PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

Floorplans of Annual Meeting Facilities (PDF)

Exhibit Hall Listing and Map (PDF)

Program Book Ads (PDF)

Annual Meeting At-A-Glance (PDF)

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Online Program Book

Sessions
A24-136
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: CANCELLED: Promises and Procrastination: How to Find Balance When Everyone and Everything Need You Now!

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A23-3
  • Especially for Students
  • Receptions/Breakfasts/Luncheons
Receptions/Breakfasts
Theme: New Members' Breakfast and Annual Meeting Orientation
Alice Hunt, American Academy of Religion, Presiding
Laurie Louise Patton, Middlebury College, Presiding
Saturday - 7:30 AM-8:45 AM
Convention Center-6F (Upper Level West)

New (first-time) AAR members in 2019 are cordially invited to a continental breakfast with members of the Board of Directors and a brief orientation to the AAR Annual Meeting. By invitation only.

Panelists:
Matt Vieson, American Academy of Religion
Robert N. Puckett, American Academy of Religion
A23-100
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Applied Religious Studies Committee
Theme: Another Plan A: Religious Studies Education and Careers beyond the Academy
Cristine Hutchison-Jones, Harvard University, Presiding
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-23C (Upper Level East)

Worried about the job market? Thinking that a career in higher ed no longer matches your interests and goals? Or just wondering about options? Join the Applied Religious Studies Committee for a discussion on career paths outside the academy. Panelists hold masters and doctoral degrees in a variety of religious studies and theology specializations and will discuss fields including: publishing and editing; freelance writing; nonprofits and foundations; government; religious communities; academic administration; and more. Panelists will discuss the ways faculty, departments, and the AAR might better support scholars as they consider careers beyond the academy. Come hear more about what graduate education in religious studies already does to prepare us for and enhance our practice of various careers, and help us think about what more the academy can and should do to support scholars in the pursuit of nonacademic work.

This panel will include substantial time for audience Q&A and discussion. Please join us to share your thoughts!

Panelists:
John Erickson, Claremont Graduate University
Kali Handelman, Independent Editor and Consultant, Independent
Unregistered Participant
Jenny Wiley Legath, Princeton University
Varun Soni, University of Southern California
A23-101
  • Especially for Students
  • Presidential Theme: Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces
Graduate Student Committee
Theme: Special Topics Forum Hosted by the Graduate Student Committee
Andrew Klumpp, Southern Methodist University, Presiding
Saturday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

How do scholars of religion engage with the public, and who is “the public?” In this roundtable, a panel of scholars will address how scholars of religion begin and sustain fruitful conversation within a variety of public contexts around questions of religion, with particular attention to the polarization of the cultural climate. Panelists will draw on their own experiences of using their expertise in diverse public settings, reflecting both individually and collectively on the challenges faced when engaging the public. This conversation will highlight a variety of contexts, including the classroom, print media, workshops, blogs, media appearances and faith communities. It will also consider both everyday interactions with religion in public spaces as well as how scholars of religion engage the public in moments of crisis or heightened political and cultural tension. The roundtable will allot significant time for discussion not only among panelists but also with the audience. This Special Topics Forum is sponsored by the Graduate Student Committee.

Panelists:
Kristy Slominski, University of Arizona
Omid Safi, Duke University
Jill DeTemple, Southern Methodist University
Unregistered Participant
Isaac Barnes May, University of Virginia
Rahuldeep Singh Gill, California Lutheran University
A23-138
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
  • Receptions/Breakfasts/Luncheons
Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer Persons in the Profession Committee
Theme: LGBTIQ Creating Connections Lunch
Thelathia Young, Bucknell University, Presiding
Saturday - 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Convention Center-7A (Upper Level West)

All students and junior scholars who identify outside of normative gender histories and/or sexualities are welcome to join us for an informal lunch. No fee or pre-registration is required. Please bring your own lunch; a cash-and-carry station will be available near the room for those wishing to buy their lunches onsite. The roundtable leaders listed were confirmed attendees as of April; other senior scholars in the field may be joining us as well.

