25th Annual Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research and Learning

Session Descriptions

  • Cohort Breakout Sessions (9:00 A.M. - 10:15 A.M.)

  • Breakfast Group Discussions (9:00 A.M. - 10:15 A.M.)

  • Plenary Session (12:00 P.M. - 1:45 P.M.)

  • Session Two (2:00 P.M. - 3:15 P.M.)

  • Session Three (3:30 P.M. - 4:45 P.M.)

Ann Ferren Conference Logo


AU Entrée Program Teaching Strategies Workshop

(for first and second year term and tenure-line faculty) – with Cathy Schaeff(CAS-BIO) and Max Paul Friedman (CAS-HIST)

Please join us to discuss building a class from the learning objectives forward, assignments and activities that support critical thinking skills, delivering lectures with impact, and tricks for rapidly learning the names of your students.

Information Processing: What Do We Remember, How Do We Learn?

(for Greenberg students, years one, two, and three) – with Marilyn Goldhammer(CTRL/SETH)

Memory plays a key role in how we process information. How exactly do we take in and store information in ways that facilitate our learning? How does this impact the way we teach? This interactive session will explore this topic using concrete examples.

Chairs/Directors Round-Table: Implementing the Adjunct Collective Bargaining Agreement

(for department chairs and directors) – with Bill LeoGrande (SPA)

This session will focus on the experiences of chairs and program directors in implementing the Collective Bargaining Agreement between AU and the Service Employees International Union representing adjunct faculty. Participants will discuss what has worked well thus far, what hasn’t, and what issues remain unresolved.

How Effective Professionals Can be Effective Teachers

(for adjunct faculty) with Rose Ann Robertson (SOC) and Tammi Gutner (SIS)

Adjunct faculty, joined by two Associate Deans, will discuss how to transform their professional expertise into valuable learning experiences for students as well as how best to determine grades and provide effective feedback.

Beyond SETs: Term Faculty Perspectives

(for term faculty teaching in their third year and over) – with Robert Kelley (SIS), Lauren Weis (CAS-PHIL), and Bob Sicina (KSB-IBUS)

This session will involve discussion about the role Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) play in assessing faculty teaching performance, in particular term faculty. The panel will explore and discuss suggestions for possible evaluation and mentoring tools that could balance the heavy weight currently placed on the SETs.

What’s the Use of General Education?

(for faculty teaching and wanting to teach General Education courses) – with Andrea Tschemplik (CAS-PHIL) (Chair), Jane Hall (SOC)

Given the resistance of some students to General Education courses, we should talk about how we can improve the perception of these courses by highlighting the benefits and exploring ways of addressing any problems.

University College: Everything You Always Wanted To Know, But Didn’t Know What To Ask

(for faculty teaching and wanting to teach University College courses) – with Sarah Menke-Fish (SOC) (Chair), Bill Davies (SPA), Kiho Kim (CAS-ENVS), Gregg Ivers (SPA-GOVT), Stina Oakes (CAS-LIT), Jimmie Ellis (Office of the Provost), and Lindsay Whipple (Housing and Dining)

Now in its 8th year, the University College is an academic living/learning program that offers students a vibrant liberal arts education while utilizing Washington, DC as an extension of the classroom. Faculty will share successes and offer tips for incorporating these elements into any course. Presentation will include data on student satisfaction, retention and campus engagement.

Innovation in Experiential Education

(for faculty teaching in the School of Professional and Extended Studies) – with Carola Weil (SPExS)

This session offers faculty and staff to share ideas on the challenges and opportunities presented by the drive toward greater multi-or cross-disciplinarity in higher education, the emergence of new subjects across college campuses, and changes in the job market from changes that impact internships, experiential learning and skills building needs.


Working With a Growing Number of International Students

Senem Bakar (International Student and Scholar Services)

The Community Service-Learning Program (CSLP): Connecting your Course with the Community One Student at a Time

Meg Rego (Center for Community Engagement and Service)

Fostering Dynamic Student Presentations

Bonnie Auslander (KSB)

Social Justice Movements, Experiential Education & Alternative Breaks

Shoshanna Sumka (Center for Community Engagement and Service)

Social Media and Teaching

Scott Talan (SOC)

Issues in Online Teaching

Sonja Walti (SPA-PUAD) and Larry Schrenk (KSB-FIN)

Green Teaching

Greg Hunt (SPA-JLC)

If you would like to propose your own topic, and/or host a table at the breakfast, please go HERE.

