedagogical method would be helpful to practice - i.e. lecture, lead discussion, present a powerpoint, distribute handouts, or create an activity for participants (or some combination thereof). Feel free to adjust something you have used for a graduate class presentation or mimic a favorite class from your undergrad. The goal is to get practice teaching, not to spend a lot of extra time developing new material for a future class. This will be a fantastic opportunity to receive feedback from professors who work with undergraduates all the time. We can arrange to audio/video record each session so that students may review their own teaching demonstrations later. Please RSVP by May 18th with your name, a title for your teaching demonstration, and any A/V requirements -

Introduction to the Academic Job Search

Thursday, June 6, 3:30-5:00pm, Swift 400

In this workshop you will be introduced to the process of searching for an Academic Job including finding job advertisements and communicating with references including the pros and cons of Interfolio.  We will also discuss the parts of a typical application packet, the seasonality and rhythms of the job application process, and various on-campus, online, and print resources to help you in this endeavor.  This workshop is an orientation to the process of applying for academic jobs so that you can be well prepared for the fall application season.  This workshop will be led by Profs. Chavel and Fredericks. 

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.

Alongside this process of reading, reflection, and discussion, students are also engaged in designing a course of their own.  This endeavor takes the form of a course design project, which should serve as the foundation for a course you plan to teach soon, either in the College, at a Chicago-area institution, or in your first year as a faculty member.  Students also produce a statement of teaching philosophy that articulates their approach to teaching.

In sum, this course aims to help students be able to: 

-  Reflect critically on and improve their teaching practice.
-  Design an inclusive and well-conceived course, based in meaningful learning objectives, with teaching methods and assessments aligned with those objectives.
-  Articulate a meaningful, student-centered approach to teaching, expressed in a statement of teaching philosophy.
-  This course is offered P/F fulfills a central requirement for the College Teaching Certificate offered by the CCT.

More information can be found here.

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Assembling a teaching portfolio helps us to think, talk, and write about our teaching with precision and sophistication. In developing a teaching portfolio, we sharpen our ability to critically reflect on our teaching successes and practices, presenting ourselves as knowledgeable, confident, and reflective teachers. Moreover, an online teaching portfolio enables you to share your teaching with a wider community, and can be an important asset on the academic job market. The Seminar and Workshop on Teaching Portfolios will introduce you to this genre of teaching documentation, including its components and the process of assembling one, and provide an opportunity for peer-feedback on a draft of your teaching portfolio.  

In the Seminar on Teaching Portfolios, we will discuss the components of a teaching portfolio and the ways in which they may be crafted and curated. By the end of this seminar, participants will be able to identify the elements of a teaching portfolio for which they already have content, plan for and seek out opportunities for generating content for other parts of the teaching portfolio, and begin assembling a teaching portfolio or e-portfolio.

After taking the Seminar on Teaching Portfolios, you should begin assembling the components of your teaching portfolio, and create a draft in PDF or online to present for feedback in the subsequent Workshop.  

The Workshop on Teaching Portfolios provides a venue for graduate students and postdocs to share and receive feedback on drafts of their teaching portfolios. Participants should have ready to share: a table of contents, statement of teaching philosophy, teaching biography/teaching experience, at least 1 syllabus, and a summary of student evaluations. The portfolio may be presented as a PDF or website. Participants should bring a laptop. Registration and previous attendance at the Seminar are prerequisites for attending the Workshop.  

More information can be found here.