Panelists:
Martin Kavka, Florida State University
Amanullah De Sondy, University College Cork
Roger A. Sneed, Furman University
Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Activist Theology Project
S.J. Crasnow, Rockhurst University
A23-217
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Contemporary Islam Unit, and Islam, Gender, Women Unit, and Islamic Mysticism Unit, and Qur'an Unit, and Study of Islam Unit
Theme: Mentoring and Networking Session
Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, University of Vermont, Presiding
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Aqua 313 (Third Level)

The Study of Islam Section, alongside the Contemporary Islam Unit, Islam, Gender, Women unit, the Islamic Mysticism unit, and the Qur'an unit, will host a mentoring session that targets graduate students and scholars in Islamic studies. The mentoring session will include brief plenary addresses from senior and mid-career scholars as well as interactive, small group conversations that focus on issues such as pedagogy, Islamophobia, racism, theology vs. religious studies, and job market preparation. Time will also be afforded for conversation and networking. As in past years, attendees will be able to select break-out sessions based on interest and need.

Panelists:
Elliott Bazzano, Le Moyne College
A23-202
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Employment Workshops
Theme: Skills for the Non-Faculty Job Search
Maren Wood, Beyond the Professoriate, Presiding
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Sapphire 410B (Fourth Level)

Join the co-creator of Beyond the Professoriate, Dr. Maren Wood, to explore strategies for success and career opportunities beyond the faculty job search. Specifically, this dynamic and interactive workshop will cover CV to resume building, networking and social media presence, and will focus on building and marketing skills for diverse career paths!

Sponsored by the Applied Religious Studies Committee.

A23-207
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Love Thy Neighbour and Thyself: Recognising and Cultivating Mental and Emotional Health for Students and Self
Saturday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

The stigma of mental health struggles doesn’t stop at the threshold of the classroom—for students or for staff. Faced with a tightrope of when and what to disclose about one’s condition, students often suffer and fail to thrive due to a fear that their medical diagnoses or extenuating emotional situations (which include the ever-increasing stress of simply being in the world, let along the Academy) will either not be taken seriously, or will come with a degree of prejudice that may follow into marking or recommendation-writing. Similarly, staff and faculty can find themselves in a similar situation on the flip-side of that relationship, struggling with their own diagnoses or situations and when/where/how to divulge them (if at all), and/or trying to support students who may or may not feel comfortable being forthcoming with their own struggling. In this conversational workshop, I aim to discuss and brainstorm a) signs to watch for in students and colleagues who may be struggling with mental/emotional pressures, b) compassionate and respectful ways to respond without overstepping boundaries, and c) ways to cultivate better mental and emotional health inside and beyond the classroom for one’s students, one’s peers, one’s colleagues, and oneself.

Panelists:
Katelynn Carver, University of Saint Andrews
A23-302
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
Employment Workshops
Theme: Who Am I? Disclosing Your Identity in the Academic Job Search
Karen Kelsky, The Professor Is In, Presiding
Saturday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-206 (Second Level)

In this 90 minute informal and interactive workshop, Karen Kelsky of the Professor Is In will discuss considerations around disclosing aspects of personal identity on the job search, as well as issues related to navigating identities in the evaluation of, application to, and negotiation of academic jobs. We will look specifically at challenges that arise around race, nationality, class, immigration status, illness, disability, sexual identity, and gender identity and history, and consider the pros and cons of disclosure, considerations of timing and approach, and dealing with bias, microaggressions, and tokenization/objectification. There are no "right answers" in this evolving and very personal process; the goal of the workshop is to open space for dialogue to prompt guiding questions and insights moving forward.

Sponsored by the Applied Religious Studies Committee.

Panelists:
Karen Kelsky, The Professor Is In
A23-306
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Mastering Online Education: Effective and Engaging Teaching in a Digital Classroom
Saturday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

Many colleges and universities are turning their attention to online and hybrid education in order both to expand their student body and accommodate students who are interested in furthering their education but unable to attend as fulltime residential students. This workshop draws on years of experience in digital classrooms to highlight some of the basics of online education from the perspective of a practitioner. It emphasizes key considerations about course design, communication with students, classroom management in an online setting, best practices for student engagement, disability accommodations, and a few tips and tricks learned through years of experience. This workshop proposes a guided conversation during which each of the above topics is discussed briefly with encouragement for students to offer their own questions and insights. In addition to addressing student concerns, this discussion will also highlight current scholarship on best practices in online education and particular challenges associated with digital classrooms and online education.

