Student Engagement, Where Art Thou?


  • Richard Newton University of Alabama



Matthew Baldwin, Leslie Dorrough Smith, Kevin McGinnis, Facebook, pedagogy, classwork, learning, studying, online, language, institution, college, universiy, homework


Three US professors discuss the challenge of teaching the study of religion within a higher educational setting marked by institutional and student ambivalence. Professors Matthew Baldwin (Mars Hill College), Kevin McGinnis (Stonehill College and Post University), and Leslie Dorrough Smith (Avila University) joined Richard Newton (Editor, Bulletin for the Study of Religion) for a conversation on this challenge, expressing frustrations and sharing tips. The exchange took began at the start of the Spring 2020 semester, paused during the spring recess in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and resumed at the end of the term, offering a snapshot of the day’s challenges.

Author Biography

Richard Newton, University of Alabama

Richard Newton received his PhD in Critical Comparative Scriptures from Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Newton’s areas of interest include theory and method in the study of religion, African American history, the New Testament in Western imagination, American cultural politics, and pedagogy in religious studies. His research explores how people create “scriptures” and how those productions operate in the formation of identities and cultural boundaries. He has published an array of journal articles, book chapters and online essays. His book, Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures (Equinox 2020), casts Alex Haley’s Roots as a case study in the dynamics of scriptures and identity politics with critical implication for the study of race, religion, and media. He is also the curator of the  multimedia professional development network, Sowing the Seed: Fruitful Conversations in Religion, Culture, and Teaching.


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How to Cite

Newton, R. (2021). Student Engagement, Where Art Thou?. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 49(3-4), 16–22.



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