10:30 A.M. – 11:45 A.M. SESSIONS:

101: How to Get Your Students to Think, Read and Write in the Age of Facebook and Twitter

Iris Krasnow (SPExS) (Chair), Christine Lawrence (SOC), Valerie Strauss (Washington Post), and Kendall Breitman (Class of 2015)

Do you believe students today read and write differently because of social media? This session will examine how a constant stream of on-screen information affects the ability to think and write clearly. The panel will discuss ways to combine traditional learning techniques with today’s technology.

102: First Day of Class: Creating a Climate for Learning

Betsy Cohn (SIS)

We explore setting the tone for first day of class. Little things make a big difference. How do you introduce the syllabus? Student introductions? Questions on your student information sheet? In block classes, how to use 2 1/2 hours? Bring your ideas/questions–this is an interactive workshop.

103: Professors as Experts, Students, or Both?

Eric Charles (CTRL) and Laura March (CTRL) (Co-Chairs), Paul Wapner (SIS), and Andrea Tschemplik (CAS-PHIL)

Many instructors believe they must always act as an all-knowing expert in class. In contrast, this panel provides multiple perspectives on becoming comfortable facilitating collaborative approaches to learning. Pedagogical benefits of co-investigation and concrete techniques for instructors will be discussed.

104: A New Dimension of Diversity: Student Veterans in Your Classroom

Davina P. Durgana (SIS) (Chair), Val Verra (AU Central), Chris Bennett, (SIS), and Christopher Evanson (SIS)

This session strives to highlight how veterans bring different perspectives on learning into the classroom, and endeavors to start a conversation about how we can better understand and better integrate the resources they bring into our classes.

105: Ask What Your TA Can Do for You, and What You Can Do for Your TA

Siobhán McGuirk (CAS-ANTH) (Chair), Ana Sotelo (SOC), Emily Steinmetz (CAS-ANTH), Kate Stewart (CAS-PSYC), Marshay Hall (Office of the Provost), Martyn Oliver (CAS-RELG), and Anthony Ahrens (CAS-PSYC)

Teaching Assistant assignments can be daunting—for graduate students and Instructors alike. In this session, Instructors, TAs and support staff discuss ways of ensuring that clear communication, collaboration and ongoing evaluation help build a productive and mutually rewarding learning environment, for all parties.

106: Connecting Curriculum to Careers

Susan Gordon (Career Center) (Chair), Arlene Hill (KSB), Lynne Arneson (CAS-Dean’s Office), Pam O’Leary (CAS – Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)Judith Shapiro (SIS) and Richard Stack (SOC)

Students are looking for an understanding of how their major links to career outcomes. A panel of faculty and career center staff offers examples of integrating career concepts into curriculum. Participants will discuss methods for educating students on the linkage between their major and their careers.

107: Smartphone Filmmaking

Larry Engel (SOC) (Chair), Kyle Brannon (SOC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Push your boundaries with the phone in your pocket. Turn smartphones into photographic and filmmaking machines for your courses. Our workshop covers basic visual storytelling and explores ways to improve any phone’s image and sound.

108: Seeing the Forest for the Classroom: Integrating Sustainability Issues Into the Curriculum

Chris O’Brien (Office of Sustainability) (Chair), Simon Nicholson (SIS), Victoria Kiechel (SIS), Kiho Kim (CAS-ENVS)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

AU is rated as one of the greenest campuses in America. Learn how AU faculty members are integrating campus sustainability into coursework by tackling real sustainability challenges facing American University. Attendees will be invited to apply for sustainability curriculum-development incentives.

109: So They Said You Had To Use SharePoint

Jennifer Hoeritz (KSB) (Chair), Jill Klein (KSB-ITEC), Seydou Ly (OIT)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Please join us for a short presentation about using SharePoint as an effective tool for managing communications, sharing documents and finding information about programs.

110: Is There A Fellowship In Your Future: A Guide To Possibilities

Jon Tubman (Office of the Provost) (Chair), Naomi Baron (CAS-WCL & CTRL), and Nathan Harshman (CAS-PHYS)

There are many opportunities for individual faculty members to apply for fellowships to fund their research or international teaching appointments. Come and learn about some of the opportunities as well as hear from people who have received fellowships in the past.