Panelists:
Andrew Klumpp, Southern Methodist University
A23-402
  • Books under Discussion
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Presidential Theme: Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces
  • Professional Development
Applied Religious Studies Committee
Theme: Considering Careers and Success outside of Academy: A Book Discussion with Kelly J. Baker
Shreena Gandhi, Michigan State University, Presiding
Saturday - 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Aqua 313 (Third Level)

Not every PhD becomes a professor. Some never want to, but a growing number discover too late that there's little room in the academy for them or it's not a good fit for what they want their careers to be. They also might find that they are not prepared for a job hunt outside of the ivory tower. But religious studies scholars can shift into work outside the academy.

Join Kelly J. Baker, co-editor of the 2018 book “Succeeding Outside the Academy: Career Paths beyond the Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM” (University Press of Kansas, 2018) for a discussion of the book, including the diverse career options for religious studies scholars. Panelists will also reflect on why scholars leave the academy, share their experiences on their own professional paths, and consider how we should be preparing grad students for diverse careers.

Panelists:
Kelly J. Baker, Women in Higher Education
Heidi Ippolito, University of Denver
Sarah "Moxy" Moczygemba, University of Florida
Hussein Rashid, Islamicate, LLC
Mary Beth Yount, Neumann University
A23-403
  • Especially for Students
  • Receptions/Breakfasts/Luncheons
Graduate Student Committee
Theme: AAR/SBL Graduate Student Happy Hour
Saturday - 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Convention Center-7B (Upper Level West)

Free drinks anyone? Graduate student members of the AAR and SBL are invited to a low-key gathering where you can meet with other graduate students, connect with your AAR/SBL student reps, and get a free drink on us! Sponsored by the AAR Graduate Student Committee and the SBL Student Advisory Board.

A24-100
  • Especially for Students
Graduate Student Committee
Theme: Graduate Student Committee Business Meeting
Rachel Toombs, Baylor University, Presiding
Sunday - 9:00 AM-9:30 AM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

Attention graduate students! We will be holding our annual business meeting in the Student Lounge. We encourage you to attend the meeting, connect with your regional AAR student directors, and share your requests, concerns and/or suggestions for AAR’s 2020 Annual Meeting with the Graduate Student Committee. If there are items you want to be sure are discussed, email Rachel Toombs, AAR Student Director, before the meeting: rstoombs@gmail.com

A24-138
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
  • Receptions/Breakfasts/Luncheons
Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee and Status of Women in the Profession Committee
Theme: Women's Mentoring Lunch
Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University, Presiding
Swasti Bhattacharyya, Buena Vista University, Presiding
Sunday - 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Convention Center-6B (Upper Level West)

Women who are graduate students and new scholars are invited to a luncheon with womanist, feminist, and LGBTIQ mid-career and senior scholars. Women will have the opportunity to mentor and be mentored in a context where every question is valued. Table discussion topics include: On the Job Market; Working Toward Tenure; Publishing Your Book; Parenting in the Academy; Navigating Oppression in the Academy; Contingent Faculty; Careers Beyond the Academy; Getting Through Grad School; Scholar-Activism; Journal Publishing; and Learning to Say No. The Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee and the Status of Women in the Profession Committee take an inclusive view of our constituency and welcomes all participants who are impacted by womanhood through embodiment and/or gender presentation, including transgender and nonbinary people. Registration for the lunch costs $15 per person and is limited to 100 people.

To register for this luncheon, choose "Women's Mentoring Luncheon" in the “Options” section when registering for the Annual Meeting. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting, you may contact reg@aarweb.org to reserve your lunch.

Mary Churchill, Sonoma State University
Contingent Faculty

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Aysha Hidayatullah, University of San Francisco
Getting through Grad School

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Jung Ha Kim, Georgia State University
Learning to Say No

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Boyung Lee, Iliff School of Theology
On the Job Market

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Kimberly Majeski, Anderson University
Scholar-Activism

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Joyce Ann Mercer, Yale University Divinity School
Journal Publishing

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Valerie Miles-Tribble, American Baptist Seminary of the West
Navigating Oppression in the Academy

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Elaine Padilla, University of La Verne
TBD

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Leah Payne, George Fox University
Parenting and the Academy

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Rebecca Todd Peters, Elon University
TBD

