The 30th Anniversary Ann Ferren Conference

The 2019 Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research, and Learning was held on January 11, 2019, in the Mary Graydon Center at American University.

Schedule of Events

  • Registration and Breakfast begins (8:00 am)
  • Morning Plenary (8:30 am – 9:15 am)
  • Session One – 10 sessions (9:30 am – 10:45 am)
  • Session Two – 10 sessions (11:00 am – 12:15 pm)
  • Lunch with Plenary (12:30 pm – 2:30 pm)
  • Session Three – 10 sessions (2:45 am – 4:00 pm)
  • Dessert Reception (4:00 pm – 4:45 pm)

Session One (9:30 AM – 10:45 AM)

101: Teaching Ethical Reasoning Across the Disciplines

Bernhard “Ben” Gunter (CAS-ECON), Sarah Houser (SPA-GOVT) & Victoria Kiechel (SIS)

Among Habits of Mind (HoM) categories, Ethical Reasoning courses—never more needed in society than now—are few, even though courses in disciplines other than philosophy are rich in ethical reasoning content. To encourage faculty sponsorship, this session will demonstrate—through tips, exercises, and case studies—how faculty across disciplines can make their courses and learning outcomes eligible for HoM Ethical Reasoning designation.

102: What Is Inquiry-Based Learning & Why Is It So Exciting? 

Mary Frances Giandrea (CAS-HIST), Sarah Knight Marvar (CAS-BIO) & Bob Sicina (KSB)

Inquiry-based learning lies at the heart of the AU Core and has the power to transform our teaching in exciting and innovative ways, yet many faculty remain uncertain about its meaning or how to incorporate it into their teaching.  In this session, panelists will offer concrete examples of how they foster inquiry-based learning in their Core courses and beyond.

103: Tackling Our Assumptions and Biases in Assessing Student Writing

Neisha-Anne Green (Writing Center) & Lacey Wootton (CAS-WSP)

This session will prompt participants to consider possible assumptions and biases in their responses to and assessment of student writing.  Through activities and discussion, we will reflect on types of assumptions and ways those assumptions can affect our response to student writing, and begin to develop some strategies for minimizing the effects of assumptions.

104: Strategies for Faculty to Help Students in Distress

Jennifer Bakalar (Counseling Center), Jacqueline Darby (Counseling Center), Jeffrey Volkmann(Counseling Center) & Shatina Williams(Counseling Center)

Faculty are noticing an increase in classroom and work ethic challenges that are directly affected by student mental health. Informed faculty members can effectively encourage help-seeking behaviors among college students. This presentation is designed to support faculty in the how-tos of having engaged conversations, referring students, and setting healthy boundaries.

105: Pedagogy of the Engaged: Fostering Learning through Civic Engagement

Lisa Curtis (WCL)

This interactive session will showcase a model of facilitated learning to highlight how students can harness their classroom learning to participate and lead civic actions in their communities. Participants will come away from the session with practical tools and activities for engaging student–voices in the classroom tha

106: Hands-on Research in Real Time: Crowd Sourcing in the Classroom Using Google Tools

Michael Alonzo (CAS-ENVS)

In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to engage students with online crowd sourcing for real-time data collection and analysis in the classroom. Google tools such as Sheets, Slides, and Google Earth offer an excellent platform for student contribution to real or mock research projects.  Participants will use Google Earth + Sheets to practice quantifying urban growth and for estimating student water use

107: The Anatomy and Funding of Cross-Disciplinary Scholarship

Larry Engel (SOC), Ron Hill (KSB-MKTG) & Cristel Russell (KSB-MKTG)

In the evolving world of scholarship, cross-disciplinary scholarship (including research, creative, and professional work) is gaining ground. In this session three faculty members will share their experiences working on interdisciplinary research teams, focusing on the question of how researchers work together on scholarly work, and on how to obtain external funding, when their disciplines seem far afield from one another.

