ISA Pedagogy 2023 Program and Events

We’re excited to announce our 2023 program for Montréal!

The 2023 International Studies Association Innovative Pedagogy Conference (ISA-IPC) will be held on Tuesday, March 14th, a day prior to the start of the ISA Annual Convention in Montreal, Québec, Canada. With the success of last year’s IPC we are excited to, yet again, offer a conference that fosters a highly interactive environment to explore new ideas in pedagogy as well as rich opportunities for professional development, networking, and building classroom skills. As in the past, the conference will feature a plenary meeting, a graduate teaching assistant training, a variety of workshops, and an evening reception.

Workshops will be directed by leading voices on pedagogy, assessment, and professional development. Participants will attend four sessions during the day, chosen from a rich menu, to share innovations and ideas about different themes in international studies pedagogy. Among the workshop themes for 2022 are: integrating data analysis in the classroom; running world politics simulations; creating classrooms without borders; adopting popular culture in our classrooms; teaching sensitive subjects; using podcasts as a teaching tool; connecting learning goals, course design, and assessment; and publishing in teaching and learning. These interactive short sessions will provide hands-on experience and materials for ready application, along with opportunities for professional networking and sharing of ideas.

The Graduate Teaching Assistant Training program offers a hands-on learning opportunity for advanced graduate students who are, or soon will be, instructing their own classes at their universities. The program will run in a “cohort module” as participants will meet as a group different times during the day, but also be able to select workshops to attend on their own. One group session, during the lunch hour, will be a mentoring roundtable with experienced faculty available to answer questions and share their advice and experiences.  A certificate of participation will be provided for all attendees. Please note: there is no additional fee to participate in this session, and attendance will be capped at 25 participants. Lunch is included.

Session 1: Syllabus Design (group)
Session 2: Workshop of your choice (individual)
Lunch: Mentoring Roundtable (group)
Session 3: Workshop of your choice (individual)
Session 4: Teaching Philosophy Statements (group)

From the opening plenary session to an evening networking reception with a keynote discussion, participants will share ideas with like-minded colleagues. We look forward to learning new skills, having fruitful discussions, meeting new colleagues, and advancing our pedagogical opportunities!


Conference Schedule

Tuesday, March 14, 2023  
8:15a Registration Open (Location: TBA)
9:00a-9:20p Plenary Welcome Session (Location: TBA)
This first session is designed to welcome participants to our conference and provide valuable orientation information for a successful day. The session will introduce key organizers and workshop leaders to attendees. Networking opportunities will also begin with this first session.
9:30a-11:00a First Workshop Session
11:00a-11:15a Coffee & Networking Break
11:15a-12:45p Second Workshop Session
1:00p-2:00p Lunch (on own)
Graduate Teacher Training Program (1:00p-1:50p)
This mid-day workshop offers hands-on learning opportunities for advanced graduate students who are instructing their own classes at their universities.
[Light lunch provided; advance registration required]
2:15p-3:45p Third Workshop Session
3:45p-4:00p Coffee & Networking Break
4:00p-5:30p Fourth Workshop Session
6:00p-7:00p Reception, Keynote Address (Location: TBA)
Our evening reception celebrates the spirit of active teaching and learning and features terrific opportunities for professional networking. The highlight of this session will be a keynote address. Refreshments will be served.
Appetizers and Cash Bar

More About Our Workshops

We have 8 workshops, presented twice during the conference, each of which have a morning and an afternoon session. Click through each item below to read their abstracts.