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Carolyn Roncolato, Interfaith Youth Core
Careers Beyond the Academy

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Angella Son, Drew University
Publishing Your Book

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Unregistered Participant
Working Toward Tenure

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A24-203
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Surviving and Even Enjoying Comprehensive Exams
Sunday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

The first major hurdle through the PhD process, the qualifying or comprehensive exams, can be an extremely daunting experience. However, with enough preparation and guidance, they can be approached and conquered with a relative amount of calm and determination. Based in personal experience, countless conversations with faculty and other graduate students, and research on preparation strategies, this roundtable will discuss effective tactics for approaching the exams from the first stages of envisioning the exams all the way through the defense. Participants will come away with proven effective strategies concerning how to use coursework to their advantage, how to cultivate a reading list, how to study without going overboard, and how to make the actual process of sitting the exams and the defense as painless as possible. Time will be reserved at the end for the creation of personal timelines to plan for the exams.

Panelists:
Gwendolyn Gillson, Oberlin College
A24-302
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Employment Workshops
Theme: Preparing for the Non-Academic Career
Karen Kelsky, The Professor Is In, Presiding
Sunday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-26B (Upper Level East)

In this 90 minute workshop, Karen Kelsky of the Professor Is In will discuss strategies for non-academic job hunting, and the emotional and logistical barriers that often inhibit Ph.D.s from trying. Sponsored by the Applied Religious Studies Committee.

Panelists:
Karen Kelsky, The Professor Is In
A24-306
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Teaching the ABCs While Earning Your PhD: How To Live Well While Navigating the Pressures of Parenting and Doctoral Work
Sunday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

This workshop offers strategies for navigating the pressures of doctoral work combined with the demands and pleasures of family life. It also seeks to create an environment for creative sharing and brainstorming about ways to both succeed academically while still thriving personally. Attendees can expect to leave with tangible suggestions for scheduling their time, re-imagining where and how work happens, and how to match goals with priorities in order to meet the demands of PhD life while also making space to care for one’s self, nurture important relationships, and raise children. This workshop will provide a one-sheet handout with suggestions for creating support networks, making schedules that work for you, channeling your built-in resources, learning to multi-task efficiently and identify when to focus on a single task, take breaks and be present to enjoy life. These tips will come from a wide swath of resources, from Brigid Schulte’s book Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One has the Time, to high performance coaches like Brendon Burchard, to mindfulness teachers like Thich Nhat Hanh. Additionally, I will draw upon my own experiences as a PhD candidate, mom and wife who successfully navigated coursework, comprehensive exams, the beginnings of dissertation research, and even potty training with twin preschoolers.

Panelists:
Marie Purcell, Southern Methodist University
A24-403
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Surviving Theological Education without Losing Your Soul: Spiritual Practices for Students
Sunday - 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

Our outward quest for success in higher education often comes at a high cost to our interior life and we find ourselves exhausted, spread thin, and wondering why we began this quest in the first place. This roundtable session - appropriate for those of any worldview, will identify the deep needs at the core of your being, suggest practices that nourish the well of creativity and life within you (which ironically brought you to higher education in the first place), and clarify the unique-to-you rhythms that keep the inner and outer parts of your life in balance. As informative as it is formative, this session will leave you centered, refreshed, and inspired for the journey ahead. Come remember who you are and why you are here. Savoy Stevens is a certified spiritual director and member of Spiritual Directors International - an ecumenical and interfaith professional organization. She has also completed postgraduate coursework in interfaith studies. 

Panelists:
Savoy Stevens, Campbell, CA
A25-101
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Applied Religious Studies Committee
Theme: Career Services for Non-Academic Careers
Amy Defibaugh, Temple University, Presiding
Monday - 9:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-28A (Upper Level East)

When humanities scholars talk about exploring and pursuing “alt-ac” and “post-ac” careers, two concerns often dominate the conversation: 1) Graduate studies in the humanities don’t prepare us for or aren’t relevant to non-academic career paths, and 2) We don’t know where to look for or how to apply for non-academic jobs. Whether you are a scholar thinking about non-academic careers or a faculty member interested in supporting students engaged in such searches, join our panel of career services experts to discuss the many careers that are open to — and even looking for! — people with advanced training in the humanities. Panelists will discuss existing resources and where to find them, as well as ways that departments, universities, and professional organizations like the AAR can better support scholars in non-academic careers.

