Noontime Conversations

The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning sponsors two or three conversational lunches per semester focused on topics of special interest to Faculty. Past Noontime Conversations have included Teaching First Year Students, Addressing Students’ Stress and Mental Health Issues, Active Learning: Why It Matters, and Problem Based Learning. If you have a particular issue you would like to share with faculty in this venue, please contact Anna Olsson, at x6077.

Spring 2018

Canons Under Fire: Struggles in Decolonizing University Curriculum

with Betsy Cohn (SIS), Garrett Graddy-Lovelace (SIS), Jim Mittelman (SIS), Randy Persaud (SIS), Malini Ranganathan (SIS), David Vine (CAS – Anthropology), Wanda Wigfall-Williams (SIS)

Wednesday, April 25  |  12:00pm – 1:30pm  |  McDowell Formal Lounge

Come join a discussion on how to decolonize university curriculum. What does it mean to incorporate colonial history, post-colonial studies, and decolonial theory into curriculum, across disciplines?

What do we at AU have to learn from this debate –and opportunity– as it unfolds around the world?

Faculty Development Leadership Cohort: Creating Inclusive Classrooms

with Mary Clark (Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost),  Kumea Shorter-Gooden (Training Developer and Consultant), and faculty members from the Leadership Cohort; Moderator: Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (CAS – Sociology)

Wednesday, March 28  |  12:00pm – 1:30pm  |  McDowell Formal Lounge

In Fall 2017, Mary Clark invited faculty members from all Colleges/Schools to participate in a first workshop development to be facilitated by faculty members from across campus. Partly motivated by student and faculty demand for more critical engagement among faculty on issues of diversity and inclusivity, the 5 sessions evoked a series of discussions among the first cohort of faculty in order to develop curriculum.

In collaboration with Dr. Kumea Shorter-Gooden, a training developer and consultant, the cohort launched on a 75-minute session offered across campus in the last 2 months. In this session, Dean Clark, Dr. Shorter-Gooden, and a handful of the faculty members involved will contextualize the history behind this effort, summarize the session experiences, and offer what they envision are next steps for furthering these conversations (in and beyond the classroom).

Enhancing Community-Engaged Scholarship and Teaching

with Garrett Graddy-Lovelace (SIS), and Maria De Jesus (CTRL, SIS)

Thursday, March 22  |  12:00pm – 1:30pm  |  Butler Board Room

Following the panel at this year’s Ann Ferren Conference on this topic, we want to continue a campus-wide dialogue on how to evaluate, support, enhance, and value community-engaged scholarship and teaching. Our goal is to keep learning what AU faculty, staff, and administrators are already doing and thinking on this topic, and to brainstorm if/how to incorporate community-based scholarship into AU’s new Strategic Vision process.

Navigating Diverse Political Ideologies in the Classroom and Beyond

with Wendy Melillo (SOC), Rose Shinko (SIS), Eric Lohr (CAS – History), and Lynn Addington (SPA)

Tuesday, March 6  |  12:00pm – 2:00pm  |  MGC 3-4

This is a panel that will speak to issues related to varying political ideologies (of both students and faculty) and how to hold productive discussions both in and out of classroom.

Financial Challenges Faced By Many of Our Students

with Camille Clark (Center for Diversity and Inclusion), Manpreet Dayal (Class of 2021), David Rose (CTRL), Kaitlyn Vitez (U.S. Public Interest Research Group), and Fanta Aw (Vice President of Campus Life); Moderator: Maria De Jesus (CTRL, SIS)

Monday, February 19, 2018  |  12:00pm – 2:00pm  |  McDowell Formal Lounge

This discussion will highlight challenges faced by an increasing number of our AU students. From the cost of textbooks and food security issues to education expenses overall, affordability and access issues are growing concerns among ALL students at American University. Although not exclusively, a growing number of our students who are considered first generation, may be especially vulnerable to these challenges. Come hear directly about the experiences of a first generation college student as well as insights from some of the leaders on campus as well as an affiliated organization, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). These leaders are attuned to these issues and are actively creating resources to address some of these challenges. This discussion has far reaching implications for our entire community both in the classroom and beyond, so we strongly encourage you to attend.

