Questions for Connection and Purpose

Inside Higher Ed April 22, 2020 We need to be intentional and consistent in creating spaces in our classes for students to engage with the evolving world around them, write Jill DeTemple and John Sarrouf, who provide suggestions to help instructors do so. Twice last year, one of us -- Jill, a professor at Southern Methodist University -- walked into classes populated by students who were acutely aware of horror. They wrote in discussion posts in real and profoundly personal ways about feeling helpless, and hopeless, in the wake of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting and the New Zealand mosque attack. As they studied philosophical, comparative and social scientific approaches to religion, students wanted -- needed -- some way to make sense of their [...]

By | 2020-04-22T06:19:35-07:00 April 22nd, 2020|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Religious Studies|Comments Off on Questions for Connection and Purpose

Cooking Up Something Good. SMU Features WLL Lecturer Liljana Elverskog and Religious Studies Chair Johan Elverskog

SMU News *This story depicts the day-to-day in SMU’s Residential Commons before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now our Faculty in Residence and students are keeping Sunday Night Snacks and other traditions going via Zoom meetups and social postings. CRACK. Splash. Oops. SMU first-year student Sarah Tersigni spoons a tiny piece of eggshell from the four eggs she’s cracked into a glass bowl. She’s making the filling for the lemon squares that she will serve later to fellow students in her residence hall. The Austin native loves to stir things up in the kitchen – she is her family’s designated birthday cake-baker – but she never thought baking would be part of her college routine. Sarah’s lemon squares are part of a spread served every week to [...]

By | 2020-04-07T16:19:00-07:00 April 7th, 2020|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, World Languages and Literatures|Comments Off on Cooking Up Something Good. SMU Features WLL Lecturer Liljana Elverskog and Religious Studies Chair Johan Elverskog

Religious Studies Professors Honored at HOPE Awards

Congratulations to Jill DeTemple, Bill Barnard, Rick Cogley, and Mark Chancey. The four Religious Studies professors were honored with nominations for SMU’s HOPE award last night. A special congratulations goes to Jill DeTemple was awarded the 2020 HOPE Professor of the Year award.

By | 2020-02-05T11:56:29-08:00 February 5th, 2020|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Religious Studies|Comments Off on Religious Studies Professors Honored at HOPE Awards

Amping up the human factor in hot-button discussions

SMU Magazine Originally Posted: Dec. 6, 2019 Professor Jill DeTemple teaches students how to take topics that drive people apart and reframe the conversation around personal experiences to promote understanding. Through curious questioning and thoughtful listening, students learn they don’t have to agree with their political opposites to understand where they’re coming from. Columnist Sharon Grigsby wrote about the class published for The Dallas Morning News on October 16, 2019. READ MORE EXCERPT: Professor Jill DeTemple, in the religious studies department of SMU’s Dedman College, has developed a discussion tool, dubbed reflective structured dialogue, that she is using in her own classrooms and sharing with professors here and across the nation. The idea is to take topics that drive people apart — gun rights, abortion, [...]

By | 2020-01-07T07:32:04-08:00 January 6th, 2020|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Religious Studies|Comments Off on Amping up the human factor in hot-button discussions

Jill DeTemple is teaching local students and faculty nationwide how to effectively navigate hot-button topics

Dallas Morning News Originally Posted: October 17, 2019 I don’t know about you, but the sorry state of what passes for debate these days — hair-trigger anger and social media carpet-bombing — beats me into believing that thoughtful discussion about life’s toughest stuff is dead and gone. Too often, I wind up feeling timid, tentative or just plain tired-head around hot-button issues. That’s why I went back to college last week to look into what I had heard were powerful efforts by one professor and her students to revive civil discourse. I didn’t find a magic potion for what ails society, but I did come back with better ideas on how to reengage. The timing couldn’t have been better, given the hotbed of political emotions [...]

By | 2019-10-17T08:42:50-07:00 October 17th, 2019|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Religious Studies|Comments Off on Jill DeTemple is teaching local students and faculty nationwide how to effectively navigate hot-button topics

How we can use the art of listening to heal the divisions in our country.

