Dean’s Autumn 2015 Craft of Teaching Seminar with Trina Jones | The Craft of Teaching

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Trina Janiec Jones (Wofford College) had her dissertation colloquium in Swift Hall on September 12th, 2001. The events of the previous day not only impacted her colloquium, but eventually, also took her teaching career and scholarly interests in directions she never imagined while sitting in Regenstein working her way through Sanskrit declensions. Trained in Buddhist philosophy at the Divinity School, she soon found that every job for which she interviewed required that she create a course on Islam. Since her graduation from the Divinity School, she has taught at two liberal arts colleges, teaching courses that have required her to become more of a generalist than she anticipated. This seminar focused on an undergraduate course on interfaith engagement and religious pluralism that she recently co-taught, and used its syllabus as an entry point into broader questions related to the role of the teacher in the undergraduate religious studies classroom. How, for example, does one negotiate students’ desires to explore “religion” or “spirituality” with one’s own pedagogical desire to foster an atmosphere of academic rigor and critical thinking? What, ultimately, should the goals of an undergraduate religious studies course be?

The quarterly Dean’s Craft of Teaching Seminar is the flagship seminar of the Craft of Teaching program, centered on issues of course design and institutional context.

Katherine (Trina) Janiec Jones (AM, 1993; PhD, Philosophy of Religions, 2002) is an Associate Professor of Religion at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., where she also serves as the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Co-Curriculum. She has won several teaching awards, served on a leadership team at the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion (for a workshop for Pre-Tenure Religion Faculty and Colleges and Universities), and has consulted at several schools seeking to examine their introductory religious studies curricula (also through the Wabash Center). She was a recipient of an American Academy of Religion/Luce Foundation Fellowship in Theologies of Religious Pluralism and Comparative Theology and participated in a Seminar in Teaching Interfaith Understanding, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Interfaith Youth Core. She is also a co-author of a rubric focused on pluralism and worldview engagement (https://www.ifyc.org/resources/plural…), the research for which was funded by the Teagle Foundation.

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, and an extensive alumni network of decorated teachers to share our craft and to advance critical reflection on religious studies pedagogy.

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