Thursday, December 09, 2004

Fortress Teaching Awards

This press release is from Fortress:
Fortress Press Presents New Teaching Awards

MINNEAPOLIS (December 9, 2004)— Fortress Press presented two new teaching awards at this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conference in San Antonio, Texas, on November 21.

Two scholars—one teaching undergraduates, the other teaching graduates or seminarians—received awards in recognition of their innovative teaching, their approaches to subject areas, or their communication with today’s students in biblical studies, religious studies, theology, ethics, or ministry. Candidates were nominated by peers and chosen by independent judges.

Alicia Batten, Assistant Professor of Religion at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, received the 2004 Fortress Press Award for Undergraduate Teaching. Batten was commended particularly for her upper-division course on the historical Jesus that correlates biblical studies with service learning as an integral component.

Under her guidance, students work with vulnerable or disadvantaged people, experiencing a new dimension to the deeper levels of academic study of the New Testament. Batten stated, “Challenging undergraduates to think historically and critically about biblical texts and ancient figures such as Jesus can be difficult sometimes, and thus it is wonderful that Fortress Press is encouraging innovative ways of trying to engage students today.”

David Rhoads, Professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago received the 2004 Fortress Press Award for Graduate and Seminary Teaching. For a couple of decades he also has given oral performances of the gospel of Mark in a dramatic setting before church groups and classes. His innovative teaching methods particularly include diverse methodologies for studying the Bible and other pedagogical strategies, and creative writing assignments. “The challenge for me, “ stated Rhoads, “is to teach the Bible in such a way that students themselves are transformed by the engagement—by encountering the text through new media (such as performance), by applying new methods, by connecting the text to contemporary problems (such as the environment), and in dialogue with people of different cultures.”

In presenting these awards, “Fortress Press joins professors from around the country in acknowledging the talents of these innovative educators and presents them as models for the academic community,” said Fortress Press publisher, Scott Tunseth. “We hope also in this process to identify teaching strategies to inform development of future textbooks.”

Fortress Press is recognized worldwide as a leader in biblical and theological studies and is noted for its significant publishing in the areas of Jewish-Christian studies, African American religion, religion and science, and feminist theology. The Fortress Press program is academic, ecumenical, inclusive, and international. Fortress Press, the academic book imprint of Augsburg Fortress with editorial offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. Augsburg Fortress is the publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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