Baylor School of Education faculty members Dr. Perry Glanzer, professor, and Dr. Nathan Alleman, associate professor, have teamed up for a second book, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Teaching, which was published by Oxford University Press. The book focuses on the various challenges that Christian professors face inside the classroom when intersecting their two identities — their Christian primary identity and their teacher vocational responsibility.
In 2012 the two faculty members in the Department of Educational Leadership, along with other scholars, began conducting a large survey of Christian professors across the nation. Their initial interest was how a professor’s Christian faith, as well as their traditions, influenced a variety of factors, such as teaching. While conducting this survey, however, the data collected from one question, regarding how the professors’ Christianity affected different areas of their teaching, sparked a concept that would become the core of the professors’ recent book.
The idea of the intersection of identities for Christian professors grew from survey-based research and developed into an article featuring the pair’s initial ideas. Once this article was released, Glanzer realized that more could be done with the concept, taking the first step to expand it into a book.
“There is a whole range of ways that Christianity influences teaching,” Glanzer said, “I hope that Christian professors, even if they have been teaching a while, will get new ideas from the book.”
The book emphasizes that there is no right or wrong way to be a Christian teacher. However, it explains various approaches that professors can take to implement “Christian” teaching, such as the transformation of the curriculum and ways to act in the classroom.
Alleman said, “I’m hoping we can affirm for faculty that their whole identity, including their Christian faith, is appropriately an integrated part of their identity as a teacher, whether on a Christian or pluralistic campus.”
Glanzer said one professor told the researchers, “The way I approach my teaching is I look at my students as made in the image of God.” Glanzer said he endorses that approach, saying, “The relationship of brothers and sisters in Christ surpasses the simple professor-student relationship.”
The pair published their first book together, along with Taylor University professor Todd Ream, BA ’93, in March of 2017. That book, Restoring the Soul of the University: Unifying Christian Higher Education in a Fragmented Age, went on to win Christianity Today’s 2018 Book of the Year award.
— By Katie Coats
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