Claim Ownership


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New patterns of institutional power, new visions, and the capacity to make unpopular decisions still does not guarantee successful leaders.In this current wilderness experience, how are leaders trained – who trains? How are leaders identified, mentored and supported for success?  Good leaderships have the dynamic capacity to set direction, can lead to new places, is not cohesive or cruel. Leadership skills are scholarly skills.
Play, with and for adult learners, recognizes embodied aesthetics, assists in meaning making, redefines productivity, and welcomes wisdom. Diversities of epistemologies through play pedagogies enhance adult learning. Learning to have fun together rejuvenates and transforms classrooms. What does it mean to maintain health and wellbeing through play? Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield hosts (Chicago Theological Seminary).
Centering creativity in knowledge production and teaching. The best scholarship comes from animating our ideas, refusing to be policed, nurturing curiosity, and pursuing a spirit of play. We all need a no-judgement zone, a designated space where mistakes are encouraged, even rewarded. Dr. Nancy Lynne Westfield hosts Dr. Ralph Basui Watkins (Columbia Theological Seminary).
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? 
The racial/cultural identity of teachers contributes to the formation, influence and dynamics of student learning. Given the climate of the national discourse on issues of race, racism, inclusion, and xenophobia, classrooms can become places where intercultural dynamics can be unpacked and relearned.
Spring of 2022 is proving to be a difficult semester. Increasingly, students exemplify behaviors of distress. Faculty are ill-equipped to meet needs of strained students while they themselves are struggling. Perhaps vocational dexterity will provide some new strategies.
Doctoral students were challenged to the brink to remain in school during the pandemics. The chaos of closed libraries, restructured exams, and isolation might have foreclosed on some students. Hear one doctoral candidate's story of how the inherited knowledges from her family helped her reorient her approach to completing her program and electing to take a job with the Wabash Center.  
The narrative of decline concerning theological education is better met with a narrative of complex opportunity. Now is the time, even in liminality and contradiction, to consider pedagogical pivots toward etymologies of collaboration, embodiment and story. Suppose needed pedagogies can be extrapolated from the ancient knowledges of Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal traditions? What would it mean to transform the hope and harm of theological education with narratives born of the experiences of testimonials in charismatic traditions?  
Does the church want theologically educated leadership? What kind of learning is needed now for effective ministry? In what ways can the seminary benefit from the knowledge production of the church? What if this is a moment of great capacity and great opportunity – but it is being squandered by the church and theological education!
Who has the boldness to reinvent (rather than adapt) the seminary? What kinds of spaces will be needed for the learning experience? Perhaps, we need assistance from artists who are world builders and imagineers? What if … we convene to dream a new way, with new collaborators?
What do we ask our students to risk when we refuse the pretentions of expertise? What if the uncanny things which occur in our classrooms are the refiner’s fire changing us, student and teacher alike? If we would allow ourselves the joy of astonishment, would we teach with more depth? What are the new habitations for theology which will be lifegiving, life-affirming and meant for human thriving?
Demystifying the voluntary, non-voluntary, peer process. How do you know when good decisions are made and how blunders are corrected? What about learning outcomes? Before joining a faculty, read the accreditation report. 
The institutional step after grappling to become anti-racist is to move toward communal thriving. A sign of hope, impact and accomplishment is when students hold faculty and administration accountable. Thriving in covid requires communal care and change.
Classroom lessons cannot be reduced to benign, disembodied facts. Teaching must acknowledge cultural complexity, the lack of truth telling and embrace the trouble likely to be stirred up in and beyond the classroom. Teach to stretch our own imaginations. Inclusion must include change, shifts in power and new methods of teaching.
Teaching can be a profound act of power. So then, teaching with an ethic of love, care, compassion, and kindness is paramount, especially during the viral and racial pandemics. What if academic rigor is not compromised in generous classrooms, but enhanced when we shift what counts as knowledge? The discussion lingers over teacher-burnout and knowing when it is time to leave the vocation and the classroom. 
Learner based pedagogies must constantly ask the question - “who is our learner?” Answering this question brings the startling realization that first career, entering students do not know classrooms without the internet. Unlike the teacher, those learners do not know a world other than the current age. Their cultural formation is drastically different from that of the faculty. Their reality is a different reality. What does it mean to teach adults who were formed exclusively in the digital world? What are the challenges of teaching students born in 2000? 
The complexity of this era requires leadership who are passionately willing to live in the ambiguity, uncertainty, and still make progress. Institutions must find ways to enable, empower, and inspire leaders for work in the middle of the muddle.
Recreating education during the prolonged pandemic takes more than the choice between face-to-face or online courses. Issues such as public health concerns, diversity-equity-inclusion, digital mindsets, and the downward spiral of denominational structures requires educational leaders to employ design theory, skills, and practices. How do we create optimal learning environments, right now and into the future?  
Imagine classroom laboratories that move from the presumptive geo-physical context and digitally connect students located across more than fifteen time zones. Imagine hard conversations across mutual registers that nurture the ability to interrogate local, national, and international reality as the cornerstone of theological education. The digital interface created by global networks of online learners is reshaping, reforming, and enlivening theological education.
Convening colleagues for regular conversation to dream, think, confess, learn and celebrate teaching and the teaching life can improve individual efforts and strengthen the overall teaching community. Nurturing the curiosity for such questions as: who is the self who teaches?; what does it mean to teach in Covid?; what can we learn from folks like bell hooks? – can provide excellent formation for faculty. Mutual discussions helps teachers feel less alone and more connected.
Comments (3)

Raymond Cooper

It was a great podcast for encouraging people to write and form their own unique, strong, independent public voice. I know about it since I wrote about speech writers long stories that you can find at and I know how hard it is to convince people to write in general. The most important part of "selling" is the idea of the necessety of writing. The first step, I think now, should be a problem formation, and then depending on that, we can promote the idea of public writing. Period.

Mar 31st

Boris Collins

It was a great conversation about Wow moments in teaching. It is a sporadic moment in your life when you learn something and get a wow effect or moment, but it is very satisfying from both perspectives, from students and teachers. The last time I felt it was while searching and I found several integral calculus questions and answers that I could not solve in the past. It was quite a problem to find the solutions of examples, but thankfully, I searched the web and found that material.

Mar 20th

Jane Terry

Thank you for the episode; I enjoyed it very much while driving to work. I almost listened to all the series, and the Wabash Centers for Teaching and Learning provides an excellent job by delivering that kind of high quality content. While listening 127th episode, I`ve got a question; is it legal in the academic field, for example, to buy college research papers from commercial agencies like for your study/work or any assistance because there are diverse opinions with teaching ethics involved. Leah, Roger, and Nancy make people think and provoke them to challenge ideas in teaching career issues. In the end, it allows us to rethink old ideas and develop new ones.

Feb 18th
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