Alums Return to Drew to Talk about Their Teaching

Back row: Eric Thurman, Scott Elliot, Charles Rix, David Evans, Chris Boesel, Michael Humphreys, Danna Fewell, Elias Ortega-Aponte. Front row: Morrey Davis, Krista Hughes, Carol Cook-Moore, Virginia Burrus,
Anna Mercedes, Hae Jung Park

On June 1 and 2, 2012, nine Drew graduates returned to campus for a Wabash Center-sponsored gathering—not a conference, not a workshop, but a chance to talk.  The primary aim of the gathering was to discover what challenges graduates who hold teaching positions face, how well we are preparing them, and what we could do better.  That aim was certainly met: the five participating Drew faculty members learned even more than we anticipated about our graduates’ teaching roles and contexts, many of which are very different from our own—undergraduate classrooms, heavy teaching loads, lack of institutional support for scholarship, complex institutional politics.  (OK, not entirely different!)

But the aim was also exceeded.  In the end, all of us left the gathering feeling inspired and nurtured by the collegial exchange and committed to finding ways to continue it.  We also discovered much about the particular ties that bind us.  Although not all of the graduates knew each other before the gathering, their sense of Drew as a pedagogical and intellectual context was a shared one, and it was one that the Drew faculty members present also shared, from a first-year Assistant Professor to a twenty-one-year veteran.  As one of the two attending Wabash representatives noted, it is clear that Drew’s community lives out its scholarly commitments to interdisciplinarity and to the engagement of difference on multiple fronts; this carries over into our graduates’ teaching, their leadership in discussions of diversity, and their ability to analyze cultural dynamics of power in their classrooms and institutional settings.—Virginia Burrus, GDR Chair and Professor of Early Christianity

A list of the visiting alumni/ae participants:

Carol Cook-Moore, Assistant Professor of Worship & Preaching, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC (2009, Liturgical Studies)

Scott Elliott, Assistant Professor of Religion, Adrian College, Michigan (2009, Biblical Studies)

David Evans, Assistant Professor of History, Mission, Intercultural and Interfaith Studies, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Virginia (2011, Historical Studies)

Krista Hughes, Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, Hanover College, Indiana (2009, Theology & Philosophy)

Michael Humphreys, Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida (2006, Religion &Society)

Anna Mercedes, Assistant Professor of Theology, College of St. Benedict/St. Johns University, Minnesota (2009, Theology & Philosophy)

Hae Jung Park, Assistant Professor of Worship, Methodist Theological University, Korea (2004, Liturgical Studies)

Charles Rix, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Oklahoma Christian University (Biblical Studies, 2011)

Eric Thurman, Assistant Professor of Religion, Sewanee/ The University of the South, Tennessee (2010, Biblical Studies)