Fall 2017

Building a Culturally Sustaining Classroom

with Amanda Taylor

Tuesday, September 19, 2017  |  12:00pm – 1:30pm  |  Butler Board Room

How do we, as educators, make sense of the power dynamics that structure our everyday lives and their implications for our students, ourselves, and our teaching?

Racial Literacy in the Wake of Charlottesville

with Ibram X. Kendi (CAS – History and School of International Service), Malini Ranganathan (School of International Service), Jordanna Matlon (School of International Service), Lily Wong (CAS – Literature), and Salvador Vidal Ortiz (CAS – Sociology)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017  |  12:00 – 1:30 PM  |  MGC 3 & 4

In the aftermath of white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, VA and the rising tide of racial violence in the U.S., some educators around the country are taking a hard look at racial literacy in their curricula. Racial literacy involves an intellectual anti-racist socialization and a way of perceiving and responding to the racial climate and structures in our society. Those who have gained racial literacy have a heightened ability to name and challenge various forms of racism as they intersect with ethnicity, gender, class, and other forms of difference. This Noontime Conversation will bring together faculty from a variety of disciplines to share insights into how we, as a university faculty, can bring greater racial literacy into AU’s teaching and learning.

Previous Session Topics


Judging the Veracity of Sources of Information
(2/28/2017) (watch the video-recording)

Bringing DC to Your Classroom

Strengthening Our Interactional Competence with Students

Free Speech and the Classroom: What to Consider
(10/20/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students (9/21/2016) (watch the video-recording)


Teaching First Year Students: Challenges and Opportunities (3/31/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Transforming Courses through Open Educational Resources (3/22/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Dealing with Conflicting Political Ideologies in the Classroom (2/23/2016)

Addressing Students’ Stress and Mental Health Issues: Strategies for Faculty (1/28/2016) (watch the video-recording)

Internships as a Pathway from Liberal Arts to Careers (10/21/2015)

Active Learning: Why It Matters (9/24/2015)

Navigating Difficult Conversations in the Classroom (8/26/15) (watch the video-recording)


Reacting to the Past (3/30/2015)

Problem Based Learning (2/26/2015)

Combine Your iPad and iPhone To Teach, Present, Write, and Conduct Research (1/27/2015)

Doing the Reading: Is the Cost of Textbooks a Factor? (11/13/2014)

Student Voices: AU Undergraduate Curriculum (10/15/2014)

Ways To Help Students Improve Their Writing Skills (9/16/2014)


eBooks in Higher Education: Reading Between the Lines (3/27/2014)

Learning and the Brain: Cognitive Processes that Underlie Learning (with Daniel Willingham) (2/25/2014)

“Out of Print” Film by Vivienne Roumani (2/5/2014)

Where’s Professor Waldo in the Lands of MOOCs (10/16/2013)

Connecting the Dots: Aligning Course Content in Undergraduate Curriculum (9/17/2013)


Teaching with Research (3/25/2013)

Student Voices: Lessons from Student Survey Data (2/27/2013)

Another Student Recommendation? (1/28/2013)

Beyond SETs: Continuing the Conversation (10/17/2012)

The Art of Teaching – Perils and Pleasures of Pedagogical Interdisciplinarity (9/18/2012)


Beyond SETs: Brainstorming the Possibilities (3/21/2012)

Teaching with Research (2/27/2012)

Can’t Get to Campus? How to Keep Your Class Going Anyway (1/24/2012)

Food for Thought – Using Gastronomy as an Incentive to Learn (10/19/2011)

Face time with the Teaching Coach: Tips and Tricks for Better Teaching (9/20/2011)


Measures of Good Teaching (4/6/2011)

How to Quantify Great Ideas (3/24/2011)

Facebook Startup – New Classroom Tools (3/16/2011)

Valentine’s Luncheon: Researching Teaching and Teaching Research (2/14/2011)

Learning from Our Students: How Research on Our Teaching Informs Practice and Policy (11/18/2010)

Hybrid Courses: The Best of Both Worlds (9/21/2010)


Mobility Learning in Education: The Future is Now (4/12/2010)

Reflections on What We Learned from the February Snow and Class Continuity (3/18/2010)

Evaluating Capstones, Comps and Significant Research Papers (3/3/2010)

Teaching with Research (2/17/2010)

Reflections on “Inspired Teaching” (10/21/2009)

Making Your Own Film As a Learning Tool (9/23/2009)