The Certificate in Reflective and Faithful Teaching (CRAFT) fosters the ongoing development of Th.D. students as theological educators by helping them to:

  • Reflect theologically about the craft and vocation of teaching;
  • Hone practical teaching skills with an eye toward different contexts of teaching, including online instruction;
  • Develop a thoughtful, theologically grounded philosophy of teaching;
  • Improve their teaching in response to oral and written feedback from peers and professors;
  • Create a digital teaching portfolio for use in the job search.
Headshot of Sarah Neff, shown sitting on stairs, wearing a black shirt

"The skills and support I gain in the CRAFT program have not only equipped me to be a thoughtful teacher but also increased my marketability as I look towards this vocation beyond the walls of Duke."

Luke Oliver reads a book in the library and looks at the camera

CRAFT Colloquia on Teaching


Participating Th.D. students attend four sessions of CRAFT in their first year, plus a final workshop session in their second year. These colloquia are led by Duke faculty and alumni who are skilled teachers in their own right and able to articulate clearly the pedagogical wisdom they have garnered from their years in the classroom.

Among the topics discussed in the CRAFT colloquia are:

  • What is taught? (Are we teaching knowledge, skills, or virtues?)
  • Who is taught? (Anthropological assumptions in various pedagogies; teaching diverse students)
  • Where are they taught? (Challenges and opportunities presented by different educational contexts)
  • How is it taught? (Critical consideration of different pedagogies)
  • Who is teaching? (Teaching as vocation; the teacher as person)
  • Why is it taught? (Developing a philosophy of teaching)

In their final session, students compose their own philosophy of teaching statement that reflects the insights they have gleaned from the first-year colloquia and their initial teaching experiences leading preceptorial discussion groups for the core classes in Bible; church history; theology and ethics; or homiletics.

In this workshop, students will share and revise their philosophy of teaching statements in preparation for a competitive job market. Because many seminaries and liberal arts colleges are committed to hiring young scholars who can demonstrate their skills as pedagogically-sound teachers, these philosophy of teaching statements prove important as Th.D. students apply for teaching positions.



The requirements for the certificate are:

  • Successful completion of two core courses:
    • Foundations: The core Th.D. seminar, taken in a student’s first semester in the program.
    • Focal Issues: Credit for this course is awarded for participation in five CRAFT colloquia spread across the first two academic years. Ordinarily the first four colloquia will be taken in sequence over the course of the first year, but it is possible for students to spread their attendance out over two years if necessary. Students may make up one missed session per semester (except for the final colloquium) by watching the recording posted online after the meeting.
  • Supervised teaching session in which the student
    • prepares a teaching plan for the class session, drawing on insights from the colloquium on pedagogy, and provides the evaluator with a copy in advance of the class;
    • conducts class with the faculty evaluator in attendance;
    • meets with the faculty evaluator to discuss and receive written feedback on the class session.
      The supervised teaching session is normally scheduled during the student’s second year of the program in conjunction with a precepting assignment. In some cases teaching evaluations may take place in the context of a course co-taught by a faculty member and an advanced Th.D. student.
  • Creation of a digital teaching portfolio that includes, at minimum:
    • a statement of teaching philosophy;
    • a sample lesson plan;
    • a sample syllabus for a standard course in one’s field;
    • faculty feedback on one’s teaching.
      Students meet with a faculty reviewer to discuss the portfolio and its artifacts.