Dear BYU Religious Education (Part 2)

Dear BYU Religious Education,It’s now been over a year since our last correspondence. I’ve had some time to formulate my thoughts a little more constructively. I’d like to speak to you about the hiring process, and how you might adjust it to the mutual benefit of the candidates and yourself. I realize that some of these may be more applicable to one of your departments rather than both; but I hope this provides you some insight from the other side of the table. I also realize that some of the … [Read more...]

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The Trouble with BYU’s Religious Education (Part III)

In the previous posts I described how two methodological problems with Religious Education allowed for the Bott problem, as well as the likely short-term response. In this post I’ll articulate a few thoughts in terms of what I see as a potential, and positive, long-term response to this situation.  … [Read more...]

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The Trouble with BYU’s Religious Education (Part II)

The previous post discussed two methodological problems with Religious Education that fostered the circumstances leading to Randy Bott’s troubling statements. In this post I will discuss what I see as the likely short-term response within RE. In the next post I will discuss my desired long-term response.In the short-term, the Randy Bott situation will push RE professors toward what I’ll call an “orthodox professionalism.”  … [Read more...]

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The Trouble with BYU’s Religious Education (Part I)

This post isn’t meant to discuss the specifics of Randy Bott’s circumstances. Instead, I’d like to write about how the Bott situation signals two long-standing methodological problems for Religious Education as a whole. I believe this contributes to an ongoing discussion within Religious Education, but since I’m not privy to that discussion, I’d like to raise the issues here. … [Read more...]

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Tips on Applying to Tenure Track Positions in Religious Studies, Part I: Important Resources

We're expanding the Tips on Applying series to move beyond applying to graduate programs in religious studies. The next series of posts will focus on applying to tenure track positions in religious studies (or related) departments. To start I'd like to point out some useful resources: … [Read more...]

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Tips on Applying: Spotlight on Duke

This spotlight comes from Ariel Bybee Laughton, who graduated from Duke in May 2010 with her Ph.D.Dr. Laughton, take it away...  … [Read more...]

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Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies, Part IX: The Writing Sample

Most PhD applications and some master's applications require a 10-20 page writing sample. Personally I'd say that this was the weakest part of my application. Not because I didn't have a decent writing sample to provide, but because what I did submit was not directly related to the interests of some of the programs I applied to. In retrospect, this probably disqualified me from a few places.Some guidelines to choosing a writing sample are as follows:1. Choose an 'A' paper. In other words, … [Read more...]

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Tips on Applying to Grad Programs in Religious Studies, Part VIII: MA or PhD

In this post I want to address the question of whether one should first apply to master's programs in religious studies, or whether it's possible to be directly admitted into a PhD program without obtaining a master's degree. Below are some quick thoughts. As always, feel free to chime in since I'm speaking more from my own experience than any comprehensive study I've done on. … [Read more...]

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