The Benefits of Student MembershipBy Elizabeth Victoria Lawson
The American Academy of Religion is one of the leading professional associations facilitating the study and teaching of religion. The AAR serves as an important network for connecting scholars, students, professionals and organizations in related fields from North America, as well as all over the globe. Our membership represents around 10,000 individuals and organizations, with student members comprising one-third of our rosters.
With such a large student representation in our ranks, the AAR has created space in its organizational structure to address specifically the needs of students in the field of religion, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Student members are served by the Graduate Student Committee (GSC), which orchestrates programming focused on professional development and student life.
So why join? The AAR, through the GSC, serves as an important network of resources for students that can be accessed through national and regional conferences, workshops, and social events. The GSC strives to create spaces where students can ask questions and discuss concerns specific to our fields of studies and our lives as students, from Town Hall meetings to public lectures in local communities to social gatherings where we can unwind and meet our peers. The 2009 national conference featured a roundtable discussion centered on the lives of grad students which was an enormous success, and we will be offering the same forum at the 2010 conference in Atlanta.
Conference involvement is only one of the ways in which student members can benefit from AAR membership. Please see below for a comprehensive list of all that the AAR has to offer its student members:
The GSC is charged with providing student programming that is relevant, dynamic, and addresses the needs and concerns of our student members. Click here for a list of current committee members, updates on programming development, as well as contact information. We welcome questions and suggestions!
Quick answers to common questions.
Online AAR Student Resources
The Syllabus Project
The Syllabus Project is a collection of publically available syllabi from instructors teaching a diverse array of religion courses. Designing a new course? New to teaching and want to see what more experienced educators are doing? Want some new ideas to refresh your classroom approach? The Syllabus Project is here to help! Students are also encouraged to submit their own syllabi.
Student-Oriented AAR Publications
We have two main publications targeting our student community:
- Speaking of Students (SOS): a quarterly e-newsletter with the latest AAR/GSC announcements and conference announcements.
- From the Student Desk: featured regularly in AAR’s publication Religious Studies News. Students are encouraged to submit essays regarding a variety of topics concerning graduate student life.
Please take a moment to sign up on our Facebook® group, "Student Members and Friends of the American Academy of Religion"! The GSC uses this group to send out announcements and members are welcome to post job listings and other content of interest to the student community.
The AAR is divided by region, and each region holds an annual conference. Regional conferences are excellent opportunities for graduate students to present research, especially for new presenters who are just beginning to explore the profession. Find out more about your region and contact information here!