Abstract of Funded Grant Proposal
Opportunities for a Lifetime of Teaching Outside the Classroom
Those of us engaged in doctoral education are aware of the increasing challenge of placing students in fulltime, tenure track teaching positions. To address this situation, the DU/Iliff Joint PhD Program is proposing a project to explore ways we can prepare our graduates for careers where teaching is an essential component but which lie outside the usual classroom context. We have identified three potential venues where pedagogy plays a significant role and career opportunities are increasing: 1) curators and directors of education in museums associated with religious sites or controlling significant collections of religious artifacts; 2) academic technologists who assist faculty with developing their technological skill and the design of online courses; 3) hybrid positions in higher education where administrative work is combined with pedagogical roles (e.g., directors of service learning, teaching and learning centers, or study-abroad programs). Most of these positions either require a PhD or give preference to individuals who hold PhDs. Many are particularly suited to the religion scholar.
We envision the following kinds of activities to enable this exploration: 1) inviting speakers who currently work in one of the three arenas named above—in a few cases we have alumni who enjoy successful and satisfying careers in academic technology and hybrid positions; 2) discussions among faculty so that we can use our collective wisdom to imagine how our own teaching would need to change and how this could impact our current curriculum; 3) workshops and programmatic consultations with other departments and teaching and learning resources of the university to explore the possible curricular options for students interested in pursuing careers outside of fulltime classroom teaching (e.g., non-credit certificate programs and/or courses in other departments, such as computer science or the school of education).