What Matters to Me… and why Speaker Series: The Virtue of Doubt

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The Virtue of Doubt

Rev.  Mark Schaefer
University Chaplain & Adjunct Professor in Department of Philosophy & Religion

About: A speaker series that provides opportunities for members of the AU community to reflect about values, beliefs and motivations that have shaped their personal and professional journeys. This event is sponsored in part by Kay Spiritual Life Center, Center for Teaching, Research & Learning, and the Office of Campus Life. Please RSVP to

Location: Kay Spiritual Life Center Lounge
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 16, 2016; 4:00-5:00PM
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Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students

woman speaking behind microphone

Written by: Lindsay Murphy

On Tuesday September 21, CTRL hosted the first of this academic year’s noontime conversations., “Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students.” Discussing student classroom behaviors that may be disruptive or indicative of a problem, panelists shared productive ways to de-escalate tense moments and how to access additional campus support for students who may be in crisis. The full presentation was recorded and can be viewed below. The panel’s PowerPoint presentation provides suggestions and key contacts as well.


Lindsay Murphy is the Coordinator of Faculty Technology Initiatives in CTRL.

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Outline for Advanced Stata Workshop

STATA logo

On Friday, October 2nd, CTRL is offering it’s first ever all-day Stata training event. The workshop will go from 10:20 am to 4:45pm, with a light lunch served in the early afternoon. The full agenda for the workshop is below. Attendees do not need to be present for the entire time.

To register and see the other workshops we offer, go to


Session 1: 10:20 -11:20 am

  • Stata basics
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 1.1
  • Data management
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 1.2
  • Workflow – Hands-on demonstration
  • OLS Regression Analysis
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 1.3

Break: 11:20 – 11:30 am

Session 2: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

  • Discrete Choice Regression Analysis
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 2.1
  • Multinomial Regression Analysis
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 2.2

Light Lunch: 12:30– 1:00 pm

Session 3: 1:00 -2:15 pm

  • Time Series Regression Analysis
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 3.1.
  • Panel Data Regression Analysis
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 3.2

Break: 2:15 – 2:25 pm

Session 4: 2:25 – 3:50 pm

  • Survey Data, Systems of Linear Regressions, GLS/FGLS/WLS
    • Hands-on demonstration
    • Exercise 3.2
  • Stata Tips and Tricks
    • Hands-on demonstration
  • Stata Programing (Simulation & Matrix)
    • Hands-on demonstration

Session 5: Question and Answers Opportunities will Follow as Desired until 5 pm



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New for Fall 2015! Half-day and full-day Advanced Software Training

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New! CTRL’s Research Support Group is offering extended software training sessions. For Fall 2015, we are offering full-day training in Stata and R, and half-day training in Qualtrics and NVivo. The full-day training sessions will include a light lunch.

Full descriptions for the workshops are below. If you are interested in registering to attend these, or any of our introductory or intermediate level software trainings, please register at the CTRL website:


Use of Stata for Data Management, Analysis, and Visualization
Friday, October 2nd, 10:20 am – 3:50 pm (Light lunch will be provided)
This one-day workshop offers opportunity to users, who already have some familiarity with this statistical application, to learn about a variety of advanced topics and improve their grasp on utilizing the potential of the software. Selected content will include, but is not limited to, programming with Mata, simulations, structural breaks, time series and panel data, discrete choice models, and tips and tricks in coding. Following a brief refresher on introductory aspects of Stata, the workshop will consist of about one hour allocations to discuss the topics listed above. Emphasis will be given to the coding component of working with the program and not so much to the underlying theoretical econometric principles. Register here.

Use of Qualtrics and SPSS for Survey Research and Data Analysis
Thursday, October 8th, 1:10 pm -5:15 pm
Qualtrics is a professional-level online survey software available to all AU faculty, staff, and students, and is frequently used by faculty in both research and teaching contexts. Attendees will learn the basics of online survey creation, as well as advanced methods for organizing and distributing surveys. After working on survey creation, we will explore the data analysis functions internal to Qualtrics, and show how to export survey results to SPSS and perform more sophisticated multivariate data analyses and visualization. Register here.

Use of NVivo for Qualitative Research
Thursday, October 15th, 1:10 pm – 5:15 pm
NVivo is a software tool for undertaking qualitative research that is available to all members of the AU community. We can install it on personal computers and it is also available through the Virtual Computer Lab. We plan on showing some of the basic features of NVivo in importing materials and analysis of them, but want this training to be a working session where participants bring their own qualitative data (text, audio, or video) and actually work on a project. Because there are so many different types of qualitative approaches, we want those attending to come with their own methods in mind and data particular to exploring a relevant research topic. We invite those who are thinking of attending to come by the CTRL Research Lab and get the software installed on their computer prior to the session. We can also advise on proper formatting of documents so they are easy to import into NVivo. Register here.

