Fresh news on the graduate student round-tables at the upcoming national AAR meeting in San Antonio:
This year’s Annual Meeting will feature several Student Roundtables on various topics, aimed at serving student member needs, and organized and hosted by members just finishing (or just finished) their degrees. We encourage you to peruse the descriptions below, and to take the time in San Antonio to stop in on those that interest you.
Valuing Your Work, Working Your Values: Why You Do What You Do
Hosted by Raj Balkaran
We are versed, by training, at communicating what we do, and how we go about doing it. What our training does not address is why we do it. We invest in our work with good reason, and once we register and communicate this good reason, we inspire support from others, e.g., those reviewing our grant proposals, publication submissions, or job applications. This roundtable is geared towards articulating why you do what you do, an ability that can only enhance professional prospects.
Playing the Grant Roulette: When and How to Play the Grant Game in Higher Education
Hosted by Dustin D. Benac
This workshop will provide an introduction to grant writing for research and administrative purposes in higher education. The workshop will provide an introduction about how to develop a fundraising strategy, search for grant opportunities, identify foundation prospects, develop a grant proposal, and manage the award process. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to develop a fundraising strategy and receive resources that will help them track grant prospects, develop proposal budgets, and write proposals.
The Work-Life Balance in Academia: Balancing Graduate School with Family
Hosted by Elissa Cutter
I struggled with balancing academic work and family after giving birth to my first child in May 2014. It took me nine months to figure out how to balance work and family. It all came down to setting priorities, finding a space to work away from family, and not being too hard on myself for things I don’t get done. Although some of that seems obvious, I think for many parents (especially mothers!) it is not always obvious.
Do ______ Women Really Need Saving?: Teaching across Cultures amidst Development Discourse
Hosted by Dimple Dhanani
The question of women’s liberation in development discourse has been widely debated in a variety of fields in the social sciences, but the scholarship which explores the intersection of feminism and majority world women has not yet adequately addressed methods for reframing public discourse for students in the religious studies classroom. This roundtable discussion will revisit Abu-Lughod’s seminal article “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” to bring attention to the developing discourses on feminism and the contextual and historical limitations of public and academic discourse.
Alt-Ac Employment and Recruitment from an HR Perspective
Hosted by Jessica Ehinger
The session will cover some issues particular to job hunting outside the traditional tenure track, including how to write an effective resume and cover letter, how to identify potential positions, and how non-academic job hunting differs from the academic market. We can also discuss how to negotiate salaries, HR best practices for hiring, and potential red flags for new hires.
Teaching Living Religions in Environments of Potential Controversy
Hosted by Aaron Ricker
In focused but informal conversation with teachers (including Hector Avalos, who will share classroom approaches that have proven effective in avoiding the very dynamics of division and reaction that his works aimed at fellow scholars sometimes provoke), this roundtable will provide a chance for teachers and soon-to-be-teachers to share and discuss simple, concrete pedagogical strategies for teaching local/living religions with due care and integrity—without earning the distrusted status of a “pusher” of one view or another.
Graduate Student Teaching: In the Classrooms and with Your Peers
Hosted by Candace Mixon and Shannon Trosper Shorey
This roundtable uses focused discussion and workshop practices to give you the tools to make the most out of your teaching. We begin with an overview of the different types of teaching experiences available in graduate school, considering how teaching styles differ for each. We will then outline how your cohort might begin forming teaching committees, organizing department roundtables and workshops, and formalizing peer observation teams to bring structural support to sustain best teaching practices at your department. These practices will allow you and your cohort to maintain spaces for solidarity, departmental memory, and training as you share strategies that work for your teaching goals and your students.
Time-Saving Resources and Strategies for Teaching
Hosted by Kristy L. Slominski and Brett J. Esaki
In the world of contingent faculty and graduate student teaching, classes often get assigned last minute and on topics that are unfamiliar. This session will share time-saving resources and strategies for developing courses and preparing lessons: easy syllabus creation, teaching supplements and videos, creating and adapting lesson plans, grading more efficiently, and developing a toolbox of in-class activities. We will also discuss strategies for teaching topics outside of your comfort zone (without overpreparing) and reducing the time spent answering student emails (while still being responsive). Participants will leave with a list of resources and examples that can be adapted.
Embedded and Embodied: The Ethics of Virtual Ethnography
Hosted by Kayla Wheeler
From going on Hajj in Second Life to receiving communion via Skype, the Internet is playing an increasingly important role in religious people’s lives. The field of media and religion is burgeoning, with Heidi Campbell and Stewart Hoover leading the way. Despite the potential for new insights into people’s everyday lives and increased attention from scholars, there is no standard set of ethics for conducting virtual ethnography. Using a womanist approach, my presentation will provide recommendations for studying religious groups online.