Richard Newton

Distinguished Teaching with Technology Fellow 2023-2026

Richard Newton, PhD, has served as Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama since Fall 2022. Newton earned his PhD from the School of Religion at Claremont Graduate University in 2014. In addition to publications in top-tier and internationally renowned journals, he is the author of Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures (Equinox 2020). co-editor of Fieldnotes in the Critical Study of Religion: Revisiting Classical Theorists (Bloomsbury 2023), and editor of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. An avid blogger, podcast guest, and community presenter, Newton aims to facilitate a more robust and verdant discussion of social difference in the public square. His work has been featured in a variety of platforms but much of it may conveniently be found on his personal website, Sowing the Seed: Fruitful Conversations in Religion, Culture, and Teaching.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is a dialog between those who come to learn and those who are present to teach. As a professor, my role is to curate a space for a productive exchange and facilitate a process through which students learn fundamental content knowledge and acquire analytical skills. I aim to provide an experience that will inspire students to take ownership of this process beyond the classroom through the on-going raising of questions and sharpening of answers. Hallmarks of my pedagogy include backward design, curricular scaffolding, high impact practices, cooperative learning techniques, and the provocative blend of digital and analog teaching technologies. I leverage these in the classroom to help model what life-long learning can look like in a community of curious and critical people.