Category: News


American Examples: Adapting to a Fall 2020 and Beyond

When we announced the American Examples program, funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, we were super excited about the three workshops we would be offering in 2020. We were able to hold one of them in person in early March. Then the world changed, and, with it, our plans. Many of the REL faculty pitched in late in the spring and into the early summer to adapt to our new COVID reality by hosting a series of […]

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American Examples: THE BOOK

American Examples, the program for early-career scholars of religion in America funded by the Luce Foundation, is proud to announce a new publication relationship with the University of Alabama Press. UAP will be publishing an anthology of research essays from each of the American Examples cohorts beginning with the first AE cohort that met in spring of 2019. The first anthology, titled American Examples: A New Conversation About Religion, will be published in the summer of 2021. We are very […]

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REL Adds a New Faculty Member

The Department of Religious Studies is very pleased to announce that Dr. Lauren Horn Griffin is joining the faculty, as a full-time renewable Instructor, for the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Earning her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2016, Lauren has worked full-time at the University of Oklahoma since 2016, as a digital learning designer in their Office of Digital Learning while also being a regular lecturer in their Department of Religious Studies. Her research […]

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Stay Tuned and Stay Safe

Early on, someone added me to a Facebook group dedicated to issues in higher ed that involve or are impacted by COVID-19. I’ve only posted there a few times but have routinely monitored the posts of others, sometimes finding useful links but often being somewhat perplexed by the sorts of things that I see. For example, consider the post asking others in the group about their routines for cleaning classrooms between classes and how long they’re waiting between classes. As […]

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All The News That’s Fit to Email

It’s that time of year again — time to send around this year’s Department newsletter. It’s the 17th annual edition, and the third in the current format. For those who don’t follow this blog regularly — and yes, we know that there’s a few of you out there — our newsletter is a chance to offer a few highlights from another busy year. From the American Examples grant to retirements and graduates, from new hires to incoming students and faculty […]

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Incoming REL Student Awarded UA’s Francko Graduate Fellowship

We’re very pleased to announce that incoming M.A. student, Phoebe Duke-Mosier, has been awarded UA’s David Francko Graduate Fellowship, which carries full tuition/health insurance, and an annual $25,000 stipend, all of which is committed for both years of her degree. Named after UA’s previous Dean of the Graduate School, one Francko Graduate Fellowship is awarded annually for incoming graduate students. No teaching assistant duties are linked to this award. Phoebe graduated in 2019 from Hamilton College with a degree in […]

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Faculty News

This is the time of year when faculty who applied last Fall for promotions are notified of the decision of the Office of Academic Affairs. We’re therefore quite pleased to announce that Dr. Merinda Simmons and Dr. Nathan Loewen have each been promoted — Dr. Simmons to the rank of Professor (sometimes called Full Professor) and Dr. Loewen to the rank of Associate Professor. In addition, Dr. Loewen was awarded tenure. Professor Simmons, who earned her Ph.D. in English at […]

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Going Remote

It’s surely not news to anyone that we’ve gone remote, taking all REL courses online as part of our effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. The University of Alabama, like so many schools nation-wide (let alone throughout the world) continues on what we call limited business operations (LBO), with academic offices closed, in-person classes suspended, students gone from the residences, and only essential employees still working on campus. (Get info on UA’s response to the pandemic.) But classes continue, […]

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Coming Attractions: A Change in Format

As communicated to all of our students over the past week, UA is maintaining limited business operations (LBO) for at least the next two weeks (and it will re-assess during that time concerning whether those conditions continue), with students asked not to return to campus. (A plan will soon be rolled out, from the central administration, concerning when those living in the residence system can return to collect their possessions.) This means that offices will not be staffed in person […]

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