Use of R for Data Management, Analysis, and Visualization
Friday, November 13th, 10:20 am – 3:50 pm (Light lunch will be provided)
This is a half-day course that guides participants through the fundamentals of using R software for a typical data analysis process. Participants will learn the basics of reading data, descriptive statistics, data visualization, data analysis, and presentation of analytical results. In addition to the fundamentals, faculty may opt to learn some advanced use R techniques, such as time series, panel data, survival regression analysis, as well as utilization of R for text mining, parallel computing, visualization and analysis. Register here.

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An Inspiring Ann Ferren Conference to Start Off 2015

Written by: Anna Olsson

afc15-1CTRL’s largest event of the year–the Ann Ferren Conference on Teaching, Research, and Learning–took place on Friday, January 9th, 2015. This year’s conference – the 26th of its kind – saw the second highest attendance ever, with 460 faculty, staff and graduate students coming together for a day of learning, sharing best practices, collaborating, and networking. The conference program, which was put together by a faculty planning committee, consisted of 50 faculty-lead sessions on topics such as using Open Educational Resources for your courses; faculty and students as public speakers; internship mentoring; innovative examples from online teaching; how students can learn science by doing science; gaining media exposure for your scholarship; what it means to teach critical thinking; and respecting and cultivating diversity in the classroom.

CTRL Staff handing out nametags and conference folders at registration

One of the highlights of this year’s conference was the luncheon plenary speech by Michael S. Roth, President of Wesleyan University, who captivated the audience with an engaging speech drawing on his new book Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters. You can watch a video-recording of the plenary speech in its entirety below.


The high attendance number was not the only testimony of the success of this year’s conference. Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, including these comments:

“It was absolutely wonderful! I was happy with how interactive the sessions were. I also enjoyed learning about the different programs and hearing the student perspectives.”

“Just great. I felt it was a day of inspiration and connection.”

“As a new faculty member I found the sessions extremely informative and helpful.”

“I thought this was an amazing conference, with so many wonderful suggestions in the courses. I plan to consolidate my notes into an action plan going forward relative to improving my teaching (especially active teaching) abilities.”

The key to this success lies most of all in the number of people involved in making AFC2015 happen.

This includes the already mentioned faculty on the Conference Planning Committee, who met several times in the year prior to the conference to review session proposals and build a diverse and solid program. Another set of key contributors were the Teaching and Learning Resources Group Consultants, who spent months tirelessly nailing down the logistics and details that would make the conference work on the day of, and who turned it into their full-time job the week preceding the conference to work down the list of final preparations.

Teaching and Learning Resources Group Consultants Bill, Cat, Erica, and Evan, preparing for the Ann Ferren Conference

This year almost 130 presenters provided another key component of the success of the conference: the content of the conference sessions, above all the variety of sessions, which by one attendee was characterized as “the greatest strength of the program this year.” Finally, on the day of the conference CTRL relied on over 20 staff members who all helped provide the best possible conference experience for everyone involved. This was an inspiring and exciting day for us as well, and we can’t wait to do it all over again in 2016. We will see you then!

To learn more about the Ann Ferren Conference, visit this page. To watch conference session video recordings, visit the CTRL YouTube channel.

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A Celebration of American University’s Green Teachers at CTRL’s Annual Green Tea!

Green Teaching Logo

Written by: Anna Olsson

SoupMug Every year around the beginning of November, CTRL celebrates the many faculty members who have qualified for a Green Teaching Certificate at the Annual Green Tea, held this year on Wednesday, November 5. As usual, the event featured hot apple cider and organic snacks, and was visited both by some of AU’s Certified Green Teachers, who also got to pick up their “Green Teaching” gift, and by students from the environmental student club EcoSense.

The Green Teaching Certificate Program, which is now in its seventh year, rewards faculty who are implementing sustainability measures in their teaching with a “Certified Green Course” logo on their syllabi and Blackboard pages. So far this fall semester 126 faculty have been certified, and since the program’s inception in 2008, over 380 individual faculty members have been certified as green. The program has also grown beyond American University, being replicated at five other universities nation-wide.

At the center, Certified Green Faculty Member Evan Kraft (CAS-Economics) with EcoSense students Rebecca Wolf and Hannah Miller

So, what does it take to become a Certified Green Professor? Well, to contradict Kermit, the frog-–it is easy to be green! We have deliberately designed a program that is based on self-reflection and self-reporting, and that rewards faculty for the things they do to contribute to a more sustainable university, without necessary penalizing them for what they don’t do. As an example, you can qualify for a certificate even if you teach a subject that requires you to print student papers and assignments, as long as you do some other things (such as schedule your office hours on the day of the class, to reduce the number of commutes to campus that you or your students have to make) to compensate for that. To earn the basic level of the certificate – the One Apple Level – you will need 45 points out of 100. For those who are of a competitive nature, and who are setting even higher standards for themselves, we have a Two Apples, Three Apples, Four Apples, and Four Apples with a Goldstar level. We also give bonus points for measures that might be too field specific to put on the general list, for example to a music professor for recycling guitar strings, or to an art professor for using non-toxic paints.

