Seasons of a Teaching Career

Episode Three: Creativity, Imagination, and Fears: Becoming a Generative Scholar

Series One: Episode 3 of 3:
It takes time to unfurl from the processes of a doctoral program and lower the anxieties created in a job search. Now that you are an early career colleague, in what ways might you decompress and create strategies for bringing your genuine voice into your classroom? What does it take to shed the impulse of conformity and work for your own distinctive generativity? In aspiring for a lifelong teaching career, who might be your mentors, conversation partners, and guides? Rather than reduce teaching to perfunctory tasks, what does it mean to develop the artistry of teaching? As an early career scholar, what does it mean to live into your own imagination, creativity, and courage for teaching?

Dr. Leah Payne
Portland Seminary, George Fox University

Dr. Roger Nam
Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield
Wabash Center of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Dialogue On Teaching

Controversy of Thought

What does it mean when scholars of religion are forbidden from teaching about racism? Who is harmed and what problems are created when sophisticated and common-sense approaches to race are part of the curricular experience? In what new ways is tenure necessary for scholars who risk teaching critical race theory? Dr. Finley’s work on whiteness is sparking controversy in and beyond his Louisiana State University classroom. As a scholar of religion, what preparation is needed for the moments our work spills-over into the larger society and provokes social discourse with the potential to catalyze social change? Scholar, who told you that you could think freely, think boldly, and think imaginatively? What is it to garner the courage to do the scholarly work our souls must have?

Dr. Stephen C. Finley
Associate Professor
Department of African & African American Studies
Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies
Louisiana State University

Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield
Wabash Center of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Dialogue On Teaching

Mothering in the Academy: Dangerous, Shameful, and Common Place 

The measures of scholarly productivity are often premised upon a life without the distractions of children and family. The challenges of tenure and promotion are amplified for young parents, yet schools seldom support new mothers with policies, procedures, and cultural norms of welcoming and belonging. Too many schools punish, shame, or blame women who choose to parent. This conversation with young theologians raises the problem of living integrated, whole lives as generative women in the academy.  What are alternative institutional practices which would affirm, nurture, and strengthen young mothers who are dedicated to scholarship and a life of teaching in the academy? What if the life of the mind included pregnant women, nursing women, and mothers of infants and toddlers?

Lakisha Lockhart
Assistant Professor of Practical Theology
Chicago Theological Seminary 

Sarah Farmer
Assistant Professor
Department of Theology and Ministry
Indiana Wesleyan University 

Ekaterina Lomperis
Richard B. Parker Assistant Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Thought
Portland Seminary — George Fox University

Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield
Wabash Center of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Seasons of a Teaching Career – 

Episode Two: Identity and Belonging: Who are you? Whose are you?:

Series One: Episode 2 of 3: 
A critical challenge during the first years of teaching is defining, forming, and living into a scholarly identity which is healthy, has integrity and is generative for your own scholarly project. This conversation discloses some of the pitfalls and risks when institutions provide little to no mentoring. What does it take to have a common sense and reasonable perspective for being a scholar and for doing scholarship … over the long haul? What practices might support habits of self-care, creativity, and imagination for sound teaching, scholarship, and service? What is “good” citizenship while on a faculty? 

Dr. Leah Payne
Portland Seminary, George Fox University

Dr. Roger Nam
Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield
Wabash Center of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion

Conversations on Teaching and Spirituality – 

Episode Two: Expressions of the Genuine

Series One: Episode 2 of 3: Expressions of the Genuine
What if hearing the genuine inside yourself requires a quest, a leaving home, or an exploration of the unfamiliar? If you leave home, can you find a home again? Does the genuine come from within you or does it come through you from somewhere else? What does it mean to offer the genuine as you teach?

Dr. Amy G. Oden
Adjunct Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality
Independent Scholar

Rev. Dr. Shively T. J. Smith
Assistant Professor of New Testament
Boston University School of Theology

Migration, Spirituality, and Teaching:

Leopoldo A. Sánchez, Concordia Seminary

Schools have a lack of preparedness for students and colleagues who are recent immigrants. What theologies inform the practices, policies and procedures of educational institutions concerning support for recent immigrants? What kinds of advocacies are needed in learning communities? When is the stranger not to be considered strange and why is that so important?

The Wabash Center Video Series

Seasons of a Teaching Career

Series One is entitled Exploring Early Career Issues. The featured speakers of this video series are Leah Payne (Portland Seminary, George Fox University), Roger Nam (Candler School of Theology, Emory University) and Nancy Lynne Westfield (The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion).

Common sense conversations meant to provide perspective, inspire, and encourage colleagues who are new to the academic enterprise. The discussions are frank, heartfelt and oftentimes personally reflective about the challenges, obstacles, pitfalls and joys of a life of teaching while early in the career.

Conversations on Teaching and Spirituality

Series One is entitled Exploring Thurman’s “The Sound of the Genuine”. The featured speakers of this video series are Dr. Nancy Westfield, Dr. Amy G. Oden and Dr. Shively T.J. Smith.

Using Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman’s baccalaureate address at Spelman College (May 4, 1980), entitled “The Sound of the Genuine,” these colleagues discuss the challenges of teachers attempting to bring their whole-selves to teaching. Each episode includes a spiritual practice, as well as excerpts from Thurman’s article.


The “I” That Teaches

A video project that invites senior scholars to talk about their teaching lives. These scholar-teachers candidly discuss how religious, educational, and family backgrounds inform their vocational commitments. Each video is a candid portrayal of their teaching persona. From the vantage point of a practiced teaching philosophy we get an intimate account of the value and art of teaching well.

His mother said that he was “born to push a pencil and run his mouth.” And what world-shaping-words have come from her son, Princeton University Professor Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.. “There’s a story of me going to a Pentecostal church for the first time,” narrates Glaude, “this woman gets the spirit right next to me and I had no language to understand it.” He describes the experience as, “wholly foreign but decidedly familiar.” But he “has a language for it now.” And this language serves as a way into and means to understand such religious expressions as “transformative experience[s] for those who occupy those spaces.” Here Prof. Glaude deploys the language of reflective teaching and learning in order to illumine the teaching life as it has shaped him and he in turn shapes his students. Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where he is also the Chair of the Center for African American Studies and the Chair of the Department of African American Studies.

Featured Educators: (Links below go to our YouTube channel)


Wabash Center