Dallas Morning News Originally Posted: Septemeber 11, 2019 Jill DeTemple is associate professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University and a faculty associate at Essential Partners. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News. It's not too late to start listening. Giving ear and respect to other perspectives builds trust and a sense of community we have lost and desperately hope to regain. There's an opportunity to do this in classrooms, living rooms and assembly rooms. It starts with setting the stage and ground rules to promote honest and safe dialogue. It continues with free-flowing exchanges after we take a chance and learn why others believe what they believe. "I used to joke that I was a passive anarchist waiting for civilization to [...]

By | 2019-09-18T07:23:58-07:00 September 18th, 2019|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Religious Studies|Comments Off on How we can use the art of listening to heal the divisions in our country.

There’s a push for classes on the Bible in public schools. And there’s also a pushback

CNN Originally Posted: May 7, 2019 Mark Chancey, an SMU professor of religious studies, was quoted in this article. (CNN) -- Legislators across the country have reignited the fight for, and debate over so-called "Bible literacy classes" -- elective courses in public schools about Scriptures' impact. Alabama, Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia are among the states that have seen Bible literacy bills so far in 2019. Several of those efforts have fallen along the wayside. While advocates for such classes believe students ought to be able to learn about the Bible's influence on world history, culture and language, opponents tout separation of church and state and their concerns that teachers might possibly stray into proselytizing. READ MORE  

By | 2019-05-09T10:13:10-07:00 May 9th, 2019|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Religious Studies|Comments Off on There’s a push for classes on the Bible in public schools. And there’s also a pushback

The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters is Leading Dallas’ Clerical Resistance

D Magazine Originally Posted: December 2018 issue The Rev. Dr. Michael W. Waters earned a B.A. in political science and religious studies from SMU in 2002, followed by two degrees from Perkins School of Theology: the M. Div. cum laude and Doctor of Ministry with honors. On September 12, six days after 26-year-old Botham Jean was shot and killed in his apartment by an off-duty Dallas police officer named Amber Guyger, a press conference was held in the Flag Room at Dallas City Hall by citizens demanding the creation of an office of police oversight. They wanted an independent review board armed with subpoena power and the authority to investigate police shootings. What they really wanted was justice. This, at least, would be a step in that direction. [...]

By | 2018-11-29T11:24:07-08:00 December 3rd, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Political Science, Religious Studies|Comments Off on The Rev. Dr. Michael Waters is Leading Dallas’ Clerical Resistance

Event: October 25, Ann and Nate Levine Jewish Studies Lecture

Event Date: October 25, 2018 Location: Dallas Hall Time: 7:30 pm "Israel, BDS, and Campus Life: Complexities of Jewish Identity in the American Academy" by Profs. Doron Ben-Atar and Andrew Pessin, authors of _Anti-Zionism on Campus. The University, Free Speech, and BDS_   Many scholars have struggled with rising anti-Israel sentiments on college and university campuses worldwide. Drawing on their extensive qualitative research, Profs. Doron Ben-Atar and Andrew Pessin will explore the deleterious impact of the Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement on the most cherished Western ideals of free speech, civility, respectful discourse, and open research. Link for more information: https://www.smu.edu/Dedman/academics/programs/jewishstudies/events    

By | 2018-10-10T08:55:00-07:00 October 10th, 2018|Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Events, Jewish Studies Program, Religious Studies|Comments Off on Event: October 25, Ann and Nate Levine Jewish Studies Lecture

Dialogue in the Classroom: an interview with Jill DeTemple

Essential Partners Originally Posted: September 6, 2018 Jill DeTemple Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University Can we make space in the classroom for students to develop convictions—identify what they believe, understand why they believe it, and become willing to share it—while simultaneously inviting them to hold those convictions with humility—an openness, curiosity, and willingness to listen to others? Dialogue in the classroom has been shown to deepen learning, improve student retention, and strengthen interpersonal connections. It can also help students strike that balance between humility and conviction, a balance that is crucial not only to intellectual rigor but also to the functioning of a diverse free society. For the past three years, Essential Partners has been working with a team of faculty [...]

By | 2018-09-11T08:24:51-07:00 September 11th, 2018|Anthropology|Comments Off on Dialogue in the Classroom: an interview with Jill DeTemple
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