Q&A with Dr. Alicia Batten: why study RS at UWaterloo

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Welcome back to our Q&A series with Religious Studies instructors, alumni, and students. Get to know our people, research, and courses!

If you missed it, check out part 1 of our Q&A with Dr. Batten to learn about the relevance of studying religion. This week, we will answer questions about our undergraduate program.

Alicia BattenWhat’s a common misconception students have about the program?

Sometimes students think that one has to be religious in order to teach or study Religious Studies. It is not the case. Some Religious Studies students and instructors are religious and others are not. Being religious or not religious is not a criterion for the study of religion.


What’s special about the program at UW (compared to other universities)?

Because RS is spread out (at Grebel, Renison, SJU, STP, UW), we have historically been able to offer a very broad array of courses.


What course do you enjoy teaching the most?

Hard to say. My undergraduate offerings are quite diverse. I enjoy teaching all of them.


What do you like about teaching and research?

The excitement of a new question or idea, whether it is in the classroom, or while doing research. I also like it when something is written or spoken very well.


What’s something you learned from your students?

I know that students are concerned about finding a job someday, but they regularly remind me that they are very interested and curious about life’s big questions. They are also much more sophisticated in their thinking than I was as an undergrad.


Here are some courses that Dr. Batten teaches:

  • RS 260 How to Study Religion (winter 2019)
  • RS 225 Sacred Beauty: Religion and the Arts (fall 2018)
  • RS 327 The Body, Dress, and Religion (fall 2019)


Tune in next week to hear about job opportunities and her tips for success!

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