108: AU’s New Initiative in STEM Education, Equity & Ethics (ISE3)

Meg Bentley (CAS-BIO), Nathan Harshman (CAS-PHYS), Carolyn Parker (SOE),
Larry Thomas (Frederick Douglass Scholars Program) & Kathryn Walters-Conte (CAS Dean’s Office)

This interactive session will introduce AU’s new Initiative on STEM Education, Equity, and Ethics, which will launch interdisciplinary programming for faculty and students in the spring of 2019. The audience will be invited to help ISE3 define its goals and outcomes for the upcoming year. All faculty members, no matter their area of expertise, are invited to join us.

109: Open Licensing in Education & Research

Michele Lansigan (CAS-CHEM), Ethan Senack (WCL), Kim Westemeier (CTRL) & Stef Woods (CAS-CRGCS / AUx)

“Open education” encompasses learning tools, materials, and practices that can be freely shared, adapted, and used without significant legal or technical barriers. This session aims to address the duality of a faculty member’s role as an educator and a researcher in the context of openness – which can expand pedagogical innovation, improve dissemination, increase equity, and strengthen student success.

110: SETs Come Too Late: Assessing Student Learning During the Semester

Lauren M. Shea (SOE)

At the end of our courses, student evaluations provide limited summative feedback on students’ experiences. Ongoing, formative assessment of student learning gives us deeper and timely insight into our teaching practices and student outcomes.  This session will highlight several pedagogical approaches, such as talk strategies, exit tickets, and quick-write activities, that assess and evaluate student learning and engagement throughout the semester.

Session Two (11 AM – 12:15 PM)

201: Designing & Teaching a Q2 Course

Jeff Hakim (CAS-MATH), Nathan Harshman (CAS-PHYS) & Behzad Jalali (CAS-MATH and ASAC)

This session will propose an interdisciplinary collaborative approach to building and teaching Q2 (Quantitative Literacy II) courses in which faculty from various teaching units can share information and course materials. The panelists advocate for the formation of an interdisciplinary cooperative body to achieve this goal and will discuss strategies for creating Q2 courses outside of the Math/Stat discipline.

202: Building a Shared Lexicon for Teaching & Learning 

Aaron Boesenecker (SIS), Chuck Cox (CAS-LIT), Terra Gargano (SIS), Bob Sicina (KSB) & Nancy Jo Snider (CAS-PERF)

What do we mean by terms like “metacognition” or “critical thinking”? How do our students interpret these terms? In this interactive session, participants will consider the rationale behind establishing a university-specific lexicon, leaving with a new awareness of the implications and value of their use of terminology in working with students and colleagues.

203: Online Instruction & Inclusivity: Creating an Equitable Learning Environment

Julie Sara Boyd (SOE), Symphony Bruce (Library), Joan Hua (Library), Hannah Park (Library) & Ashley Roccamo (Library)

In this interactive workshop, participants will learn strategies for evaluating and revising online courses to create more accessible, equitable, and inclusive learning environments for the diverse learners who typically choose online education. Participants will leave with tools which they can use to apply inclusive pedagogical choices to their own hybrid or fully online courses.

204: Beyond Trigger Warnings: How Support Measures Can Enable Student Learning

Regina D. Curran (Title IX Office), Amanda Taylor(AVP for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), Lara Schwartz (SPA-GOVT) & Stef Woods (CAS-CRGCS / AUx)

This session will propose strategies that promote student learning and critical thinking while also acknowledging that students may have experienced traumatic events in their lives. We will discuss how support measures (i.e. trigger warnings) can be used and provide data on rates of violence experienced by AU students. Participants will take away practical strategies for supporting student learning without compromising course content or rigor.

205: Enhancing Global Education Through Synergistic Design 

Sara Dumont (AU Abroad – Abroad at AU), Gihan Fernando (Career Center) & Jolynn Gardner(CAS-HS)

To enhance students’ global learning and professional development, studying and interning abroad cannot be stand-alone experiences but must be fully integrated into students’ academic programs. This session will address how collaboration between academic units, the study abroad office, and the career center will allow for the development of holistic academically-based programs that meet this crucial goal.

