Teaching Committee

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Teaching Committee

The Graduate Student Teaching Committee is dedicated to fostering teaching excellence and collaborative learning in UNC’s Department of Religious Studies. The Teaching Committee serves three primary purposes:

  • to collect teaching resources and make them available to graduate students
  • to coordinate teaching workshops
  • to offer peer observation feedback to teaching assistants and fellows

The Committee also serves as liaison between Religious Studies graduate students and the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE). In addition to providing teaching resources to the university as a whole, the CFE selects the winner of the Peer Recognition Teaching Award based solely on the Committee’s observation reports.

Current Committee Members

Smith

Joanna Sierks Smith
Religion in the Americas

Chair

Isaiah Ellis (Religion and Culture)
Tine Rassalle (Ancient Mediterranean Religions)
Samah Choudhury (Islamic Studies)
Luke Drake (Ancient Med)
Brook Wilensky-Lanford (Religion in the Americas)
Tim Smith (Asian Religions)
Bo Eberle (Religion and Culture)
Ben Shepphard (Ancient Mediterranean Religions)
Micah Hughes (Islamic Studies)
Miguel Vargas (Ancient Mediterranean Religions)

Peer Observation

Teaching Committee members are available to provide peer observation feedback on graduate student recitations and classes.  Participation in the peer feedback program also makes the teaching assistant or fellow eligible to serve on the Committee the following semester.

To schedule an in-class observation, simply fill out a pre-observation questionnaire.

The Process:

  1. Should you choose to participate, a committee member will arrange an initial meeting to discuss your teaching strengths and areas you’d like to improve.
  2. You and your committee member will agree on a date and time for peer observation.
  3. The committee member will observe your class or recitation, and provide written feedback on those observations.
  4. You will meet to discuss those observations.  You will also have the opportunity to respond to the observer’s report in writing.
  5. With your permission, the committee member will submit your report to the Center for Faculty Excellence, in consideration for the Peer Recognition Teaching Award.

Please note: participants in peer observation and feedback are under no obligation to submit their reports to the CFE for award consideration.

If you’re interested in having a committee member observe your class or recitation, please complete the pre-observation questionnaire.

Workshops

Previous Workshops

  • October 2018 – Lesson Planning
  • August 2018 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • January 2018 – Teaching Outside of Your Specialization
  • August 2017 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • August 2016 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • April 2016 – Gender and Sexuality in the Classroom
  • August 2015 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • August 2014 – Contextual Grading and You
  • August 2014 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • March 2014 – Race, Gender, and Positionality in the Classroom
  • October 2013 – Reli Roundtable: How to Survive Giving Your First Lecture
  • August 2013 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • April 2013 – Reli Roundtable: Creative Assignments
  • January 2013 – Syllabus Swap
  • September 2012 – Reli Roundtable: Teaching with Theory
  • August 2012 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • March 2012 – Reli Roundtable: Creating a Syllabus
  • October 2011 – Reli Roundtable: Rubrics
  • August 2011 – New Teaching Assistant Orientation
  • April 2011 – Reli Roundtable: Classroom Activities

Awards

To acknowledge exceptional graduate student teaching within UNC’s Department of Religious Studies, the Graduate Student Teaching Committee bestows a Peer Recognition Teaching Award each spring. The Center for Faculty Excellence reviews peer observation reports and feedback to select the recipient.

Previous Award Winners

  • 2018: Ehsan Sheikholharam
  • 2017: Micah Hughes
  • 2016: Luke Drake
  • 2014: Sam Kessler
  • 2013: Stephanie Gaskill
  • 2012: Rose Aslan
  • 2011: Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst
  • 2011: Brandi Denison

Joining the Committee

Teaching committee members offer peer observation feedback, plan workshops, build a collaborative teaching and learning committee, and gain valuable departmental service experience.

Would you like to help?

Once you have participated in the peer observation program, you’re eligible to join the committee.  If you’d like to serve, notify the Chair of your interest. Committee members are invited to join based on seniority in the doctoral program.