Category Archives: Annual Meeting

2nd Annual Student-Scholar Luncheon

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You are cordially invited to the second annual student-scholar luncheon, “What I’m Telling My Students,” hosted by the Student Advisory Board. Preregistration is required for this luncheon due to limited space. This forum allows students to discuss various issues about the academic field with an experienced scholar in a small group over lunch. The luncheon will be held on November 23rd, from 11am-12:45pm at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (International Tower Level LL1) (265 Peachtree Street Northeast).

Our invited scholars include: Bejamin Dunning (Fordham University), Eva Mroczek (University of California, Davis), Fernando Segovia (Vanderbilt University), James McGrath (Butler University), Jennifer W. Knust (Boston University), Karen L. King (Harvard Divinity School), Kimberly Stratton (Carleton University), Marjorie Lehman (Jewish Theological Seminary), Mark Goodacre (Duke University), Michael Cover (Marquette University), Miguel A. De La Torre (Iliff School of Theology), Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford (McAfee School of Theology), Paul Joyce (King’s College London), Robert von Thaden (Mercyhurst University) Sheila E. McGinn (John Carroll University) Tat-siong Benny Liew (College of the Holy Cross), and Brent Strawn (Candler School of Theology).

DATE: 11/23/2015
TIME: 11:00 AM to 12:45 PM
ROOM: Hyatt Regency Atlanta (International Tower Level LL1)

Maximizing Your Time at the Annual Meeting Like a Pro

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If you’re going to attend the Annual Meeting as a student, it’s imperative that you make the most of it. There’s fun to be had, but you know and I know that time is money.

Getting the most bang for your buck is not synonymous with the number of papers you’re presenting or interviews you have lined up. It’s about participating as a professional.

At the Annual Meeting, your job is to develop your curriculum vitae—the one that says what you have done and the one that is yet to be written. Here are some tips on what that professionalism can look like based on the stage you are at in your career. So if you’re wanting to…

Present at a Future Meeting

Make a note of best practices. Read the abstracts for the sessions where you see yourself presenting. Keep track of good and not-so-good presentations. Look for trends in subject matter and style. You’ll get a better sense of why some papers get accepted as well as what makes for successful delivery.

Get a jump on next year’s proposal. Often, the next year’s Call for Papers is discussed at or just after the current year’s annual meeting. Following a prospective session, let the presider know that you’re a student and interested in the subject matter. Politely ask if there’s anything you can do to keep up with the group (i.e. electronic communication, a business meeting for you to observe, a website). This can give you a jump on upcoming topics. Many scholars will be happy just to know you’re interested, and if nothing manifests, chalk it up to good practice.

Developing Your Scholarship

Don’t stop learning. Go to a session outside of your subfield. Listen in on a topic you find objectionable. Check out what’s going on in AAR. This is a great way to spur creativity and to raise critical questions about the ideas you take for granted.

Professional Development. Don’t overlook sessions on career advancement, teaching, or networking. Challenge yourself to leave the conference with a tool, skill, or perspective that you didn’t have before. It just may help you to better chart your scholarly path.

Wanting to Go on the Academic Job Market

Build your syllabi now. Hiring committees want someone who can start today. As such, the single best piece of advice I was given as a student was to request examination copies of potential textbooks at the book exhibit. This was a good way to begin crafting the syllabi that I eventually shared during job interviews, and it paid dividends.

Talk to strangers, especially at AAR. A lot of otherwise good candidates bomb during interviews because they have never had to talk about their specialty—let alone biblical studies—to people who couldn’t care less about the subject. There’s no better practice than to strike up conversations with people you don’t know and who don’t know what you know. If you can convince them that your work is worthwhile, you’ll have gone a long way toward rocking the interview.

Publish Your Work

Get ideas at the book exhibit. This is your chance to see what’s been covered. As you pass all the flashy displays, think about the gaps in the latest literature and how your coursework, questions, and hypotheses might fill them. This process has led to many thesis and dissertation topics.

Test the waters. If you’re at the dissertation phase, talk to representatives at different houses about where they’re headed. Give a teaser of what you’re working on and gauge reactions. The goal here is to find out not only who is interested in your research, but also what about your work excites them. All of this is data you can use to craft future book proposals.

Feel Like You Belong

Twitter. Get on Twitter, and follow the conference hashtag, #sblaar14. This is a great way—especially for introverts like myself—to be social without expending too much energy. A lot of us are willing to “tweetup” or meet in real life. So come by to see some friendly faces.

