The 31st Annual Ann Ferren Conference

The 2020 Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research, and Learning was held on January 10, 2020, in the Mary Graydon Center at American University.

Schedule of Events

  • Registration and Breakfast (8:00AM)
  • Morning Plenary (8:30AM – 9:15AM)
  • Session One (9:30AM – 10:45AM)
  • Session Two (11:00AM – 12:15PM)
  • Lunch Plenary (12:30PM – 2:30PM)
  • Session Three (2:45PM – 4:00PM)
  • Dessert Reception (4:00PM – 4:45PM)
Logo for 31st annual Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research and Learning

Session One (9:30AM – 10:45AM)

  • 101: Indigenous Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning, Decolonizing

    Elizabeth Rule (CAS)

    This interactive session will address teaching strategies, learning approaches, and research methods rooted in decolonization theory and indigenous frameworks. Topics for discussion include: microaggressions toward indigenous students/cultures, the colonial roots of research, land acknowledgment practices, community engagement, and more. A portion of this session will also be dedicated to discussion on teaching on traditional indigenous homelands in the nation’s capital.

  • 102: Thriving While Paying “Invisible” Taxes: Addressing Challenges of Minority Faculty Head On

    Lynn A. Addington (SPA), TaLisa J. Carter (SPA), Lallen T. Johnson (SPA) & Kareem L. Jordan (SPA)

    Thriving in teaching and scholarship is the goal of academics, yet for minority faculty the journey often comes with “invisible” taxes. These taxes can include disproportionately mentoring minority students, disheartening student evaluations, difficulties establishing authority in the classroom, the imposter syndrome, and a void in professional mentorship. In this session we will tackle these challenges head on through sharing, discussion, and reflective activity.

  • 103: ADVANCE AU: Advancing Opportunities for Women & Underrepresented Minority Faculty in STEM at AU

    Meg Bentley (CAS – BIO), Mary Clark (WCL), Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy (SOE) & Monica Jackson (CAS)

  • The ADVANCE AU team would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on our recent NSF grant-funded project to assess gender and racial equity among women and Underrepresented Minority (URM) STEM faculty at AU. Come hear about our new two-year study, kicking off in early January, and share your questions and comments with us as to how best to approach this work.
  • 104: How to Create, Monitor, and Grade Team Projects/Processes

    Tommy White (KSB – MGMT)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    Employers want graduates who can work in teams yet universities consistently fail in delivering this capability. In this session we will explore what works/fails in designing and implementing team projects and what we can do as professors to strengthen this process. If a future team project goes haywire, you will now have someone specifically to blame (Tommy White).

  • 105: Clarity and Creativity: Exploring Alternative Syllabus Formats

    Alex Breiding (SOE), Rebecca F. Hazen (CAS – BIO), Jeremiah Patterson (SOC) & Maddox Pennington (CAS – LIT)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    How can we make syllabi less like an instruction manual and more like a map to a mental adventure? In this interactive panel discussion, we will explore alternative styles and formats of syllabus design that inject creativity without compromising clarity for students. Participants are encouraged to share examples of creative elements from their own current syllabi and how they might incorporate ideas from this session into their future syllabi.

  • 106: Mindfulness & Contemplative Pedagogical Practices in the Learning Environment

    Michelle Chatman, Michelle Levere, Elissa Margolin (CAS – Health Studies) & Jorhena Thomas (SIS)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    In this session we will provide information on the benefits – for both faculty and students – of using mindfulness and contemplative pedagogical practices in the classroom. Session participants will understand the principles underlying these approaches and will be equipped with practical ideas for how they can apply them in their own classrooms, regardless of the subject matter of the course.

  • 107: Exploring a Model for Adjunct Teaching and Scholarship

    Susan Mockler (CAS) & Derek Tokaz (CAS)

    What does thriving as a teacher and scholar mean for adjunct faculty, especially for those using their adjunct appointments as a foothold in academia at the start of their career? In this session we will explore the unique challenges and opportunities experienced by adjunct faculty as they navigate the new normal of a work-work-life balance.

  • 108: Learning by Leading: New Opportunities for Project-Based Learning

    Stephanie DeStefano (Facilities Management), Cindy Brown, Jerri A. Husch (CAS) & Michael Mastrota (Facilities Management)

    Learning by Leading (LxL) is an exciting new concept that started at AU this year. In collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, AU students are leading projects both on campus and at the Smithsonian. Come learn about the LxL model and join an interactive discussion to see if it can be helpful in your teaching and research.

  • 109: Parenting Hacks for Faculty

    Donna Dietz (CAS), Karen Knee & Michael Robinson (CAS)

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    Starting your academic career as a tenure line or term faculty member is challenging in its own right, but when combined with parenting, it can seem completely overwhelming. This session will provide practical information, helpful strategies, and emotional support for those navigating or contemplating this difficult and rewarding time.

