Fall 2020

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Critical Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Series

Insights for Faculty: Persistence in Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

Wednesday | March 24 |12:00pm-1:15pm EST 

Dr. Shari Watkins | CTRL

In what ways to we as faculty support all students including those on the margins in persisting in our postsecondary environments? This workshop will explore the connections between persistence in postsecondary environments, marginalized student populations, and the role of faculty. Informed by critical perspectives, this workshop offers empirical evidence about how faculty should consider their roles in promoting students’ academic achievement and retention in postsecondary environments regardless of the discipline. We will collectively engage in dialogue to reflect upon practices enacted while challenging ourselves to identify and employ new practices, strategies, insights, and perspectives in our teaching and service.

Our Old Normal Cannot Be Our New Normal

Tuesday | February 9 |12:00pm-1:15pm EST 

Dr. Kevin Gannon | Grandview University

Dr. Raychelle Burks | Chemistry, CTRL IP Faculty Fellow

In our times of remote teaching and Zoom fatigue, it’s understandably tempting for us to yearn for getting “back to normal.” But we must realize that the pre-Covid normal was neither good nor sustainable for many of the students with whom we work in higher education. Of course, there will be a “new normal,” but its shape remains amorphous. This session will challenge you to consider ideas to shape the “new normal” for your pedagogy and practice. We’ll do this by examining what we and our students have experienced in “College during Covid,” and confronting the inequities and disparities these experiences have revealed. In doing so, we’ll consider what a “new normal” based upon radical welcoming, inclusion, and belonging, and an explicitly antiracist praxis might look like in our own teaching and learning practices. Participants will have the opportunity to not only clarify their own pedagogical stance but to leave with specific strategies that can readily be incorporated into their teaching.

News You Can Use: Inclusively Integrating Current Events in the Classroom

Tuesday |October 20th |12:00pm-1:15pm EST 

Dr. Talisa J. Carter | Assistant Professor, Department of Justice, Law, & Criminology 

To bring learning to life, many educators include current events in their classrooms. Despite the best of intentions, using the news as a teaching tool can go wrong. This workshop explores how educators can integrate current events into their courses in inclusive ways that promote critical thinking, community, and learning outcomes. The session will provide examples, practical tips, and opportunities for attendees to develop and receive feedback on “news you can use” activities for personal use. By relying on literature, discussion, and peer feedback, participants will strengthen their teaching toolkit via the inclusive integration of current events. 

Engaging the Issues, Needs, and Challenges Faced by AU Undergraduate Students of Color

Monday, November 2nd | 12:00-1:15 pm EST 

Dr. Salvador Vidal-Ortiz | Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

AU students confront the everyday impact of shallow terms like diversity, equity, and inclusion. Students of color in particular often voice being read as “diversity service providers,” and are expected to speak about their experiences, whether it be discrimination, or are asked to explain and justify their presence as a “success story.” These are strategies that solidify whiteness as a natural, hegemonic, and an explicit norm on campus. Using data from a student-led class exercise based on an analysis of focus groups with non-White AU students, this workshop will offer examples for faculty to consider in their teaching and interactions with students and illuminate some of the frustrating engagements with student life and other campus offices.  

Interrogating Whiteness, Antiblackness, and Racism in Practice, Curriculum, and Policy 

Tuesday, November 17th | 12:00-1:15 pm EST 

Dr. Traci Dennis | Professorial Lecturer, School of Education 

Dr. Joshua Schuschke | Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Education

This session begins the self-reflection process of unlearning biases and identifying racist structures in the academy. Participants will partake in a series of exercises to interrogate how their positionalities across their social identities are situated within the U.S. racial caste system. Furthermore, participants will reflect and question how their upbringing, training, and internalized racist assumptions about students of color function within higher education. Participants will critically reflect on their experiences and practices with students of color, as well as how they design and structure their course content and syllabi. These honest self-evaluations and critical analysis tools will serve as the building blocks for educators to begin their work in antiracism. 

Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: Teaching in Uncertain Times

(Recorded Webinar – password: trauma372)

Dr. Mays Imad | Professor and Coordinator, Pima Community College

 Learning Outcomes:

  • To promote collaboration, ask students what matters to them now, what they want to learn, and what interests them. Take notes and incorporate their ideas into your communications and instructions. 
  • Make a commitment to learn about and implement accessible and equitable teaching & learning strategies. For example, consider an assessment framework that is less focused on grading and more on learning. 
  • This webinar introduces faculty to the six guiding principles to a trauma-informed approach and offers numerous strategies (such as the ones outlined above) to mitigate the impact of trauma in the learning process.

