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Teaching in Tense Times: A Workshop on Academic Freedom, Inclusive Classrooms, and Some Challenges in College Teaching Today

February 3, 2020 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm  |  Alumni Room, University Center


The Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning and the Humanities Institute invite you to a workshop on academic freedom in the classroom environment with visiting scholars Andrea Brenner and Lara Schwartz. This hands-on workshop is open to faculty and graduate students from all fields who teach or plan to teach in higher education settings.

Overview: In this workshop, visiting scholars Lara Schwartz and Andrea Brenner will help us think through some of the most urgent ethical, pedagogical, and legal challenges facing college level instructors in the current era:

• How do we balance free speech and sensitive subjects in a classroom inclusive to all students?
• How does academic freedom apply in classroom environments, course learning objectives, and syllabi?
• How do we enable our students to communicate across difference while focusing on strategies for managing hot moments, interrupting bias, handling microaggressions, and facilitating de-escalation?

Please RSVP here to help us plan for event size, accessibility, and catering purposes.

Lara Schwartz, JD teaches at American University School of Public Affairs, where she founded and directs the Project on Civil Discourse. She specializes in civil discourse and campus speech, constitutional law, civil rights, politics, communications, and policy. Drawing on her extensive experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and communications strategist in leading civil rights organizations, Lara brings an advocate’s-eye view to her work as she emphasizes collaborative learning and universal design in her teaching. She has been honored with a School of Public Affairs teaching award and serves as a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning.

Andrea Malkin Brenner, PhD is a sociologist, speaker, and an independent consultant who works with students, faculty, and staff on challenges related to college transitions. She is the creator of the nationally-recognized American University Experience (AUx), the mandatory full year first-year transition course at American University. Previous to that, Dr. Brenner served as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology at American University for 20 years, teaching classes on inequality, social problems, and the life course. Dr. Brenner has received multiple awards for her teaching and program design. She also directed AU’s University College program, the university’s oldest and largest living-learning community for first-year students.

Lara and Andrea are the co-authors of How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There) (Macmillan, St. Martin’s Press, 2019) and serve as 2019-2020 fellows at the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. They are working on their second book about productive discourse in the college classroom.

Co-Sponsored by The Humanities Institute



February 3, 2020
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Alumni Room, University Center
CA United States