111: Introduction to Blackboard

Library Staff

Learn how to upload a syllabus, post an announcement, request e-reserves, send out a group email, create links to articles and images through LinkMaker and use other basic features of Blackboard.

PLENARY SESSION (12:00 P.M. – 1:45 P.M.):

Join us for a plenary lunch discussion on challenges in higher education, with a special emphasis on learning outcomes.

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

2:00 P.M. – 3:15 P.M. SESSIONS:

201: “They Can’t Write!”: Integrating Research and Writing Instruction Into Your Curriculum

Jessica Waters (SPA-JLS) (Chair), Carl Barnes (SPA-JLS), Olivia Ivey (SPA-Research Librarian), and Chris Edelson (SPA-GOVT)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Faculty are often frustrated that “students can’t write,” but aren’t sure how to improve students’ research and writing skills in just one semester. This roundtable discussion session will explore ways to more effectively integrate research, writing and information literacy instruction into an existing curriculum.

202: Case Studies: An Approach to Teaching

Jesse Meiller (CAS-ENVS) (Chair), David Hunter (WCL), Boaz Atzili (SIS)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

This session will provide a brief introduction to why case studies are used in teaching, as well as provide concrete suggestions for using case studies in teaching disciplines ranging from the sciences, to the social sciences, to law.

203: Encouraging Discussion, Participation, and Enthusiasm in Class

Chris Palmer (SOC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn various techniques and ideas for encouraging students to participate more in class discussions and to be more enthusiastic and motivated.

204: What Would You Do? Addressing Culturally Insensitive Comments in the Classroom

Joseph Erba (SOC) (Chair), Leena Jayaswal (SOC), Claudia White (SOC), Kelsey Marsh (SOC), Richard Fields (SOC), and Yildiz Yilmaz (SOC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

In this session, AU faculty and students will reenact culturally insensitive episodes experienced by students belonging to various minority groups (gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class). Each episode will be followed by a discussion on creating culturally safe environments for all students.

205: What Do They Know When We Meet Them: Differentiated Instruction

Marilyn Goldhammer (SETH/CTRL) (Chair), Fanta Aw (Office of Campus Life)

As diversity on campus grows, our students bring varied content knowledge and experiences which presents challenges for faculty. What are some of the strategies faculty can use to maximize learning? How can we encourage students to take ownership of their learning?

206: Using Client-Based Projects to Enhance Student Learning

Sonja Walti (SPA-PUAD) (Chair), Malia Brink (SPA-JLS), Nina Shapiro-Perl (SOC and CAS-ANTH), Stephanie Fischer (SIS), Greg Hunt (SPA-JLS)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Washington DC offers the unique opportunity to work with clients – government agencies, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups – to connect the classroom with practice. This panel will focus on using client-based projects to enhance student learning and skills-development. The panelists will share examples and discuss takeaways.

207: From Desk to Mobile: Where Students Work, How and Why It Matters

Jim Quirk (SPA-GOVT) (Chair), Brian Yates (CAS-PSYC), Patrick Thaddeus Jackson(SIS)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

From dorms and libraries to computers labs to anywhere – digital and mobile telecom has made it possible for students to do reading and assignments virtually anywhere. How does that matter, and how can faculty respond?

208: Revamping Your Course: New Initiatives in Community-Based Learning

Marcy Fink Campos (Center for Community Engagement & Service) (Chair), Lyn Stallings (Office of the Provost), Sonya Grier (KSB), Easten Law (SIS)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Community-based learning (CBL) is reaching higher levels at AU that are sure to enhance student learning, benefit the DC area, and improve teaching practices. Learn about new initiatives: including the “CB” course designation and the upcoming service scholars living-learning community.

209: Advanced Blackboard

Library Staff

Participants will create assignments using the Assignment feature, and practice weighting these assignments in the Grade Center. We will also discuss best practices in teaching with blogs and discussion boards.

210: The Amazing Places Where Research Takes Place

Kiho Kim (CAS-ENVS) (Chair), Chap Kusimba (CAS-ANTH)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

What does it mean to have one of the coolest jobs in the world? Imagine some of the fabulous places where research happens and join two AU faculty members on a journey that will take you snorkeling in Guam and excavating evidence of early human life in East Africa.