This panel will include substantial time for audience Q&A and discussion. Please join us to share your thoughts!

Panelists:
Giulia Hoffman, University of California, San Diego
Maren Wood, Beyond the Professoriate
A25-141
  • Especially for Students
  • Presidential Theme: Scholarly Workers in Public Spaces
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Humanizing the PhD Process: Loving to Learn and Learning to Love
Monday - 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

For several years the AAR has asked its members what it means to be public scholars of religion in our current context. This question assumes that the academy itself sits outside of the violent and oppressive relational structures that it so diligently seeks to resist, yet many graduate student members of the AAR continue to experience dehumanizing pedagogical and relational structures of oppression throughout their PhD process. This often leaves students feeling isolated, full of despair, and stripped of their original passion for their subject matter. This Student Lounge Roundtable takes the cries of graduate students seriously and asks whether the academy can credibly talk about what it means to be effective public scholars of religion while transmitting dehumanizing relational structures from one generation of scholars to the next? We ask ourselves, why should the public even listen to us when we often reflect the exact same relational structures of harm? We need to address the internal root issues before we can talk about our external relationships to whatever people like to define as "the public." During this workshop participants will learn about, discuss, and reflect (as they are comfortable) on at least three initial steps that individuals and institutions might begin to take in order to re-humanize the PhD process so that the academy may start to do the difficult internal work necessary to cultivate scholars of hope rather than scholars of despair. Participants are encouraged to bring a journal or notebook in which to write personal reflections and will be invited to share in the process of envisioning how to humanize the pedagogical and relational structures of the PhD process.

Panelists:
Tekoa Robinson, Lancaster Theological Seminary
Anabel Proffitt, Lancaster Theological Seminary
A25-144
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
  • Receptions/Breakfasts/Luncheons
Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee
Theme: Connecting Conversations Luncheon
Darla Schumm, Hollins University, Presiding
Monday - 11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Convention Center-6B (Upper Level West)

The Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee (PWD) will host a luncheon for scholars and students with disabilities, as well as anyone interested in disability issues in the Academy. The luncheon will offer opportunities for mentoring and informal connections with colleagues. Registration for the lunch costs $15 and is limited to 60 people.

To register for this luncheon, choose "PWD Connecting Conversations Luncheon" in the “Options” section when registering for the Annual Meeting. If you have already registered for the Annual Meeting, you may contact reg@aarweb.org to reserve your lunch.

A25-201
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Employment Workshops
Theme: Aurora, a New E-Learning Platform: An Information Session with Co-Creator, Maren Wood
Maren Wood, Beyond the Professoriate, Presiding
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Aqua 311A (Third Level)

Aurora is an eLearning Platform from Beyond the Professoriate -- accessible free for members of the AAR! -- that provides graduate students and institutions with on-demand, self-paced learning modules to explore career options and discover ways to apply the skills acquired through their education. Join co-creator Maren Wood as she explores and explains the features of this new platform for both graduate students and their institutions.

Sponsored by the Applied Religious Studies Committee.

A25-204
  • Especially for Students
  • Professional Development
Student Lounge Roundtable
Theme: Right on the Money: Funding Your Research and Program of Study
Monday - 1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Convention Center-14B (Mezzanine Level)

I currently work as the Scholarship Research Assistant for my school and assist students to find and apply for funds to support their work. In this workshop, I will share best practices for finding what you are eligible to apply for, creating a compelling application, and designing an overall strategy for supporting yourself and your work financially. I also have experience as a grant writer and will share best practices, tips, and techniques for grant-writing more generally. I will cover topics including how to balance your own interests with funders’ priorities and guidelines, communicating clearly and persuasively, and creating a budget that will work for you and speak to your funder.

Panelists:
Sheryl Johnson, Graduate Theological Union
A25-300
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Committee and Graduate Student Committee and Teaching Religion Unit
Theme: Teaching Unfamiliar Topics
Kathleen Fisher, Assumption College, Presiding
Monday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Indigo 202A (Second Level)

In collaboration with the Graduate Student Committee and the Academic Labor and Contingent Faculty Working Group, the Teaching Religion Unit is facilitating conversations about teaching unfamiliar topics and/or teaching outside one’s research area. This session will take place as conversations around tables focused on particular areas or courses. We anticipate that our presenters and participants bring a range of pedagogical experience and research knowledge to each table so that faculty currently engaged in teaching unfamiliar topics, faculty who anticipate teaching outside their research subjects, and future faculty, including graduate students, can share tips, tricks, and sources.