  • 110: AUx2 DIV and Beyond: A Pipeline of Student Learning

    Justin Bernstine (SOC), Priya Doshi (SOC) & Izzi Stern (Office of Vice Provost & AUx)

    This session will cover how AUx2 begins to set the stage for further learning in Diversity and Equity (DIV) courses and serves as a pipeline to other AU Core requirements and to university-wide programming initiatives. In particular, participants will be able to examine how DIV courses and departmental programming based on the foundation of the AUx2 curriculum can serve as next steps in students’ learning.

Session Two (11:00AM – 12:15PM)

  • 201: Integrating Antiracist Practice in Teaching

    Rachel Brown (Office of Vice Provost & AUx), Sarah Jones (Office of Vice Provost & AUx), Esther Philip (Office of Vice Provost & AUx) & Darien Smith (Office of Vice Provost & AUx)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    Are you apprehensive when conversing with students or colleagues about race? We cannot work without acknowledging race as it impacts our daily lives. You’ll hear from adjunct faculty who conducted a community of practice based on participatory action research. After examining beliefs, biases, and practices, participants will leave with tools to build their own communities of care to sustain antiracist practice.

  • 202: Bridging Across Cultures and Making New Discoveries in an Inclusive Learning Environment

    Krisztina Domjan (SPExS) & Gul M. Gur (SPExS)

    How do we approach our multicultural classrooms with both domestic and international students? In this session participants will discuss how to transform tension-producing conflicts or unproductive participation into constructive moments in culturally diverse classrooms. They will receive guidelines on how to modify existing assignments through the concept of transparency, so diverse learners can complete them with success.

  • 203: Understanding and Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities

    Erica Cirineo, Michaela Desimone, Grayson Hanes, Nicole Marjorie Nowinski (ASAC) & Emily Peterson (SOE)

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    Many students will proactively disclose a learning disability to the university, while others will only disclose after academic difficulties. Through presented research and diverse student perspectives, attendees will gain an understanding of university processes and support strategies for these students to incorporate into their everyday work..

  • 204: Class Discussion: Identifying the Purpose and Helping Students Capture the Content

    Elizabeth (Betsy) Cohn (SIS)

    Why do you hold class discussion? For students to learn content, how do you help everyone capture the points classmates make? Are students held accountable for this content in exams/essays? Do you want students to develop skills like critical thinking or public speaking? How do you help improve those skills? How do you communicate goals of class discussion to students?

  • 205: Assignment-Design Charrette: A Collaborative Process to Strengthen Assignments

    Cindy Bair Van Dam (CAS-Literature), Erin Horan (CTRL), Bradly Knight (AU Core) & Kim Westemeier (CTRL)

    Assignment-design charrettes promote faculty collaboration and learner-centered curriculum development by engaging participants in structured peer review of one another’s assignments. Faculty will form small groups and spend 15 minutes per faculty member, time that includes: introductory comments about the assignment, conversation, and written comments.

  • 206: Creating an AU-EU Center: Building Bridges across Disciplines

    Kimberly Cowell-Meyers (SPA-GOVT), Michelle Egan (SIS), Fernanda G. Nicola (WCL) & Tim Rivera

    Watch the video recording of this session

    AU has a breadth of faculty teaching and researching on Europe, working together in an informal, often ad hoc manner. Learn about the externally funded new EU Center, which sustains cross-disciplinary collaborations around key issues. It’s designed to enhance collaborative scholarship, raise academic visibility and policy engagement, and promote team teaching and webinars with European partners.

  • 207: Becoming a Teacher Scholar: Co-Authoring & Collecting Data with Students

    Ernesto Castañeda (CAS – Sociology), Natalia Cañas, Cristiana Little & Nina Yamanis (SIS)

    This session will provide concrete examples of projects that successfully included students in data collection, drafting, or publishing of academic research. We’ll address common questions and doubts that arise when working with students on research initiatives. We’ll discuss how these projects allowed us to become Teacher Scholars, help students become published authors, and help address knowledge gaps that we/our students had.

  • 208: Reimagine Your Teaching with Ideas from the IDEAS Lab

    Krzysztof Pietroszek (SOC)

    From using brain-computer interfaces in education to creating holograms of Peace Corps volunteers, the IDEAS (Immersive Designs, Experiences, Applications, and Stories) Lab is AU’s hub of immersive media innovation. In this session, we discuss the conceptualization and results of some of our projects. We will stress the importance of engaging undergraduate and graduate students in experiential learning and research.

  • 209: Efficiency Hacks for Faculty: Balancing the Demands on Our Time

    Rob Shand (SOE) & Jennifer Steele (SOE)

    As faculty members, we juggle pressing responsibilities for research, teaching, and service. Managing these responsibilities demands that we use our work time efficiently. From scheduling apps to delegation, project management to grading tools, come learn practical strategies for minimizing busy work and maximizing focus on the work that matters most. Bring your best efficiency hacks to share with your colleagues.

