Seated woman speaking at an FRN event while other attendees listen attentively

Network Summer 2024

The FRN Network Summer 2024 program will be held in-person at New York University in New York City (Manhattan campus). The seminars will each provide interdisciplinary approaches to diverse topics and perspectives in academia emphasizing teaching methodologies that will have a direct impact on the undergraduate curriculum and educational experience.

Background information on Network Seminars

When & Where

WhenJune 10–14, 2024

WhereNew York University’s Washington Square campus

Application Deadline
Friday, March 1 at 11:59pm ET

Seminar Schedule. Seminars run Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a midday communal lunch. Seminar conveners may adjust the class schedule in response to participant needs. Special events may also be held during the week. Participants are required to attend the full week of seminar meetings and maintain 90% attendance overall.

Seminar Materials. Eligible participants are provided with all required seminar materials (books, articles, laboratory equipment, and entrance fees).

Accommodations & Meals. Limited housing accommodations are provided to participants who live more than 50 miles from the program site. All admitted participants are provided with some meals during the program period.

Application Procedure. Applicants should submit the completed application along with all of the following:

  • A statement of intent that indicates how the seminar participant will apply what is learned at the home institution
  • A current CV
  • A letter of support from either the division dean or department head, who is well-acquainted with the applicant’s area of research
  • Their institutional liaison officer’s approval

Please note that applicants may apply to either the week-long Network Summer series or one of the summer visiting scholar programs.

This Year's Seminars

Adapting to Tomorrow: Exploring Generative AI’s Impact on Higher Education

About the Seminar

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, Bing, and others, have dominated headlines in higher education for over a year. Regardless of one’s level of teaching experience, addressing the existence of this technology can feel like a daunting task. This seminar aims to demystify generative AI tools through active discussions about privacy and ethical issues, as well as provide hands-on experiences to test Generative AI’s capabilities. Participants will additionally walk away with actionable strategies for incorporating generative AI use when developing course materials and student assignments. With a solid foundation of effective use of Generative AI tools, participants will also develop Generative AI use policy(ies) for their course(s). Such a policy will lay the pedagogical framework to bring critical conversations to the classroom revolving around this technology, its drawbacks, and its capabilities. Doing so can better prepare students for a future where the necessary skills for digital literacy, including the use of Generative AI tools, continue to increase and evolve. This seminar is open to participants across disciplines.

Seminar Objectives:

  • Explain the potential ways that generative AI impacts higher education and the work of assessing student learning.
  • Reflect on how students might use a generative AI tool while engaging with their coursework.
  • Prompt a generative AI tool to elicit desired responses as they relate to such instructional activities as brainstorming, assignment/quiz/rubric creation, and case study/scenario creation.
  • Describe strategies that can be used to refine/revise prompt designs and utilize prompt engineering strategies to generate course materials.
  • Explain the key privacy, data accuracy, and ethics considerations educators must address when using generative AI and in the context of the varied scope of student use of generative AI.
  • Develop a generative AI usage and citation policy for their course that is rooted in an effective academic integrity perspective.

About the Convener(s)

Shaina Dymond (she/her) is an educational technologist with NYU’s Arts & Science (A&S) Office of Teaching Excellence & Innovation. She uses her years of learning support, curriculum design, and teaching experience to inform her work when partnering with faculty. As an educator, Shaina has particular interests in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), culturally responsive teaching, and promoting motivation and metacognition. With an M.A. in higher education administration, supplemental instruction certification, and research interests in learning sciences, Shaina keeps the development of independent learners central to her work.

Liz Melleby Welch (she/her) is a senior educational technologist with NYU’s Arts & Science (A&S) Office of Teaching Excellence & Innovation. In this role, she primarily assists faculty from a broad range of disciplines in the pedagogically-informed integration of technology into their in-person and online courses. In addition, she supports and manages a wide range of learning innovation projects with a keen focus on Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and enriching student experiences. Liz teaches online humanities, public speaking, and college success courses at other universities. Currently in pursuit of a PhD in Higher Educational Leadership for Changing Populations, her research interests revolve around online learning, faculty development, and learning innovation.

