• Alumni panel for "From Here to There: The Transition to the First Years of Teaching"

About the Craft of Teaching

CT - Classroom.jpgThe Divinity School's unique and innovative pedagogical curriculum--the Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion--seamlessly interweaves our commitment to preparing outstanding educators in the field of religious studies into the experience of graduate education at Swift Hall.  Through a year-round program of seminars and workshops, we sustain a vigorous conversation on religious studies pedagogy both within and across all the Divinity School's diverse areas of study.  Doctoral students who complete our Craft of Teaching program will have reflected upon the challenges of teaching religion in a range of institutional contexts, on different religious traditions and topics, and in conversation with faculty and peers within and beyond their own areas of specialization.


The Craft of Teaching [CoT] reflects the Divinity School's high regard for lively workshop-style interchange among students and faculty.  Our model of teacher training utilizes an integrated  series of workshops and seminars as the locus of pedagogical reflection and practice.  The result is a diverse, ever-evolving, and year-round offering of programs that is especially responsive to student and faculty interests.  

The core elements of Divinity School's Craft of Teaching include:

  • The Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar Series:  Each quarter one of our distinguished alumni/ae or another accomplished educator is invited by the Dean to lead a seminar related to issues of course design, instruction, and evaluation as these are lived out in the various institutional contexts in which religion is taught in higher education.
  • Arts of Teaching Series: Arts of Teaching workshops focus on skill development and opportunities for practice.  Specific subjects vary but all Arts of Teaching events emphasize the practice of teaching competencies and the production of classroom materials by participants.  Subjects regularly include syllabus design, assignment design, pedagogy of writing, and the composition of philosophy of teaching statements, in addition to microteaching workshops. 
  • Other Craft of Teaching Workshops:  The Craft of Teaching Program Coordinators, together with the Task Force on Teaching, organize numerous additional workshops on various aspects of religious studies pedagogy.  These offerings put students in conversation with some of the leading educators in religious studies, including Divinity School faculty, seasoned alums, and teacher-scholars from a wide range of institutions.  The result is a robust and changing array of pedagogy-related programs offered to Divinity School students.
  • Pedagogy Workshops co-sponsored by the Area Clubs and CAS Workshops:  Many of the Divinity School's CAS Workshops and Area Clubs devote one session per year to the subject of teaching.  These contributions to the Craft of Teaching program provide opportunities for further pedagogical development specifically tailored to individual subject areas and disciplines.

Past Craft of Teaching events are available for viewing in our Multimedia Library.  The full schedule of this year's programs can be found on our events page.

Divinity School doctoral students are eligible to receive the Certificate in the Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion through their participation in the program.  Those who successfully complete the minimum requirements of the Craft of Teaching will:

  • Receive the Divinity School's Certificate in the Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion, serving as evidence of their interest in and preparedness for teaching in the area of religion.  This certification can be listed on application materials for employment and will be officially noted on graduates' university transcripts.  To receive the Divinity School's Craft of Teaching certification, all requirements of the Craft of Teaching must be completed within a five-year period

  • Fulfill the departmental pedagogy requirement for the Chicago Center for Teaching's (CCTCertificate in University Teaching.  Please note that those who also wish to apply the Divinity School's Craft of Teaching program toward their CCT university-wide certification must complete all the requirements of the Craft of Teaching within a two-year period.

You can find out more about the certificate and its requirements here.

The Divinity School's Craft of Teaching program focuses on the area of religious studies and therefore supplements the cross-disciplinary teacher development offered by the University's Chicago Center for Teaching (CCT).  The CCT's programming is intended to develop core teaching competencies across disciplines, communicating the best insights and practices from the scholarship on teaching and learning more broadly, while the Craft of Teaching aims to prepare its participants for the unique possibilities and challenges of teaching the subject of religion.  The Divinity School recognizes that it takes the resources of an entire campus to develop outstanding teachers, and we therefore encourage our students to participate in the programs of the CCT in addition to those of the Craft of Teaching.     

Because it is designed to introduce participants to a range of topics in college teaching, the CCT's Workshop on Teaching in the College is a requirement of the Craft of Teaching.   It is the only external workshop required for completion of our program, and the other workshops and seminars offered by the CCT, while rewarding, cannot be counted toward the Craft of Teaching requirements.  For more about the Craft of Teaching requirements, see the requirements page.

In addition to the programming taking place througout the academic year at the Divinity School, the Craft of Teaching program is committed to supporting the broader conversation on religious studies pedagogy throughout the profession. In this spirit, there are several online arenas in which the Craft of Teaching seeks to connect Divinity School students and alumni with the challenges and opportunities animating the field.

  • The Craft of Teaching Blog: On the Craft of Teaching Blog, Divinity School alumni participate in an ongoing conversation tackling pedagogical topics raised by Craft of Teaching events from the perspective of the varied institutional contexts in which they work and teach. In 2014-15, our inaugural blogger in digital residence, Rebecca Raphael (PhD '97), produced a fascinating series of reflections on the powers and limits of the year's CoT programming through the lens of her own teaching experience. In each year since, a small cohort of early-career alumni has engaged in a diverse dialogue on the early years of being a religious studies educator.
  • @CoT_ReligionStay tuned to program announcements, updates, and pedagogical content from around the web by following our Twitter account -- and contribute by sharing questions, ideas, and articles that might advance the conversation.
  • Join us on Facebook: The Craft of Teaching not only has a Facebook page, we also have a members-only group for online conversation about pedagogy. We'll communicate event info, pedagogical tidbits, and occasional contests on the public page, while our FB group is intended as a semi-private place to post questions, share ideas, and otherwise confer about teaching and professionalization.  You could share your thoughts on the last Craft of Teaching seminar; or ask other teachers for advice about leading an upcoming discussion section; or post a link to an interesting article on the future of religious studies departments.  It will also be a fantastic place to connect with and ask questions of Div School alums on FB, who are eager to share their teaching experiences with current students.