UGA professor receives American Academy of Religion teaching award

March 4, 2013

Carolyn Medine, a University of Georgia professor in the department of religion and the Institute for African American Studies, has been selected to receive the 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Academy of Religion.

The professional society for scholarship and teaching in the field of religion, the AAR has more 10,000 members who teach in about 1,000 colleges, universities, seminaries and schools in North America and abroad. The award, announced on the AAR website, will be formally presented at the academy’s annual meeting in November.

“I’m very humbled by this award,” Medine said. “So many important teachers of religion have won this award that I feel honored, and a bit unworthy, to be included among them.”

Medine teaches courses focused on how literature and art relate to religious experience, particularly Southern and African-American women’s religious experience, within the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She has written extensively on the work of Toni Morrison and Harper Lee.

“This award represents important national recognition of the level and dedication of faculty we have on campus and for the experience we offer students in the classroom,” said Alan T. Dorsey, dean of the Franklin College. “Carolyn Medine’s impact on her field brings tremendous honor to the university, and we are very proud of her accomplishments.”

Medine credits her work with the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion in Indiana as the key to helping her find and refine her personal style in the classroom. As an instructor with the Lilly Endowment-funded Wabash Center, Medine teaches in a series of yearlong workshops for young teachers designed to help participants develop goals and an individual teaching philosophy.

“Doing those workshops, working with other teachers, I realized there is an art to pedagogy,” Medine said. “I think a lot about what works for me as a teacher and about what works to help students think about who they are as teachers and as learners—that they have a style they need to cultivate.”

An alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia where she received her doctorate, Medine spent 10 years at Louisiana State University before coming to UGA in 2000.