Enduring Self-Care for Faculty and Administrators: Part Deux

About the Seminar

The past 3+ years have been challenging for most of us, causing increased distress, anxiety, and grief. In this session, Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji will discuss the benefits of enduring self-care coping skills to counteract the effects of continuous traumatic stress. This seminar will cover various topics, such as COVID-19, civil unrest, socio-political conflict, natural disasters, workplace fatigue, and what to do about it! Designed for a cross-disciplinary group of participants, this seminar is for everyone. Dr. West-Olatunji will review the literature on the various topics related to burnout and enduring self-care and include experiential exercises and field trips to make this week-long adventure fun and informative.

This is a seminar that is intended for an interdisciplinary audience. Faculty and administrators face a myriad of challenges on today's campuses. Declining enrollments, budget crises, under-prepared students, and accreditation demands all take a toll on campus leaders. All of these challenges occur within the larger context of pandemics, global conflicts, and natural disasters. Faculty and administrators need to acquire coping mechanisms to stay emotionally healthy in their daily interactions with students and peers. Participants can expect to learn about and practice enduring self-care techniques that stem from neuroscientific research.

About the Convener(s)

Cirecie A. West-Olatunji (she/her) is the Melba Fortuné Martinez Endowed Professor in the counselor education program and director of the Center for Equity, Justice, and the Human Spirit at Xavier University of Louisiana. She has received numerous awards from national organizations and has been recognized as a Fellow in the American Counseling Association (ACA). Dr. West-Olatunji has initiated several clinical research projects focusing on traumatic stress and systemic oppression. Her publications include three co-authored books, numerous book chapters, and over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. West-Olatunji has delivered research papers throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Evidence Based Strategies to Increase Student Engagement

About the Seminar

One of the biggest challenges educators face today is increasing levels of student disengagement. Many faculty report that student disengagement in the classroom has reached epidemic levels since the start of the pandemic. Many students are not attending class, fail to submit their work on time, report being bored, are experiencing widespread anxiety and disconnection from their faculty and peers, and are not invested in deep learning. This seminar is designed for undergraduate instructors across disciplines who are teaching both in-person and online, and who are interested in increasing the level of student engagement and creating classrooms of deep learning.

In this seminar, participants will examine the causes of student disengagement and how their beliefs and assumptions about students shape their instructional choices. They will learn about the research on the impact of task characteristics, instruction methods, teacher-student relationships, peer characteristics, student voice, and assessment on student engagement and disengagement. An important focus of this workshop will be the application of this research to develop practical strategies to increase engagement. Participants will engage in a combination of small and large group discussions, case analysis, task analysis, and interactive activities where they will have the opportunity to apply evidence-based strategies to increase student engagement.

About the Convener(s)

Jennifer Fredricks (she/her) is a professor of psychology at Union College where she teaches courses in developmental psychology, adolescent development, and educational psychology. Prior to returning to the faculty, she served as the Dean of Academic Departments and Programs at Union College for over five years, where she was responsible for faculty hiring, curriculum, and faculty development. She is an international expert on student engagement and has written extensively on how to translate research on student engagement to classroom practice. She has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles on student engagement and motivation in the leading educational and psychology journals and she is the author of Eight Myths of Student Disengagement: Creating Classrooms of Deep Learning, and Handbook of Student Disengagement Interventions: Working with Disengaged Students, and is the co-editor of the Handbook of Student Engagement Interventions. She has developed an online toolkit for K-12 educators on how to create more engaging and student-centered classrooms and has run professional development workshops on engagement for both K-12 educators and college faculty.

Feminism in Cinema

About the Seminar

Feminist politics and the future(s) of feminism are situated at a key inflection point, and we see this reflected in cinema and television that feature the lived experiences of women-identified subjects. This seminar offers an introduction to the history of debates in feminist cinema—how to best represent women’s lives, the role of avant-garde interventions, and the importance of diversity in directors, cast, and experiences on screen.

