PhD Candidate Religion
Spring 2023 Winner
As a teacher and student of the Christian religious tradition, Maggi Jones finds herself in a unique position at Baylor University, where students come from diverse backgrounds and may or may not have a strong affiliation with Christianity. Her teaching philosophy is deeply rooted in Baylor's mission "to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community."
Jones identifies two primary goals that set the tone for her teaching approach. The first goal is to create an inclusive and safe learning environment that fully respects each student, regardless of their background, experiences, or beliefs. This is achieved through the establishment of a "conversation covenant" that emphasizes treating every individual with dignity, respect, and empathy.
The second goal is to help students reflect on how what they learn in her courses informs and influences their lives and the diverse world in which they live. Jones believes that this goal relies on the first one, as a student who does not feel safe and respected in the classroom is less likely to engage fully with the course material.
To foster this inclusive and caring community, Jones utilizes various means to make the Christian religious tradition interesting and relevant to her students, even if they come from different faith backgrounds or are not religious at all. In her courses, students explore the subject matter through a variety of media, including reading biblical passages, listening to podcasts, and watching videos, all of which bring the content to life. This multi-sensory approach enriches the students' understanding of the subject matter.
Maggi Jones' teaching philosophy is centered around creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment where every student is valued and respected. Her innovative approach to teaching enables students to connect with the Christian religious tradition, even if it is not their own, and to apply their learning to their real-world experiences. Her commitment to nurturing a caring community and making the subject matter relevant has earned her the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in the Humanities.
What Students Say
Professor Jones’s class was always something I looked forward to during my time as her student. I enjoyed the structure of the class, as it helped me stay organized and prepared me to go to her lectures. Having Maggi Jones as my professor was truly a rewarding experience. I left her classroom with a well-rounded knowledge on the history of the Christian religion, as well as how to approach many different topics and matters of Christianity.