Presenter: Scott Fisher (New Jersey City University)

New to data analysis and curious to learn more, then integrate it into your courses? Strong data skills but looking for ideas on how to teach it, especially to undergrads? We’re here to help! Our approach is less about teaching data analysis than it is about using data to explore topics of interest to students and educators. For this session, using Tableau (an easy-to-learn, industry-leading data analysis tool) and a dataset covering 20 years of extremist activities, we highlight how quickly and easily one can learn the software and gain insights from an existing dataset. We frame the questions to answer with a scenario-based approach, briefly introduce the software, then allow people to answer the scenario’s questions on their own. In a short time, people are producing policy-relevant findings while gaining an introduction to data skills and challenges. Building on that example, we offer different scenarios and datasets that can be incorporated into a wide variety of courses. Attendees leave the session with a clear example of how to teach basic data skills, plus example datasets and scenarios to incorporate into their own lessons. Interested? Please download Tableau (free for academics) and our data file prior to the session.

Presenters: Hemda Ben-Yehuda (Bar Ilan University) and Meirav Mishali-Ram (Bar Ilan University)

Imagine you have just received a classified briefing about a widespread cyber attack, attributed to Russia/Iran, crippling aviation hubs, rail transportation and water facilities in France, Italy and Germany. In a role-play exercise, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg invites you to attend an emergency meeting designed to reach a coordinated response to this situation.

The workshop will provide faculty members with the theory and application modes (In-Class/Cyber-Zoom) for running simulations, while demonstrating the importance of active learning for gaining a ‘hands on’ understanding of world politics and its complexities. Workshop participants will receive tools to design their own projects according to the goals of the course, and guide their students to enjoy the exercise, reach new levels of understanding, and increase knowledge acquisition. The teaching tool we offer includes a four-phase simulation structure: preparation, teamwork, negotiations, and debriefing. The on-site meeting will focus on practicing the last two phases, while some training of the preparation and teamwork, which are essential for running simulations with students, will be offered online before the ISA conference (participation in the online training is optional). Graduate students of participants can join the pre-conference Zoom session and discover the magic of world politics simulations.

Presenters: Natasha Duncan (Purdue University), Gustavo Severo de Borba (Unisinos), and Nathan Swanson (Purdue University)

International relations/studies courses at US-based institutions often lack opportunities for perspective-taking of the variety that emerges from interactions with peers from another country. These interactions allow students to deliberate and understand viewpoints from other societies—particularly if these perspectives are from the Global South. To facilitate this interaction and opportunity for deeper learning, we created Solutions Lab Global, a transnational, virtual, interdisciplinary, experiential course in which instructors and students from institutions located in different countries convene to study a major global problem and work in interdisciplinary and cross-national teams to propose a solution. It consists of three integral and integrated components: sustained theoretical knowledge development, intercultural development, and practical experiences. Solutions Lab Global has proven to be a successful, flexible model for attending to accessibility and intercultural learning needs in international education efforts. In this workshop, we will present the framework and offer step-by-step guidance for implementing it at participants’ institutions and in their courses. This workshop is ideal for faculty, administrators, or staff interested in designing an innovative collaborative online course with an international partner university. Participants will leave with a model for a virtual course and an action plan.

Presenters: Bibek Chand (University of North Georgia), T.J. Liguori (Florida International University), Brianna Hernandez (Florida International University), and Linea Cutter (Virginia Tech)

This workshop explores methods of integrating popular culture into the classroom as an active learning strategy. It covers various techniques used to incorporate popular culture in the teaching of International Relations concepts, theories, analyses of events, considerations of historical and social contexts, and questions concerning representation. The workshop highlights ways to connect abstract concepts in International Relations to popular films, books, plots, fantastical settings, and characters as a means of providing students with concrete examples tied to mass cultural products. The workshop co-leaders will present pedagogical approaches and targeted assignments designed to engage students creatively and critically as well as enhance their close reading and information literacy skills through the use of films, television shows, and a variety of popular culture artifacts. This workshop provides participants with sample syllabi, assignments, and a curated resource list that can be incorporated in the teaching of International Relations courses at varying academic levels. The workshop will consist of presentations by the co-leaders followed by break-out sessions in which participants are welcome to bring their own teaching materials for feedback and discussion.