206: Virtual & Augmented Reality (VR/AR) in Teaching & Scholarship

Larry Engel (SOC), Brigid Maher (SOC), Krzysztof Pietroszek (SOC), Arthur Shapiro (CAS-PSYC/CS), Mike Treanor(CAS-CS) & Bei Xiao (CAS-CS)

The new medium of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) finds applications in education, healthcare, entertainment, news, engineering, and countless other domains. The goal of this panel is to increase awareness of the AU community regarding past, ongoing, and future VR/AR projects, opportunities for external funding of research, and the VR facilities available to faculty, students, and staff interested in exploring VR/AR.

207: How to Engage Students in Community-Based Research

Garrett Graddy-Lovelace (SIS) & Jane Palmer(SPA-JLC and CBRS)

The scholar-teacher ideal is inherent in courses that involve community-engaged research with students. Two faculty who have conducted community-based research as part of their courses will share their experiences, “how-tos,” as well as challenges and how to overcome them. The presenters will also highlight recent work related to institutionalizing incentives and garnering external funding support for community-engaged scholarship, research, and teaching.

208: Bringing Your Scholarship Into the Classroom

Robin L. Lumsdaine (KSB-FIN), Celine-Marie Pascale (CAS-SOCY) & Shouzhong Zou (CAS-CHEM)

This workshop explores various ways that faculty integrate the scholar/teacher ideal into the classroom. We are particularly concerned with the practical implications of doing research with students, assigning your own books and articles in a course, and using your scholarly expertise to drive classroom pedagogy and content.

209: The Secret(s) to Designing a Highly Effective Course

Tommy White (KSB-MGMT)

In this session, participants will learn one method to quickly and easily design a focused syllabus and run effective classroom sessions. The secret is tied to four simple words:  Content, Illustration, Practice, and Application. Let’s have some fun and walk out feeling 10x better about entering your next (or first) classroom!

210: Teaching & Mentorship: A Balancing Act 

Liz Romig (Career Center), Paula Warrick (Career Center), David Keplinger (CAS-LIT ), Kim Blankenship (CAS-SOCY) & Colin Saldanha (CAS-BIO)

With the proliferation of research opportunities for undergraduates, the phrase “scholar & teacher” has now increasingly expanded to include “& mentor.”  Panelists will speak to the role that mentorship plays in strengthening one’s teaching ability, the kinds of faculty-student relationships that emerge through mentoring, and the challenges that emerge in terms of students’ emotional needs and faculty workloads.

Session Three (2:45 – 4 pm)

301: The Updated First-Year Experience: Courses, Resources & Hacks

Chuck Cox (CAS-LIT), Kelly Joyner (CAS-WSP), Sarah Marsh (CAS-LIT), Jessica Waters (Dean of UG Education and Vice Provost for Academic Student Services), Briana M. Weadock (AUx and FYA) & Stef Woods (CAS-CRGCS / AUx)

How has the new AU Core changed the first-year experience? What does the first-year curriculum look like? What’s it like to advise and teach on the ground? This interactive session aims to answer your AU Core questions and help you brainstorm how your unit can develop/refine courses and programming to complement students’ learning beyond Writing Studies, Complex Problems and AUx.

302: Responding to Sexual Violence Disclosures

Regina D. Curran (Title IX Office), Maya Vizvary (Health Promotion & Advocacy Center) & Jessica Young (CAS-HS)

Research and campus data confirm: when it comes to disclosure, trauma survivors turn to people they trust. This presentation will review the evidence-based research around sexual violence disclosure. The presenters will contextualize the role of oppression in disclosure experience, help-seeking, and the recovery trajectories of survivors of marginalized identities. Attendees will learn skills for responding to disclosures in an informed and supportive way.

