2025 Workshop

2025 Hybrid Teaching and Learning Workshop

Community as Classroom: Digital Strategies for Theological Exploration

Application Dates:

Opens: August 1, 2024
Deadline: September 27, 2024

Schedule of Sessions

  • In-person Retreat: January 8 – 11
  • Session 1: February 28, 11:00am – 1:30pm ET
  • Session 2: March 21, 11:00am – 1:30pmET
  • Session 3: April 25, 11:00am – 1:30pmET
  • Session 4: May 30, 11:00am — 1:30pm ET 
  • Session 5: August 1, 11:00am – 1:30pmET
  • In-person Retreat: September 3 – 6   

**During the break in June and July, participants will have the opportunity to continue to engage with one another through a series of asynchronous learning activities.  

Leadership Team

Dr. Ryan Bonfiglio, Executive Director of The Candler Foundry 
Ms. Cristha Lea, Creative Producer for The Candler Foundry

Participants

TBD

Wabash Center Staff Contact:
Sarah Farmer, Ph.D
Associate Director
Wabash Center 
301 West Wabash Ave. 
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
farmers@wabash.edu

Description of Experience 

Long before the first seminary was founded, the earliest expressions of Christian theological exploration were designed to foster learning and formation within local communities and outside of formal academic degree programs. While much has changed since that time, situating theological exploration within and for local communities today has the potential to transform our teaching. Imagining the community as a classroom would not only call for new digital strategies and pedagogical models, but also paradigm shifts in how we think about the aims, purposes, and modalities of theological education in the 21st century. This Wabash workshop series, offered in partnership with The Candler Foundry at Emory University, invites religious and theological faculty to learn about and reflect on strategies and practices of community-based theological exploration. We will engage questions such as:  

  • What digital strategies and pedagogical models are needed for effective theological exploration in and with local communities? 
  • In what ways can our teaching in a traditional academic classroom be improved by engaging public and digital audiences?
  • How can we understand the local community not just as a new audience for theological education, but as a source and generator of theological wisdom and knowledge? 
  • What can we learn from practitioners outside of theological and religious studies about best practices in public-facing teaching? 
  • How can creating opportunities for theological exploration in communities sustain and strengthen academic institutions? 

The series begins with an in-person retreat in Atlanta followed by five online sessions. The series concludes with another in-person gathering in Atlanta. Participants will design a digital teaching project (e.g., course, curriculum, TED-style talk, podcast series, asynchronous learning module, website, etc.) that is intended for and/or engages with a community context of their choosing. The subject matter of the pedagogical resource can be related to any area of the participant’s teaching and research interests. The resource should make use of digital strategies and pedagogical models rooted in best practices of community-based theological exploration. Participants will submit a brief proposal of their project after the third online session. During the final in-person gathering, participants will share their teaching projects and receive feedback from workshop leaders and other participants.

Goals: 

  • to discern how community partnerships and collaboration can be effective tools for teaching and theological exploration
  • to identify and uproot analog thinking in our approach to pedagogical design and delivery
  • to experiment with best practices related to digital pedagogy and teaching outside of traditional academic degree programs
  • to provide a space for participants to reflect on how community-based theological exploration expands and challenges their sense of vocation
  • to cultivate a supportive community of colleagues who are committed to innovative approaches to community-based teaching and scholarship

Startup Funds for Digital Teaching Project 

Participants will have access to up to $1500 for the purchase of equipment, hosted software, and/or other resources that will enhance their ability to create high-quality digital materials for teaching in and beyond this workshop series. Applications for these startup funds will be processed once participants’ teaching projects have been proposed.  

Eligibility

  • Tenure track, continuing term, or full-time contingency faculty
  • 3+ years of teaching experience in a tenure track, full time, or other continuing position
  • Teaching in any area of religious or theological studies in an accredited college, university, or seminary in the United States, Puerto Rico, or Canada
  • Institutional support and personal commitment to participate fully in both in-person and online workshop sessions

Application Materials

  • Application contact information form
  • Cover letter (less than 300 words)
    • An introductory letter describing your current teaching context and why you want to be part of this workshop series.
  • Brief essay (less than 500 words)
    • Describe a course or learning activity you designed that was either taught in a community setting (church, museum, library, non-profit, etc.) or engaged local community members as teachers and/or learners. What pedagogical and digital strategies did you employ? What challenges did you encounter and what questions or insights emerged from your experience?  
  • Academic CV (4-page limit)
  • A letter of institutional support for your full participation in this workshop from your Department Chair, Academic Dean, Provost, Vice President, or President. Please have this recommendation uploaded directly to your application according to the online application instructions. 

Honorarium

Participants will receive an honorarium of $3,500 for full participation in the hybrid workshop. 

Wabash Center