3:30 P.M. – 4:45 P.M. SESSIONS:

301: Easy Writer: Strategies for Improving Student Writing

Melissa Scholes Young (CAS-LIT) (Chair), Stina Oakes (CAS-LIT), Mike Cabot (CAS-LIT), Alison Thomas (CAS-LIT), Angela Dadak (CAS-LIT)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

What are the top errors in student writing and how should they correct them? We’ll introduce you to the College Writing Program’s customized text, Easy Writer, and online companion. We’ll share strategies for empowering college writers using a resource they already have. Books will be provided.

302: Start Playing Around: Games in the Classroom

Leah Gates (SIS) (Chair), Dylan Craig (SIS), Lindsay Grace (SOC), Michael Treanor(CAS-CSC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

This session will explore the potential of games for pedagogy–the kinds of learning for which games may be most appropriate, examples of effective use of games in teaching, and existing games already available for integration into learning in and out of the classroom.

303: Connecting Learning Outcomes and Assessments: Learn How

Kathy McAdams (Office of Institutional Research and Assessment) and Sheila Bedford (KSB) (Chairs), Douglas Fox (CAS-CHEM), Kimberley Cowell-Meyers (SPA) and Christine Lawrence (SOC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Assessment begins with learning outcomes and analytical tools and can be effectively used to improve student learning in assignments, courses, and curricula. This panel will share examples of how assessment results have been applied to make positive changes and increase student learning.

304: Universal Design for Learning: Beyond Accommodation and Fostering Success for All

Christopher Cruz Cullari (Office of Campus Life) (Chair), Deborah DeMille-Wagman (Academic Support and Access Center)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Universal Design for Learning provides an opportunity for academic support staff to partner with faculty colleagues to help all students create their best work. Additionally, the presenters will share suggestions as to how assignments can be constructed so that they will be more inclusive for students with disabilities.

305: Academic Dishonesty in the Classroom

David Culver (CAS-ENVS) (Chair), John Hyman (CAS-LIT), Larry Ward (KSB)

Academic dishonesty is an unpleasant and even unwelcome topic, but one that we all face. This session will be an opportunity to share both approaches to the problem as well as concrete ways to preempt dishonesty in the first place.

306: Introduction to Recording with Panopto

Katie Kassof (Library-AV)

Learn the ins and outs of this new recording software as well as how to effectively integrate it into your teaching.

307: The Mobile Professor Toolkit: Ten Options for Everyone

Laura March (CTRL)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Explore ten innovative tools that enable mobile learning both inside and outside of the classroom. Highlighted apps facilitate grading, student homework management, collaborative document creation, and backchannel discussion. You’re invited to bring your own digital device (e.g., smartphone, tablet, laptop) and sample each tool.

308: Not just for Human Rights Scholars: Integrating the Teaching of Human Rights Across Disciplines

Carola Weil (SPExS) (Chair), Hadar Harris (WCL)Rick Rockwell (SOC), Jeffrey Bachman (SIS), and Eleftherios Michael (SPExS)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Co-sponsored by the AU Human Rights Initiative and the School of Professional & Extended Studies, this panel will share ideas for integrating human rights into the classroom and across disciplines and how to connect experiential practice with scholarship.

309: Google Glass® Goes to Class

Erin Nixon (CAS) and Jill Klein (KSB-ITEC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

Three Google Glass devices will be tested at AU this spring. Is this new tech an educational disruption or distraction? Hear from AU colleagues how they will experiment with Glass to enhance teaching, research and learning. Ideas to share? Join us and begin the conversation!

310: How To Be Strategic About Publications

Rachel Borchardt (Library) (Chair), David Pitts (SPA-PUAD), Dan Kerr (CAS-HIST), and U.J. Sofia (CAS-CSC)

CLICK HERE to watch a video-recording of this session

As a research university AU is dedicated to furthering faculty publication. This session offers advice from journal editors and editorial board members about strategic selection of publication venues. You can also learn about alternative metrics by which publication impact is evaluated.

311: Introduction to Collaborate

Library Staff

Participants will practice using Collaborate for office hours, remote live teaching, and conferences with experts from remote locations.