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The Craft of Teaching

The Craft of Teaching (CoT) is the Divinity School's program of pedagogical development for its graduate students, dedicated to preparing a new generation of accomplished educators in the field of religious studies.  We bring together Divinity School faculty, current students, invited guests, and an extensive alumni network of decorated teachers to share strategies, develop skills, and advance critical reflection relating to religious studies pedagogy. Find out more here, or browse our program schedule and multimedia library. Craft of Teaching workshops are open to the whole university community, within and beyond the Divinity School.

  • Winter 2017 schedule is live!

Check out our upcoming programs here.

  • Celebrate five years of the Craft of Teaching program

This winter marks the fifth anniversary of the Craft of Teaching program. Please join us for a festive reception and short program of remarks and awards: Thursday, February 9, 4:30-7:30 [note date change], Swift Hall Common Room. For more information, and to RSVP, please click through to our EventBrite page.

 
Sean Hannan_0.jpgCheck out the latest blog post by Anne Mocko (Concordia College) here: "Learning from New American Neighbors"
 
For the 2016-2017 academic year, five University of Chicago Divinity School-trained educators are invited to provide their unique insights as faculty members. Our Bloggers in Virtual Residence engage with some of the topics addressed by this year's CoT programming and discuss some of their own teaching experiences.
  • The Craft of Teaching has its first publication! (September, 2015)

Hearty congratulations to the graduate student Craft of Teaching participants who have been featured in a co-authored publication in the most recent volume of Teaching Theology and Religion! After the Spring 2015 workshop, "The Art of the Approach: Negotiating Hard Choices in Introductory Course Design," Prof. Russell McCutcheon, our guest for the workshop, invited four Divinity School graduate students to respond to the essay version of his presentation and collaborate on a forum-style submission to the journal. The publication, entitled "Crafting the Introductory Course in Religious Studies," consists of Prof. McCutcheon's essay, the four Divinity School responses (by Andrew Durdin, Kelli Gardner, Adam Miller, and Emily Crews), and an introduction by Aaron Hollander, Program Coordinator for the Craft of Teaching. Download the publication from the journal here and we'll keep you apprised of further interventions in the field of religious studies pedagogy by Craft of Teaching participants.

John and Jane Colman, long-time friends and supporters of the Divinity School, have made a generous gift of $900,000 to endow the Craft of Teaching.  The entire Divinity School community is deeply appreciative of their vision and leadership. Read more here

 

Teaching Islam as a Nonspecialist (with the Islamic Studies Workshop)

Friday, February 24, 1:30-3:30 pm, Swift 208

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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.


The Logic of Lessons: Instructor Preparation and Student Learning [Arts of Teaching]

Tuesday, March 7, 4:30-6:00 pm, S208

blank-Puzzle.jpgPedagogy 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?

More information on advance preparation for this workshop is forthcoming.

For the remainder of the quarter's events, see our full schedule

Featured Content:

Beyond Polarization: Professor Martin Marty on Strategies for Public Engagement

Monday, April 27, 4:00-5:30 pm, Swift Hall Common Room

Reflecting on a lifetime of public engagement, Prof. Marty discusses concrete strategies for communicating with broader audiences and for enhancing public discourse as scholars of religion.  Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


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

Rebecca ChoppLed by Dean Laurie Patton (PhD, History of Religions, 1991), this pedagogy seminar focuses on a graduate course on the theory of comparison: "The Very Idea of Comparing Religions." Dean Patton, the incoming President of Middlebury College, leads 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.  Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Chancellor Rebecca Chopp (Winter 2015)

Thursday, February 12 from 12:00-2:00 PM in the Swift Common Room

Rebecca ChoppLed 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. Click here to download mp3 audio of this event.

 

 

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Joanne Maguire Robinson (Autumn 2014): "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.  

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Dean's Craft of Teaching Seminar with Jonathan Z. Smith (Winter 2013)

February 27, 2013

jzsmith3.jpgLed by Prof. Jonathan Z. Smith, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor of the Humanities, Associate Faculty in the Divinity School, and author of a collection of essays on pedagogy entitled On Teaching Religion: Essays by Jonathan Z. Smith (edited by Christopher Lehrich; Oxford UP, 2012).  Prof. Smith discusses his approach to pedagogy especially in relation to the Introduction to Religious Studies course that he taught in the College.

If you experience any technical difficulties with this video or would like to make an accessibility-related request, please send a message to craftofteaching@uchicago.edu.


Visit our Multimedia Library for audio and video of more Craft of Teaching events.

Craft of Teaching requirements for Divinity School doctoral students:

  • Participation in the Chicago Center for Teaching's annual Teaching@Chicago Conference.

  • Participation at three Dean's Quarterly Craft of Teaching Seminars

  • Participation in three Arts of Teaching Workshops

  • Participation in at least five additional Craft of Teaching programs of your choosing

  • Submission of a Philosophy of Teaching Statement

Download the printable self-tracking sheet available in Word format or PDF.  For additional details, see the Program Requirements page.

For detailed descriptions of upcoming events, please see our schedule page.

For more information about the Craft of Teaching, please contact: craftofteaching@uchicago.edu

Aaron Hollander
Program Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching
University of Chicago Divinity School
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Maureen Kelly
Associate Coordinator, The Craft of Teaching
University of Chicago Divinity School