Inclusive Teaching: Meet the Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Fellows

Session date: TBD | Mary Graydon Center (MGC) – 245

Dr. Brian McGowan | Associate Director CTRL | Associate Professor School of Education
Dr. Amaarah DeCuir | Professorial Lecturer School of Education
Dr. Krisztina Domjan | Professorial Lecturer School of Professional and Extended Studies

Inclusive classrooms are places in which thoughtfulness and mutual respect are valued and promoted. Inclusive teaching considers the needs and backgrounds of all students, regardless of their identity to create a classroom where they feel valued and have equitable access to learn. Unfortunately, some students, particularly those from underrepresented and minoritized backgrounds report having negative experiences with faculty in the classroom. Given the importance of inclusive teaching, we must place pedagogy at the center of our efforts. This workshop will showcase our Inclusive Pedagogy Faculty Fellows program, as well as three important considerations for creating an inclusive classroom.

Other CTRL Events

The 10th Anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

Friday, January 31 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Washington College of Law – NT01

Keynote speaker: Judy Shepard

Michael Lieberman, Anti-Defammation League
David Stacey, The Human Rights Campaign
Kirsten Clark, The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights

The Program on Law and Government, Lambda Law Society, Jewish Law Society and Black Law Students Association are co-hosting an event on January 31st to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This law allows federal authorities to intervene when local authorities are unable to or refuse to prosecute a hate crime. Read and learn more about the act.

Fall 2019

Navigating Gender Pronouns: How Professors Can Create More Inclusive Classrooms

Tuesday, November 19 | 11:20 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. | Mary Graydon Center (MGC) 245

Moderator: Anna Olsson, Associate Director of Programs and Events, CTRL

Anna Morrison, Center for Diversity & Inclusion
Perry Zurn, Philosophy & Religion
Nabina Liebow, Philosophy & Religion

Eager to learn more about how and when to ask students for their pronouns? Want to get a deeper understanding on why students use pronouns other than she/her or he/him? Join the Center for Teaching, Research & Learning (CTRL) and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion for an interactive panel and discussion on how to navigate pronouns and create an inclusive classroom environment where all students feel welcome. Recent research shows that affirming young people’s genders decreases suicide risk significantly. Come learn more about how folks at AU, in service of the Inclusive Excellence Plan, are working to create a campus where all students feel respected and how you can help.


  • To be updated

Spring 2019

An Intersection of Production, Research, Teaching and Play

Wednesday, March 6 | 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Don Myers Building, Game Lab, Room 117

Andy Phelps

This talk explores the integration of teaching, research, and creative practice as a basis for computing and arts education though a retrospective of the design, development, history and analysis of the programs, projects, related work of Professor Andrew Phelps at the Rochester Institute of Technology.  Specific focus is placed on the integration of computing and the arts, the role of and support for multidisciplinary teaching and research, and lessons learned, current challenges, and related national and international trends in games development education.  This session features numerous examples from curriculum design, current research projects, creative practice, student work, and academic/industry partnerships.

More on Andy:

Andrew “Andy” Phelps is a Professor of Art & Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is the also the founder of the RIT School of Interactive Games & Media, the founder of the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity (MAGIC) and the founder of the related campus-wide studio and production organization, MAGIC Spell Studios. He led the design and establishment of the RIT Masters of Science in Game Design & Development, as well as the Bachelors of the same name, both of which have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation since their creation by the Princeton Review.

Andy’s alumni can be found at major studios worldwide including Microsoft/343, Activision|Blizzard, Bungie, Sony, Zynga, and more, as well as numerous other engineering, art, design, and interactive media companies. His students have also gone on to successful careers in graduate and doctoral programs, government agencies at the local, state, national and international level, non-profits, and several philanthropic foundations. His work in game design, game development, game art and game education is recognized internationally, has regularly been presented at numerous academic conferences and in related journals, has been supported by grants from multiple federal agencies, numerous state and local agencies, and research labs at private corporations. These include the Library of Congress, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education, Microsoft Research, and more. His work has also been extensively covered in the popular press and trade literature, including USA Today, CNN, the New York Times, Polygon, Gamasutra, Inside HigherEd, the Chronicle, Campus Technology, etc.

In addition to his roles at RIT, he currently serves as president of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA), which he co-founded with colleagues in 2014, and which now represents over 310 colleges and universities with games curricula world wide.  In the spring of 2019 Phelps is serving as a Games Scholar in Residence at the School of Communications at American University, working with faculty and staff at the School and the AU Game Lab.  He maintains a website featuring his work as an artist, researcher, and educator at https://andyworld.io/