Alyssa Beall, West Virginia University
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Academia: Navigating Alien Courses, and Surviving.

Successfully negotiating an academic career can require a vast number of changes to the courses you teach, and how you teach them. This presentation examines the multiple factors that impact entry-level academic positions, and how veering from (or adding to) an intended specialization in the field can be both professionally useful, and personally rewarding.

Emily Bennett, Bellevue University, Central Community College
Teaching Unfamiliar Topics

I will discuss teaching as contingent faculty in the small college/department environment, having taught multiple topics outside of my research area. I will facilitate a conversation focusing on resources for course preparation, the challenge of having confidence as an instructor, and how teaching unfamiliar topics present opportunities for enhancing one’s pedagogical practices and learning. Teaching an unfamiliar topic is an opportunity to thinking creatively about learning activities and to model lifelong learning.

Matthew Hotham, Ball State University
Teaching Islam across the Curriculum: Strategies for Enhancing Teaching about Islam beyond the Religious Studies Classroom

This paper discusses the successes and struggles of a 2019 faculty development workshop titled “Teaching Islam Across the Curriculum” (TIAC). According to a 2018 survey, 45 faculty members at Ball State University (BSU), in departments spanning from Criminal Justice to Architecture, teach about Islam. The majority expressed a lack of confidence when teaching the subject. This survey demonstrated that most teaching about Islam at BSU happens outside of religious studies classrooms, led by faculty with no formal training in the subject who feel insecure about this. TIAC addressed this by inviting ten faculty members to participate in an 1-week workshop. Through creating an environment for faculty conversation and collaboration, TIAC takes a first step toward improving the quality and quantity of teaching about Islam across the BSU curriculum. This paper will discuss the contours of the workshop, future changes and adaptations, and strategies for implementing similar programs at other institutions.

Anne Blankenship, North Dakota State University
Strategies for Teaching Unfamiliar Topics

My approach to teaching a less familiar topic is twofold: First, I define the most valuable skills and material that students need to know. I chose three priorities that became outcomes for all of my courses. Second, I borrow course templates and assignments from my existing courses. For example, when I agreed to teach Global Islam, I used my History of Christianity course as a template to orient the tradition-based topic. This meets my desired outcome for understanding global diversity. Common outcomes across courses means that assignments can generally be duplicated as well. Because I want my students to be savvy consumers of media, we begin class meetings in most courses with current event presentations. There is no need for us to reinvent the wheel with each new course, particularly if we have consistent pedagogical aims.

Beth Ritter-Conn, Belmont University
Learning to Swim: How to Survive in the Deep End When Teaching Unfamiliar Course Material

In many liberal arts universities, the population of part-time adjunct instructors employed to teach introductory courses vastly outnumbers the full-time faculty. Most of these instructors teach courses outside their primary field but receive little training in how to teach these courses effectively. By focusing on broader learning goals, appealing to the power of story, and emphasizing real-life application by incorporating experiential learning, instructors can navigate the choppy waters of unfamiliar topics more easily and provide excellent learning experiences for their students.

Responding:
Aaron Ghiloni, University of Queensland
A25-302
  • Especially for Students
  • Focus on Employment
  • Professional Development
Employment Workshops
Theme: Purpose Based: A Success Strategy for a Job Search beyond the Academy
Monday - 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Hilton Bayfront-Indigo C (Second Level)

This workshop is for graduate students and PhDs in Religion and Theology actively seeking employment to help them consider career opportunities beyond academia and to develop a customized strategy for a successful job search. We will apply an approach that builds on the work of Harvard Business School’s Nick Craig and Scott Snook alongside my qualitative research and professional experience. The goal of this workshop is to help career seekers engage in an effective ‘purpose-based’ job search so they not only find a career beyond the academy, they find one that uniquely suits their skills, abilities and interests which, in turn, leads to more fulfillment in their work. By the end of this workshop, each participant will have developed a customized strategy for a successful search process.

Panelists:
Robin L. Owens, Mount Saint Mary's University