303: Creating Communities of Excellence & Caring in the Classroom & Beyond

Robin Adams (Center for Diversity & Inclusion) & Barbara Wien (SIS)

How do educators foster a sense of belonging and community in our classrooms for the emotional well-being of students in a time of anxiety by linking to those most in need in our city?  Our workshop will explore strategies to engage, inspire, motivate, and support students to create a deeper sense of community at AU and across our city.

304: American University Arboretum & Gardens: Resource & Partner & Research Funding Opportunities

Stephanie DeStefano (Facilities Management), Michael Mastrota (Facilities Management) & Jesse Meiller (CAS-ENVS)

In the spirit of the “&” model, AU’s Arboretum is partnering with other organizations to provide avenues for student learning and scholar-teacher and research funding opportunities. Collaborations underway between the Arboretum & Smithsonian Institution, Center for Environmental Filmmaking, and Department of Environmental Science will be featured. The session concludes with an interactive brainstorm focusing on creative ways to forge new opportunities.

305: On-Campus & Online: Locating Higher Education in the Digital Age 

Terra Gargano (SIS), Randy Nordby (KSB-FIN) & Michael Stanaitis (SIS)

Regardless of whether one teaches online, the proliferation of online programs in higher education impacts our work as scholar-teachers in subtle, yet profound ways.  In this session, we investigate the extent to which in-person and online modalities of teaching can conflict with one another, complement one another, and act as force multipliers in the classroom.

306: Scholarship & Teaching: Two Intertwined Partners

Karen Baehler (SPA), Jeffrey Crouch (SPExS), Saif Shahin (SOC) & Chris Tudge (CAS-BIO)

This session focuses on the relationship between scholarship and teaching, as two intertwined dimensions of our activity as faculty. Research active term and tenure-line faculty from different fields will reflect on the ways their research impacts their teaching and vice versa. Beyond the interconnection between research and teaching, participants will also be encouraged to discuss the challenge of balancing teaching, research, mentorship, external grant applications, and publishing.

307: Bringing Your Teaching into Your Research

Aaron Boesenecker (SIS), Gregg Ivers (SPA-GOVT), Adrienne LeBas (SPA-GOVT), Cathy Schneider (SIS), & Patrick Thaddeus Jackson(SIS)

This session will offer examples of and strategies for using classroom teaching as a way of grounding and advancing scholarly research. From classes that explore topics and techniques that the instructor plans to use in publications, to ways that classroom discussions can help to clarify one’s own thinking on those topics, will explore ways to connect their scholar and teacher roles

308: Assessing Class Participation 

Elizabeth “Betsy” Cohn (SIS) & Shari Pattillo(KSB)

This session explores three aspects of assessing participation: (1) How do you quiet the dominating students and not discriminate against students who are less comfortable speaking in class (often minority, female, and international students); (2) How do you assess A or C level participation; and (3) How do you communicate your expectations to your students?

309: The Professional and Personal Rewards of Participating in a Faculty Learning Community (FLC)

Shawn Bates (SIS), Erica Hart (CAS-PSYC), Chelsea Horne (CAS-LIT) & Amanda Taylor(AVP for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)

This session introduces FLCs: a model for faculty learning and development growing in popularity across campuses nation-wide. Participants from last year’s pilot FLC on Building Culturally Sustaining Classrooms will discuss how this format for faculty learning fundamentally changed their view on inclusive teaching, and engage the audience in a conversation about the potential of FLCs on other topics.

310: Pedagogical Implications of Our Information Ecosystem: A Brainstorming Conversation

Gwendolyn J Reece (LIB)

We are in the attention economy.  Students currently coming of age have always had their information personalized, filtered by “black box” algorithms, and mediated through technologies that encourage continuous, shallow engagement. How can we help our students gain competence in navigating our complex and often compromised information ecosystem?  After some brief “scene setting,” this session will be a facilitated brainstorming discussion.