King University Bible and Religion: Meet Our Teaching Assistants

Meet Our Team
King University Bible and Religion Teaching Assistants

MEET OUR TEAM – Teaching Assistant Edition

Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice
Name: Sydney Bailey
Class: Junior
“My name is Sydney Bailey. I am a junior at King from Mendota, Virginia. In my free time I enjoy traveling, exploring our world, and photography. I am a Cell and Molecular Biology major with minors in Spanish and Biblical Studies. I am also a member of the King University softball team. I am a member of the Preprofessionals Club as well as Women in STEM on campus. One of my passions is interacting with the community, whether it be volunteer work or being a mentor for our youth. After King, I plan on attending medical school in hopes of becoming a surgeon. My decision to choose two minors not related to the science field relied solely on being able to relate to future patients. I once struggled with understanding my faith and how to apply it to my life. Upon taking Foundations of Christian Thought first semester of my freshman year, I found a new love for Christianity like I had never know before. This course sealed my minor for Biblical Studies. I served as a TA for three semesters before I was promoted to Head TA this year. It has been an honor not only to grow in my own faith, but to serve others and help them walk their own path with Christianity.”
We are fortunate to have Sydney for this semester and 3 more after. She has made Foundations happen this year. She will continue to do good and great things.

Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors

Students leading and teaching other students and helping them become critical thinkers and good writers.
“Why do we think about the way we think?” “Where did you get that idea?” “Can you source what you wrote?” “What is your worldview and where did you get it?”
These are some of the reasons to attend King University.
Community. Service. Leadership. Critical Thinking. Success. Connection.
Another successful Foundations group discussion class in spite of the rainy Thursday. Led by Sydney Bailey and our excellent peer mentors.
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD
Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice Peer Mentors
Don Michael Hudson, PhD

King Senior Erin Graybeal Presents Research on Teaching Religion: SECSOR

Erin Graybeal Don Michael Hudson King Philosophy and Religion
Erin Graybeal
Don Michael Hudson
King Philosophy and Religion

http://news.king.edu/single/article//king-senior-erin-graybeal-presents-research-at-southeastern-commission-for-the-study-of-religion-con/

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 28, 2015 – King University senior Erin Graybeal recently presented “Teaching a Judeo-Christian Worldview to a Diverse Student Population” at the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR) Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The SECSOR Conference brings together members of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature from the southeastern United States. The annual conference provides a setting for scholars in the academic study of religion, whether undergraduates, graduate students, or professors, to present and discuss ongoing research and to network with others in the region.

Graybeal will graduate from King in December with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, part of King’s Teacher Education program. She will be working towards her licensure in Elementary and Middle Grades Education. During the first semester of her freshman year, Graybeal took the first Foundations of Christian Thought and Practice course with Dr. Don Michael Hudson, associate professor of Religious Studies, chair of the Philosophy and Religion Department, and director of the King Tel Azekah Consortium.

“At the end of the semester, Dr. Hudson asked a few other students and me to come talk to him about the class,” said Graybeal. “I shared my ideas with him about what I liked about the class and provided suggestions on how some areas might be improved.”

As a result of their conversation, Dr. Hudson offered Graybeal a position as his student worker. She spent the next three and a half years working closely with Dr. Hudson to hone both the theoretical framework and practical application of the Foundations course.

One of the major features that had been implemented was the use of peer mentors along with the lecture material. “This was a good beginning, but the peer mentors were lacking organizational perspective and training,” said Graybeal. “I was very interested in providing input for the class and could see several possibilities for improvement. As an education major, I was learning how to teach at the same time that I was helping Dr. Hudson increase the rigor and relevance of the Foundations course. The ideas of pedagogy and development were fresh in my mind. As a millennial myself, I could advise Dr. Hudson on how students viewed his class and what could be improved.

Graybeal added, “Further, we wanted to ground all pedagogical changes in a theoretical framework. We discovered William G. Perry Jr., an expert in Educational Psychology, whose theoretical method models intellectual development in college students. We determined his model was most conducive and successful in teaching millennials.”

The Foundations course, at its inception, was a direct result of administration and faculty seeking to meet the needs of King’s quickly changing population while maintaining its heritage as a Presbyterian affiliated liberal arts school in the hills of Appalachia. With the school’s transition to NCAA Division II and the implementation of online degree programs, the student population of King was increasing in numbers and becoming more diverse. The Foundations course was created, in part, to teach an introduction to Judeo-Christianity within a faith tradition while being inclusive to this new generation of millennial students in a fashion to which they would not only relate but also with which they would become actively engaged.

Graybeal presented in the Teaching and Learning section of the conference. Her presentation, “Teaching a Judeo-Christian Worldview to a Diverse Student Population,” is a direct result of her work with Hudson.

“Erin and I have been developing this course for four years now. We worked together, and, utilizing feedback from other students, were able to take this course to the next level,” said Hudson.

He added, “It has been very important to have [Erin’s] input [on the Foundations course] because many professors teach in a top-down fashion. That doesn’t work well for millennials. It has been invaluable to bring in someone like Erin, who is a millennial, to listen to her about what does and what does not work. We have been successful with the course because we have tried new techniques and, after evaluating what works well, adjust each semester to provide a course that engages the students. This work is both unconventional and groundbreaking in not only what we are teaching but also how we are teaching it. ”

“It was an honor to present at the conference,” said Graybeal. “I was encouraged by their interest in my research. The Foundations course, on which my research is based, is the only one we have found operating on this model where you are teaching a large class and including group discussions, peer mentors who are paid, specialized workbooks, and thematic units. This teaching format is a novel idea that has now proven successful, and we want to share it with others. We are seeing results. We have students every semester who say this class has changed their lives.

Graybeal concluded, “If we can inspire somebody at a school that is looking for an answer to revitalize their program to train more people in careers for ministry and missions and social work and education, and so much more, then that is what we want to do.”