On May 15th and May 16th, 2017, IIIT hosted a Pre-Tenure Faculty Workshop and brought together junior scholars of Islam along with senior faculty mentors for an informative and meaningful conversation on a myriad of professional and pedagogical topics.
The workshop, held for a second year in a row, was co-organized by Dr. Ermin Sinanović, Director of Research at IIIT, and Dr. SherAli Tareen, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. The faculty mentors included Dr. Jonathan Brown, Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University; Dr. Maria Dakake, chair and associate professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University, and Dr. Walid Saleh, Associate Professor at University of Toronto. Workshop fellows came from a variety of universities such as Allegheny College, Gustavus Adplphus College, University of Wisconsin, California Lutheran University, University of Illinois, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A key topic of discussion during the workshop was the challenges that junior scholars of Islam in North American colleges and universities face. On the first day, the Pre-Tenure Faculty Workshop included introductions of all the attendees, topic discussion titled “Navigating Multiple Spaces and Audiences as an Islam Studies Scholar” that was given by our facilitators and faculty mentors, and a workshop on the Qur’an and Tafsir research methodology given by Dr. Walid Saleh and Dr. Maria Dakake. The junior scholars and senior faculty mentors also covered several pressing topics like how to tackle obstacles posed by academic norms of socialization, such as in academic conferences, for many scholars in Islam.
On the second day, the Pre-Tenure Faculty Workshop featured a workshop on Hadith research methodology led by faculty mentor Johnathon Brown, a discussion on teaching sensitive issues, and a breakout session titled “Navigating Tenure-Track.” In addition, faculty mentors guided the fellows regarding how to balance and negotiate personal research and teach while managing the public projections and responsibilities that come with being a scholar of Islam in the post 9/11 context.
Overall, the 2017 Pre-Tenure Faculty Workshop was a wonderful learning and networking experience for the participants, who benefited not only from the workshop but became aware of IIIT as an institute, research center, and publishing house too.