To learn more about the Green Teaching Program, stop by our office in Hurst 204, or go to

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Registration for TRL Workshops

Registration for the 2013 Teaching, Research, and Technology Workshops is now open.

The Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning, in collaboration with the University Library and the Office of Information Technology, invites you to attend Teaching, Research & Technology — a workshop series demonstrating new and innovative approaches to classroom teaching and research. This year’s program includes forty-four hands-on sessions and three luncheon presentations. Read a full description of the program and check out the full schedule of the 2013 workshops.

Quick Links:

A full schedule of the 2013 workshops is available here.
Descriptions for the 2013 workshops are available here.
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ADP: Interagency Mobile Learning Webinar Series

ADP will be hosting a webinar series on Interagency Mobile Learning on July 16-18, 2013. From their site:

This special 3-day event will be open to hundreds of participants completely online using both GoTo Meeting and Defense Connect Online (DCO) conferencing capabilities. The event co-hosts are:

• Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative
• Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO)
• Defense Acquisition University (DAU)
• U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) and Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE).

The multi-day format will allow you to participate in the sessions that are most relevant to your needs and interests. Join us for an informative set of online sessions to hear the latest from our esteemed list of pioneers and experts presenting on the latest trends and topics on mobile design & development, mobile learning, and mobile government initiatives and projects.

For more information and registration, visit the event’s website.

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Graduate Student Research Symposium

This coming Monday select SIS graduate students will be presenting their research at the Spring Research Symposium. This is a great opportunity to listen to original research conducted by other graduate students at AU. If you are a first year graduate student contemplating topics for your thesis or SRP, this might be an excellent opportunity to hear what others have done. Presenters will have ten minutes to share their research followed by five minutes for questions from the audience.

Come to learn about research. Come to support your friends.
Come to learn more about a particular topic.
Sponsored by the Graduate Student Council and the Journal of International Service
Founders Room, SIS

11:30  Crystal Corman
Leadership Spaces and Potential for Women within Islam in Malaysia:Professional Women’s Experiences and Perceptions
11:45  Linh Nguyen
Does urbanization increase access to improved sanitation for all? An analysis of the role of urban poor in explaining variation in access to improved sanitation
12:00  Mohsin Ali
Troubled Frequencies: Pakistan’s Media War Against Militant Ideologies
12:15  Sarah Chu
A Cautious Pendulum: The Momentum of Taliban Negotiations
12:30    Lunch
1:30  Sarah Howell
Research Award Presentation: South Africa for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP17)
1:45  Rebecca Novick 
The Private Sector as a Strategic Partner for Peace: How Business Can Overcome Violence in Colombia and Ciudad Juárez
2:00  Nadia Bulkin
Regionalism in the Mind of Sukarno: Regional Communities in Post-Colonial Context
2:15  Inu Barbee
Regulatory Convergence and North American Integration: Lessons from the European Single Market
2:30  Johannes Langer
A Specter is Haunting Kenya: The Construction of Identity and Electoral Violence
2:45  Anna Fox
Women’s Political Participation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Producing Policy that is Important to Women and Gender Parity?


Save the Date: Research Method Seminar Wed. March 21

Using Commercial Satellite Imagery to Increase Transparency of Nuclear Forces

Wed. March 21, noon-1:30pm in Hurst 202. A light lunch will be served!!

The advent of high-resolution commercial satellite imagery has revolutionized the ability of people to monitor activities anywhere on surface of the planet. Only a decade ago, access to satellite imagery with better than one meter resolution required top secret access to military spy satellites. Now, anyone with a laptop computer can use GoogleEarth and several other free providers of free commercial satellite imagery to monitor developments in anything ranging from urban sprawl to deforestation to nuclear weapons deployments. As director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen uses commercial satellite imagery to monitor and document the nuclear forces of the world’s nine nuclear weapons states. His presentation will showcase some of his discoveries and give advise on how to use this unique technology to strengthen analysis and writing on nuclear weapons and non-proliferation issues.

About the speaker: Hans Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists where he focused on researching and describing the status of the world’s nuclear forces and the government policies that guide their potential use. His work is frequently published on the FAS Strategic Security Blog. He is a co-author to the Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the World Nuclear Forces overview in the SIPRI Yearbook. Before he joined the Federation in 2005, Kristensen worked as a consultant to the Nuclear Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, D.C., and before that as a project officer at the Nautilus Institute in Berkeley, California.