The seminar will be organized around feminist aesthetic and technical interventions regarding the gaze, camerawork, sound, and so on, as well as themes that speak to experiences in life stages of women-identified, diverse subjects. Films will consist of a mix of avant-garde, independent, foreign, documentary, and Hollywood cinema and television. Models for teaching feminist themes and ideas via assigning specific films or television series will be explored. Conversations with students about feminist media can facilitate student learning not only about the issues presented but also about how aesthetic forms and representations are themselves political interventions that shape how viewers understand our own experiences.

This seminar is interdisciplinary and is intended for those who work in, or have an interest in, the humanities and social sciences. Those who already teach or write about feminist film and those who wish to simply learn more about this area are all welcome to the seminar.

About the Convener(s)

Lori Jo Marso (she/her) is Doris Zemurray Stone Professor of Modern Literary and Historical Studies, Professor of Political Science, and Director of American Studies, at Union College in Schenectady, New York where she has won Stillman prizes for both teaching and research excellence. Marso is author, editor, or co-editor of eight books ranging from interpretations of the novels of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Germaine de Staël, (Un)Manly Citizens (Johns Hopkins, 1999) to critical perspectives on gender politics in the George W. Bush Administration (W Stands for Women: How the George W. Bush Administration Shaped a New Politics of Gender, co-edited, Duke 2006). One of her edited books, Fifty-One Key Feminist Thinkers (Routledge 2016), includes the work of 51 contemporary feminist thinkers on 51 historical and contemporary feminist figures. Marso has written extensively on the political and feminist thought of Simone de Beauvoir, publishing three books in the area: a co-edited volume on Simone de Beauvoir’s Political Thinking (University of Illinois 2006); a single authored book titled Feminist Thinkers and the Demands of Femininity (Routledge, 2006), which will be published in a twentieth-anniversary second edition in 2026; and most recently, Politics with Beauvoir: Freedom in the Encounter (Duke, 2017), which won the Pamela Jensen Award for the Best Book in Politics, Literature, and Film from The American Political Science Association.

Marso’s recent work has focused on feminist film and includes a co-edited book with Bonnie Honig on the films of Lars von Trier called Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016). Marso reviews books and films for the Los Angeles Review of Books, including a recent review of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and the films of Sofia Coppola. Her newest book, Feminism and the Cinema of Experience, is forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2024.

Including Inclusion in Science Curriculum

About the Seminar

Concepts, techniques and data are the sole composition of most STEM classes.  We, science educators, were taught “the facts” and we tend to teach “the facts.” What we do is quantitative and empirical.  We purposely exclude social issues, but science is most valuable when it serves society.  Scholarly pursuit that that cannot be used by individuals to make positive contributions to society is “trivial pursuit.” Scientific spaces, including science classrooms, should strive to embrace and reflect society.  In this course we will consider the following: How can scientific content be addressed effectively and accurately, while being inclusive and anti-colonizing?

The purpose of this seminar is to encourage STEM faculty to reflect on ways to make their course materials and teaching strategies more inclusive. By participating in this seminar,  one will attain a better understanding of the need to decolonize science curricula, and strategies to implement more inclusive learning materials. The intended audience is STEM faculty: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Healthcare.

About the Convener(s)

Michelle Boissiere (she/her) has taught Biology and Genetics for thirty years at Xavier University of Louisiana, an HBCU, and her alma mater. During this long tenure she has developed several courses and led several curriculum revision projects. Curriculum initiatives include major redesign on the General Biology curriculum, development of new courses in Human Genetics and Women’s Studies, and design of the university core curriculum. She also designed and teaches a course that prepares underrepresented minority students for their first research experience (funded by NIH BUILD). Meeting the student audience where they are and acknowledging who they are have been consistent priorities throughout her career.

Moral Panics and LGBTQ Politics

About the Seminar

This seminar explores moral panics about LGBTQ identities and communities. After briefly reviewing some twentieth-century moral/sex panics around what are now called queer and trans people, we will investigate current paroxysms of anti-LGBTQ activity in the United States and globally, including: recent laws passed in the United States including those banning books, drag, gender-affirming care, and participation in sports; Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act; Russia’ anti-gay propaganda law. Seminar topics will include discourses of pathologization and contagion, legacies of colonialism, and the anti-gender ideology movement. Readings will explore the political economy underlying homophobia and transphobia, connections and disconnections with women’s movements, and strategies of resistance. An exploration of pedagogical practices related to teaching LGBTQ studies, recent trends in queer and trans studies, and questions concerning approaches to empirical research will be woven into the seminar's objectives.. This interdisciplinary seminar welcomes those who teach or write about sexuality and trans studies as well as those who wish to know more about these topics.

