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Wabash Center Blogs
We support teachers of religion and theology in higher education.
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I have a couple of friends who are really into "Talk Like a Pirate Day" (September 19 in case you're wondering). One dresses up like a pirate for the day (in Johnny Depp "Pirates of the Caribbean" style) and plays the part to the hilt, sometimes visiting local elementary schools... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Theological School Deans
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Jeanne P. McLean's seminal work on the role of the academic dean as an act of "leading from the center" is apt and resonates with those of us who have experienced the job. But in the whirlwind of the experience of leading form the center, one may well ask, "the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at Theological School Deans
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Willie Niegro was the shipping supervisor at the warehouse where I worked summers during high school. He'd been there over 20 years, overseeing the shipping of crates and pallets out the truck bays at the rear of the warehouse. He was a cheerful character and took pride in his work.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at Theological School Deans
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Deans sometimes have a tough time saying "No." Many just need to be liked too much and few want to be seen as the resident Scrooge who is miserly with resources. Yet, there is no end of requests that come across the dean's desk. It's not uncommon for a dean... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2014 at Theological School Deans
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I have been a lifelong doodler. In fact, my college class notes look more like sketchbooks than notebooks (and the doodles are the only reason I’ve kept some of my college notes). Even today pencil and sketchpad are not far from reach in the event an idle moment provides opportunity... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at Theological School Deans
As “Chief Academic Officers” (CAO) theological school deans provide oversight for the development of an effective curriculum. They are challenged to lead Faculty to develop a course of study that can demonstrably prepare clergy and church leaders for the current, and future, needs and challenges of the Church and church-related... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2014 at Theological School Deans
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Theological school deans wear many hats, and, depending on the context, some more than others: administrator, supervisor, assessor, policies and accreditation compliance officer, faculty cat-herder, student advisor, pastoral counselor and resident chaplain. One key role for the theological school dean is that of educational leader. Often, that means being the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2013 at Theological School Deans
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Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary. He also writes for the Wabash Center's Blog for Theological School Deans. Like many others, I started my teaching career emulating those who taught me, and, uncritically imitating the way they taught. By and large, that meant passing... Continue reading
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Lea F. Schweitz, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology/Religion and Science, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago As a teacher, whenever I utter the words, “Okay class, please get into your small working groups,” I remember the sense of dread that I felt when I heard those words as a student.... Continue reading
Robert Williamson Jr. is Margaret Berry Hutton Odyssey Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Hendrix College in Conway, AR The previous post identified three possibilities for using Twitter in class. It is only fair that I also explore three pitfalls for using Twitter to lecture less while teaching more 1.... Continue reading
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Robert Williamson Jr. is Margaret Berry Hutton Odyssey Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark For several years now, I have experimented with using social media to improve student learning. I began with an exercise using Twitter to teach reader-oriented biblical interpretation (see my recent article... Continue reading
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To help Faculty make better curricular decisions, philosophical, programmatic, and pragmatic, Deans need to help Faculty understand the curriculum as a whole. Rather than seeing a theological curriculum as a series of topical courses, the mission of the seminary is best served when Faculty understand the academic curriculum as an... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2013 at Theological School Deans
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Eric D. Barreto, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary The Apostle Paul lived in a world full of visual media. From inscriptions to monuments, the ancient world was a bonanza of sights. Our students today also live in a world dominated by visual media. From websites to television, our... Continue reading
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G. Brooke Lester, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Scriptures, and Director for Emerging Pedagogies, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Time was, my Biblical Hebrew students and I sweated grimly in a thrice-weekly race against time. But now, with the lectures recorded (as voice-narrated Keynote/PowerPoint presentations) and moved outside of the classroom as homework,... Continue reading
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Kwok Pui-lan, William F. Cole Professor of Christian Theology and Spirituality at the Episcopal Divinity School What if you were to stage a debate on the black Christ, instead of giving a lecture on James Cone’s black theology? If you haven’t used debate in class, I encourage you to try... Continue reading
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Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary We all know that our students’ social and religious contexts shape the way they understand the Bible – in theory, at least. But how do we bring that knowledge into the classroom? This question is particularly acute in a diverse... Continue reading
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Wil Gafney, Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia As the saying goes, “sometimes the old ways are best.” (Eve Moneypenny and James Bond in Skyfall, 2012) Hevruta is a venerable pedagogy that places mutual student learning at the center of the classroom. In... Continue reading
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Grace Ji-Sun Kim What are your favorite pastimes? Does it include a night with friends at your favorite restaurant or is it watching a movie at home, on the sofa, with snacks? Imagine your college class with movie and a grade. That’s the good life. Seminary life isn’t quite like... Continue reading
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Kate Blanchard, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Alma College The main reason I don’t lecture is cowardice, plain and simple. I have never felt brilliant or knowledgeable or charismatic enough to carry a course on my own. Thankfully, though, I teach in a small department in a small institution where... Continue reading
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Curricular integration remains a desire and challenge for many faculty and deans. Additionally, accreditation standards call for integration in a curriculum course of study, and increasingly, accrediting agencies call for evidence of demonstrable integration of the curriculum on the part of students. For example the Association of Theological Schools identifies... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2013 at Theological School Deans
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Lynn Neal is Associate Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University I was sitting around the seminar table with eighteen students in a course on religion and popular culture. To get the discussion started, I asked them about the results of their web-based research on firsthand accounts of becoming a... Continue reading
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Monica A. Coleman is Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology. Pedagogical Confession: I learn from lectures. I’m one of those people for whom the traditional academy was made. I listen to lectures on audiofiles (and I have since I was a teenager).... Continue reading
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Deepak Sarma, Professor of South Asian religions and philosophy at Case Western Reserve University My unpleasant memories of middle school English classes are made much worse when I recall how some teachers taught poetry and prose by picking “important” passages and pontificating about them. Learning to “read” poetry was essentially... Continue reading
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Curriculum integration is an ideal theological school Faculties desire, and sometimes, strive for. Unfortunately, without intentional curriculum design, integration happens more by happenstance and serendipity than by well-crafted intent. Sometimes faculty members attempt occasional team teaching as a way to "integrate" learning. But those efforts tend to be more about... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2013 at Theological School Deans
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Karyn L. Wiseman is the Associate Professor of Homiletics at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. One of my goals is to be as creative as I can be – in my preaching and teaching. I have not always thought that I was creative, but I have come to appreciate my... Continue reading