Craft of Teaching

Our unique and innovative pedagogical curriculum—the Craft of Teaching in the Academic Study of Religion— aims to prepare future influencers by creating opportunities for students to learn about leadership, pedagogical techniques, and best practices in the classroom and beyond. The program seamlessly interweaves our commitment to preparing outstanding educators in the field of religious studies into the experience of graduate education. By offering a year-round program of seminars and workshops and by coordinating with the Chicago Center for Teaching, we sustain a vigorous conversation about the unique challenges and opportunities in religious studies pedagogy. We serve students in each of the Divinity School’s diverse areas of study.

On March 8, 2021, the Divinity School announced a major expansion of the program, now to be known as the John C. and Jane Colman Program in the Craft of Teaching, Leadership, and Service.


Teaching@Chicago Conference
Each year the Chicago Center for Teaching offers a half-day orientation for new teaching assistants to the culture, structure, and practices of teaching at the University of Chicago. Students are encouraged to participate in the fall of their second or third year of the PhD.

Introductory Workshops 
The faculty and guests who lead these workshops expect no prior knowledge from participants and aim to introduce new concepts and best practices for early career teaching. Students are required to complete five introductory workshops for the certificate.

Course Design and College Teaching
The Chicago Center for Teaching staff offers a quarter-long pedagogy course to introduce new teachers to literature on student learning and inclusive teaching techniques. Students design a course syllabus and reflect critically on their teaching practice. Students are encouraged to take this course in advance of teaching their first standalone course in the college or at another institution.

Advanced Workshops
The faculty and guests who lead these workshops cultivate a conversation that builds on student experiences in the classroom, as well as their ideas and questions. Some of these workshops incorporate a lecture, while others are seminar-based. Students are required to complete five advanced workshops for the certificate; they are encouraged to participate in these workshops during years four through six of the PhD.

Philosophy of Teaching Statement or Program Reflection The capstone element of the Craft of Teaching certificate is a formal reflection on teaching. Students may submit a Teaching Statement (a document required in most academic job applications) or a general reflection on what they learned in the program.


Divinity School doctoral students who successfully meet the minimum requirements of the Craft of Teaching Program will receive an official notification of completion on their university transcript, serving as evidence of their interest in and preparedness for teaching in the area of religion. Students will have access to a list of their completed seminars and workshops on their page. Completion of the program will also fulfill the departmental pedagogy requirement for the Chicago Center for Teaching’s College Teaching Certificate.