Remember. Impostor syndrome is no joke, but don’t forget that everybody at SBL was at one time a student. That means they too had the self-doubt, the questions, and the anxiety of trying to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing. If you find yourself feeling any of that, trust that you’re in good company. Take advantage of your Student Advisory Board. (They’re the real deal!) And please feel free to reach out to me (@seedpods) if you want to know anymore about what’s good at the Annual Meeting.

Blog-Profile-Richard Newton
Guest Contributor
Richard Newton
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown, PA
Twitter: @seedpods

Do you want to hear more on this subject?
Come check out our SBL session on this topic: Annual Meeting Orientation: Practical Tips for Maximizing Your SBL Annual Meeting Experience

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Student Luncheon: What I’m Telling My Graduates

Update 3: November 1, 2014
Registration is now closed. Thank you everyone who registered and who showed interest. Come back to hear more as we provide reflections on this event and others after the annual meeting.

Update 2: October 29, 2014 @ 3:30 PM EST
Registration is now re-opened for a very limited time! There are a small number of spaces opened. We apologize to anyone who is unable to attend. We’ve had over 900 visitors to the RSVP site. However, in order to ensure that the event is productive and beneficial to both the invited students and scholars, we have had to restrict the number of attendees to a manageable level. We plan on having reflections on our sessions posted to this site soon after SBL. We will try to have even more spaces available next year.

Update 1: Interest in the student-scholar luncheon has been overwhelming! As a result, we have already reached our original limit for student attendance. However, we have plans to increase the number of students that can attend. We will announce via Facebook and Twitter when registration re-opens for you to RSVP. We want to make sure to secure additional scholar participation before opening up more spots to prevent diminishing the experience for the attendees. Thanks for your understanding and your interest in this event!

Original Post:
You are cordially invited to the first annual SBL student member luncheon, hosted by the Student Advisory Board.  Preregistration is required for this luncheon due to  limited space. This session provides graduate students with an opportunity to learn from the academic experiences of established scholars through short presentations of their academic autobiographies and smaller group discussions. Each panelist will have 5-7 minutes to talk about their graduate school experience and discuss what they are telling their current students about navigating the field of biblical and religious studies. These presentations will be followed by smaller group discussions over lunch.

Our invited scholars include:  Dr. Annette Yoshiko Reed (UPenn), Dr. Ra’anan Boustan (UCLA), Dr. Vincent Wimbush (Claremont), Dr. Stephen D. Moore (Drew), Dr. David Adamo (Kogi State, Nigeria), Dr. Margaret Mitchell (UChicago), Dr. Christopher B. Hays (Fuller Theological Seminary), Dr. Ross Kraemer (Brown), Dr. Willie Jennings (Duke Divinity School), Dr. Adela Yarbro Collins (Yale Divinity School), and Dr. Traci C. West (Drew).

DATE: 11/24/2014
TIME: 11:00 AM to 12:45 PM
ROOM: Room 6 B (Upper level) – San Diego Convention Center (CC)

When you register, a ticket will be sent to your e-mail account indicated on your registration form.  This ticket must be brought to the luncheon for admittance. Registration will close when the event reaches the maximum count or November 12th.   If you have questions, please e-mail or tweet us @SBLStudents.


Student’s Experience of SBL’s International Meeting in Vienna

I have attended SBL events before, but the conference in Vienna was my first experience of SBL’s International Meeting. My expectations of the meeting were not very high, but when I returned home to Sweden I was more than pleased.

The location of the conference in the old, beautiful university in the middle of the magnificent city of Vienna of course impacted the positive experience in a significant way. The generous reception at the impressive Rathaus the first evening set most of the participants in a good mood. Four days packed with paper presentations could be tiresome. But the diverse conference program, with its variety of speakers from different countries and academic levels and all kind of topics, made it easier to keep the motivation. What I appreciated most with the conference, however, was the fellowship with fellow workers and the possibility of making new acquaintances. It is very stimulating and encouraging to meet other people who do similar kind of research as oneself. For my own part I benefited a lot from the seminar on the Authority and Influence in Biblical Texts, since I study leadership in the Gospel of Matthew. The conference thus put me in touch with people in my own field and I got some contacts of significant value. Another great aspect of the conference was the fellowship with my colleagues from my home university. I had the privilege to go to the conference with a couple of people from my own faculty. Spending some days together enables you to get to know your colleagues better. The conditions for developing good relationships could hardly be better than a beautiful Vienna in summertime.

My first participation at a SBL International Meeting was thus very satisfying and beneficial. I really hope that this was not my last one.



Guest Contributor:
Daniel Hjort
Ph.D. Student in New Testament Studies
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
Lund University, Sweden