  • 210: Living-Learning Communities as a Site for Interdisciplinary Thinking

    Rebecca Comfort (UC), Chuck Cox (CAS-Literature), Celeste Davis (CAS – Health Studies), Richard Duncan (UC), Robert Johnson (SPA), Martyn Oliver (CAS) & Stef Woods (AUx)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    This session will present lessons learned from the University College undergraduate living-learning community (LLC). Foremost, cohort-based learning is a productive approach for interdisciplinary collaboration and learning for students and faculty. Participants will discuss best practices in student and faculty engagement, collaboration, and communication, to understand how the work encouraged by LLCs can translate to other academic settings.

Session Three (2:45PM – 4:00PM)

  • 301: Creating a Classroom of Care: Moving Beyond Microaggressions

    Robin Adams (CDI), Consuelo Grier (CDI), Anna Morrison (CDI), Shannon Smith (CDI) & Michelle Strange (CDI)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    Looking to create a more inclusive learning environment focusing on respect, being open to the voices of others, and using thoughtful language and practices? This interactive workshop will include faculty with expertise on how to navigate difficult conversations on privilege, bias, microaggressions, and fear in the classroom. Additionally, we will provide participants the tools, confidence and practice to achieve classrooms of care.

  • 302: Engaging Veterans on Campus: Tremendous Possibilities, Solvable Challenges

    Shawn Bates (SIS), Daniel M. Gade (SPA), Terra Gargano (SIS), Tony Hollinger (Campus Life) & Patrick Malone (SPA)

    Watch the video recording of this session 

    This session will establish a deeper understanding of AU’s relationship with its Military Affiliated faculty, staff, students, and administrators – current, past, and future. We will discuss strategies for understanding, engaging, and supporting these individuals in the AU community while capitalizing on their unique experiences, skills, and perspectives in and outside of the classroom.

  • 303: 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!

  • 304: Harvesting Student Feedback for Classroom Innovation

    Meg Bentley (CAS – BIO), Rebecca F. Hazen (CAS – BIO) & Pallavi Kumar (SOC)

    In this workshop, participants will explore ways to optimally benefit from student feedback. We will discuss ways to diversify feedback, maximize response rates, and apply a framework to transform this information into helpful suggestions and tangible classroom improvements. Expect to work in groups on example feedback and then individually (with guidance) on a model for revisions and refinements for the new semester.

  • 305: Supporting Student Wellness: What, How, and Why

    Pritma (Mickey) Irizarry (Health Promotion & Advocacy Center), Andrea Malamisura (Office of Vice Provost) & Elissa Margolin (CAS)

    Join a panel of faculty, staff, and students to examine data on student health as it relates to academic performance. Explore a range of concrete tips and techniques to alleviate stress, promote healthy decision-making, foster more meaningful connections in class (with others as well as with course material), support higher levels of well-being, and optimize the learning environment.

  • 306: Embodying Scholarly Teaching with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

    Erin Horan (CTRL) & Jesse Meiller (CAS – ENVS)

    The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, or SoTL, describes the process of systematically researching your teaching practices. This session will introduce attendees to the field of SoTL including how to get started, typical measurement tools SoTL research employs, and venues for publishing your research findings in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, and other outlets.

  • 307: Putting Student Engagement into Practice in Online Courses

    Solange Garnier-Fox (CAS), Daniella Mascarenhas, Ashley Roccamo (University Library) & Kim Westemeier (CTRL)

    One of the biggest challenges when designing a course is ensuring that students are engaged. But what does this mean in an online course? In this session, we will use social presence to enhance our understanding of what it means for students to be “present” in an online context. We will examine pre-existing assessments as well as create new ones that maximize online student engagement.

  • 308: Complementing Classroom Learning with Site Visits & Experiences

    Jason Fabrikant (SPExS) & Heather Heckel (SPExS)

    In this session we will share examples and best practices for using co-curricular site visits and other experiential learning opportunities to enhance student learning. We will consider the breadth of opportunities in our region and best practices for planning, implementing, reinforcing, and evaluating these experiences. Participants will draft their own site visit activity and are encouraged to share ideas and resources.

  • 309: What I Wish I Knew When I Started Teaching

    Laura Lawson Duval (CAS – PSYC), Jody Gan (CAS – HLTH), Erica Hart (CAS – PSYC), & Whitney Mhoon-Mock (CAS – PSYC)

    Watch the video recording of this session

    Graduate school tends to teach you a lot about content but very little about how to teach this content to others. This workshop will reflect on common challenges faced by those new to teaching, along with resources and strategies for overcoming them. We welcome new teachers looking for ideas as well as experienced teachers planning new courses or with suggestions to share.