Presenters: Charity Butcher (Kennesaw State University), Tavishi Bhasin (Kennesaw State University), Maia Hallward (Kennesaw State University), and Simon Usherwood (The Open University)

This workshop provides an overview of publishing outlets related to teaching and learning and provides guidance on the process of publishing on teaching and learning. It will cover practical advice, such as ethical considerations and institutional review board approval, to help participants navigate conducting research on teaching and learning within their institutions. The workshop will also discuss various publishing options for teaching and learning outputs, including both formal outlets, such as the Journal of Political Science Education and other academic journals, as well as informal outlets such as blogs, newsletters, and educational resources (like APSA Educate) and when each is appropriate for particular types of scholarship. Faculty will have the opportunity to work with their peers to create research project ideas and to find potential collaborators across colleges and universities. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to identify: the key components of Scholarship on Teaching and Learning (SoTL); IRB or other procedures for working with human subjects at their institutions; outlets for different types of pedagogical research outputs; and will have concrete ideas for a future SoTL project. Participants will have also identified potential partners at other universities to collaborate with on a research project.

Presenters: Lindsay Burt (Muhlenberg College) and Ronit Berger Hobson (Queen’s University Belfast)

There are few institutional contexts where faculty are not expected to include course learning objectives as part of their syllabi; moreover, clear and thoughtful course learning objectives provide students with important insight into the direction a given course will take, and what knowledge and skills they can expect to learn. These objectives relay the cognitive and practical goals prioritized by the course and instructor. All too often, however, students struggle to connect a given project or assignment back to these goals. This is a missed opportunity for students seeking a “through-line” connecting course content, readings, written work and class discussion to skill development. We highlight the utilization of learning goals as course roadmaps and as a set of tangible criteria for evaluating success. We envision a collaborative and highly interactive workshop and recognize that drafting course learning objectives can be challenging, especially for those new to syllabus design. Further, we consider the ways in which (collaborative) assignment and grading rubric design creates opportunities for intentionality in linking components of each directly to course learning objectives. Via participation in this workshop, colleagues will gain practice in writing clear and impactful course learning goals and leveraging these in assignment design and grading.

Presenters: Dilan Okcuoglu (American University, SIS) and Ayca Arkilic (Victoria University of Wellington)

Teaching the politics of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a difficult task, particularly in the post-9/11 era. The region continues to be a battleground replete with various conflicts, uprisings, and cleavages. Meanwhile, students are likely to have certain prejudices and biases about the culture, politics and people of the MENA. This workshop will open up a discussion on the learning and teaching of difficult subjects in social sciences. Some of the key questions we will tackle are the following: (1) how to create a safe space in the classroom to discuss sensitive matters without downplaying their seriousness and emotional baggage?; (2) how to navigate one’s positionality while teaching MENA politics?; (3) how to shake existing prejudices and biases about the region in the most effective way?; and (4) how to help MENA students acquire strong analytical and critical thinking skills? The workshop aims to foster engaging and honest conversations about the subject but also to offer potential activities that the workshop participants can assign to facilitate class discussions. Additionally, the workshop will provide a sample syllabus that includes a wide range of readings written with a critical perspective by scholars from the MENA region.

Presenter: Matt Krain (The College of Wooster)

This workshop discusses the advantages and drawbacks of using podcasts as active learning exercises in the international studies classroom, and describes how podcast assignments can be developed, run, and evaluated. Participants will be provided with a sample assignment task description and scoring rubric, as well as supporting materials and resources. The workshop will also cover the technical aspects of podcast creation, free software that can help faculty and students create and listen to podcasts, and good examples of short social science-related podcasts that can be shared with students. Participants will also be provided with a list of key resources. Participants will then actively consider whether and how they can use podcasts to achieve key educational objectives in their classrooms, while also more deeply engaging students. Participants will begin constructing a podcast assignment that could be used in an existing class. The workshop is aimed at all international studies instructors regardless of experience or rank, and may be most valuable to early career scholars as well as faculty considering how to find new ways to engage students.


Amy Below

California State University, East Bay

Meet the Committee