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Examining Classroom Dynamics: Responding to Students

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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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Term Faculty Role and Voice in Service and Governance

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #408:

In this session, the Term Faculty Task Force presents the findings from its recent survey relating to CAS Term Faculty service and governance activities. The goal is to explore the level of inclusion and engagement among Term Faculty in service and department governance. In particular, the session is interested in assessing, (1) Are Term Faculty over or under burdened with service?; (2) Is the service of term faculty valued and/or recognized?; (3) Do Term Faculty have a voice in important department governance issues?; and (4) Are Term Faculty aware of the service and governance opportunities? Studying Term Faculty service roles and involvement in department governance can shed light on deficiencies and/or affirm areas where Term Faculty have a role or voice.

Ralph Sonenshine (CAS-ECON)
Christopher Tudge (University Honors & Scholars Program)
Edward Comstock (CAS-LIT)

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Teaching Environment and Sustainability across the Curriculum

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #407:

This session seeks to engage and collaborate with faculty who want to learn about incorporating issues relating to conservation, climate change, and/or sustainability into their courses. These are key challenges of our times and teaching these issues enhances students’ knowledge and capacity to make a difference. Attendees learn strategies for including environmental examples, topics, speakers, projects, assignments, current events, and site visits in any course. Participants who have never taught these topics before but who are interested in interdisciplinary teaching are encouraged to attend. The session focuses upon sharing ideas and discussion of opportunities for including environmental topics across the curriculum.

Heather Heckel (SPExS)
Simon Nicholson (SIS)

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Communicating Research through Visual Storytelling

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #406:

With the rise of digital video tools and internet distribution, many scholars are turning to visual storytelling to communicate research. Increasingly, videos are enhancing and in some cases replacing traditional print modes of communicating scholarship. This session showcases several examples, from the PEW Research Center to AU student research-based videos from interdisciplinary courses. The session covers some development and writing basics for visual storytelling. The session also includes a participatory segment during which teams will develop a short research-based video.

Larry Engel (SOC)
Maggie Burnette Stogner (SOC)
Polina Vinogradova (CAS-WLC)

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Abandoning Fears and Taking the Plunge into Online Teaching

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #405:

Mastering the intricacies of navigating an online classroom can be challenging. Aimed at both established and new faculty members, this roundtable consists of experts in online learning, a professor who recently launched her first online course, and a professor previously hesitant to take the plunge but who is increasingly getting ready. Learning outcomes in this SPExS-SOC roundtable are to give participants a clear and actionable plan of what is needed, emotionally and technically, to make this important move into the (Blackboard-driven) virtual classroom and to extend ones reach beyond the traditional classroom.

Iris Krasnow (SPExS)
Patricia Aufderheide (SOC)
Bobbe Baggio (SPExS)
Stephanie Brookstein (SOC/SPExS)

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Developing Students Professionally through Client-Based Consulting Engagements

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #404:

Experiential Learning comes in many shapes and sizes, ideally providing significant value to students and “hosts” alike. Targeted at faculty thinking about designing professional consulting experiences for students and adapting similar projects and programs, this session provides attendees lessons learned about engaging clients, defining projects, mentoring students and helping students achieve professional skills and networking goals. Panelists share their experiences designing and leading DC-based and international projects. Special attention is paid to the challenges of the professor’s role in these engagements (mentor, facilitator, and supervisor) and how to enable students to take charge without risking the downsides of sub-par performance on the professor’s reputation and professional network as well as the client’s time and good-will.

Stephanie Fischer (SIS)
Eric Novotny (SIS)
David Bartlett (KSB-MGMT)
Eric Beinhart (U.S. Department of Justice)

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Millennial Students and Community-Based Learning (CBL): A Perfect Match

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #402:

Today’s college students crave exposure to and cultivation of “real-world experiences” that translates to the professional world. At the same time, they are seeking meaningful opportunities to “make a difference” in the world around them. The session is appropriate for all faculty—from those who have never taught a CBL course to those who are experienced in CBL, but want to explore new ideas and innovations. The goal of the session is to engage faculty in considering the unique interests and needs of today’s students and to introduce CBL course strategies to meet those needs. Additionally, two students who have engaged in a CBL course will share their experiences, its value, and impact. Specifically, the student panelists will describe CBL experiences with a local nonprofit organization, DC Doors.

Jolynn Gardner (CAS-DHS) (Chair)
Marcy Campos (Center for Community Engagement and Service)
McKinley Doty (Class of 2016)
Roshan Thomas (Class of 2017)

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The Rewards & Perils of Teamwork: Can It Be Taught?

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #308:

How can teamwork and its real world payoffs be taught within an educational setting where individual effort rather than team output remains the primary source of evaluation and rewards? Can faculty go beyond the mechanics of team organization, incentives, and leadership to have our students learn how to be good team players? Can the norms that various cultures employ to solve the teamwork dilemma be taught within a university setting? Or, are they internalized at a much earlier stage within the family and community? Is there a common set of ethical precepts of teamwork and leadership that should be taught and discussed? This panel brings together multidisciplinary perspectives—from economics, sociology, business, and public administration—to discuss how educators can successfully bring into the classroom the varying real-world work contexts, incentive systems, and notions of fairness and justice that motivate successful teamwork.

Nimai Mehta (SPExS)
Anna Amirkhanyan (SPA-PUAD)
Dave Luvison(KSB-MGMT)
John Willoughby (CAS-ECON)
Gay Young (CAS-SOCY)

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More Than a Scenic Backdrop: The AU Campus as a Teaching & Learning Resource

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #307:

The AU campus is a natural treasure. It is an accredited arboretum and recognized as one of the most beautiful and well-tended college campuses in the country. This landscape is more than a scenic backdrop: It can be an exceptional resource for experiential learning. This panel brings together faculty and staff in an imaginative and interactive discussion about how AU’s Arboretum and Gardens can be, and have been, integrated creatively and effectively into classes. The campus environment lends itself well to exploring such topics as biodiversity, water management, sustainable development, and urban agriculture. Memorable moments in the University’s history also can be revisited in the arboretum: for example, President Kennedy’s 1963 commencement speech. Following the presentations, panelists and the audience brainstorm about opportunities and connections that can serve to enhance faculty and student familiarity with the campus and enrich the classroom experience.

Michael Mastrota (Facilities Management)
Stephanie DeStefano(Facilities Management)
W. Joseph Campbell (SOC)
Kiho Kim (CAS-ENVS)

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Developing Creative Assignments

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2016 Ann Ferren Conference Session #306:

This quick paced workshop is designed for experienced Blackboard users who want to learn about the more advanced features within Blackboard. The session explores the grade center in depth, as well as creating and grading with rubrics, how to check for plagiarism using Safe Assign and using adaptive release.

Scott Vanek (Library)
Anton Shimkevitch (Library)