About the Convener(s)

Paisley Currah (he/him) is professor of Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies at the City University of New York. He has written widely on LGBTQ issues, including on topics such as discrimination, sex reclassification, and the transgender rights movement. From 2014-2019, he co-edited the leading journal in transgender studies, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. Currah’s 2022 award-winning book, Sex Is as Sex Does: Governing Transgender Identity, reveals the hidden logics that have governed sex classification policies in the United States and shows what the regulation of transgender identity can tell us about society’s approach to sex and gender writ large. Currah has advocated for transgender rights at all levels of government. He was a founding board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, served on the founding board of directors of Global Action for Trans Equality, and sat on the advisory board of Human Rights Watch’s LGBT Program.

(Re)designing the Dinosaurs: Museum Accessibility and Digital Design

About the Seminar

This seminar examines the potential of museums to adopt multimodal approaches for enhancing experiences and making collections accessible through digital design and new technologies. Emphasis will be placed on a deep look at current museum practices today, including ways that museums can be more inclusive. An entire day will be dedicated to an on-site visit to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), complemented by readings that excavate and critique the history and theory of museums during their formative stages.

While the seminar doesn’t exclusively focus on dinosaurs and scientific collections, its overarching goal is to broaden awareness and cultural understanding of museums. It addresses their formative role in perpetuating issues such as abilism, colonial violence, and white supremacy. We will closely study strategies and design opportunities employed to rectify past harm, including examples used by designers, artists, and museum technologists. In a post-COVID world, our exploration will extend to both successful strategies and failures museums have experienced in designing for individuals with diverse motor, cognitive, sensory, and behavior-emotional disabilities. Our analysis aims to provide insights into the evolving landscape of museum practices.

By the end of the course, participants will design and develop their own hands-on final project: a low-fidelity prototype for the design and implementation of a selected museum object or a museum experience so that it becomes accessible beyond the bounded regions of sight.

About the Convener(s)

Rosanna Flouty (she/her) is Director of New York University’s Museum Studies program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Clinical Associate Professor. She holds over twenty-five years of museum experience, including at The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Art21, BMW Guggenheim Lab and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She has also completed year-long consulting projects for The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of the Moving Image, American Museum of Natural History, and New-York Historical Society. Rosanna holds an MA from Rhode Island School of Design (2001). In 2010, she was awarded a five-year Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship at City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in New York City. In 2016, she completed a doctoral degree in Urban Education focusing on interactive technology, pedagogy and informal learning. She presents regionally, nationally, and internationally on technology, informal online learning, contemporary art, and museum practice. At NYU, she teaches about social justice, community engagement, digital design, and museum accessibility.

Rethinking Cultural Heritage and the Middle East

Co-sponsored by the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies

About the Seminar

This seminar traces both the practices of cultural heritage that have informed identification for centuries and the modern heritage regime today. Focusing on the Middle East and, more broadly, the Mediterranean, the course examines heritage as a value system that highlights practices and material culture as remains of a designated past within the context of the present, while simultaneously coding objects, artifacts, environmental sites, ruins, buildings, rituals, or practices that belong to that past as sources of cultural identification. Within this framework, we will explore oral tradition, architecture, objects, practices, religious sites, museums, archives, and libraries, together with their preservation and/or destruction.

About the Convener(s)

Aslı Iğsız (she/her) is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Her research interests include political violence, eugenics, humanism, spatial segregation and forced migration, and cultural policy. Her first book, Humanism in Ruins: Entangled Legacies of the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange (Stanford University Press), was published in 2018. Humanism in Ruins sought to offer a critique of liberalism from the angle of the management of difference and explored the underlying racialized logics of population transfers, partitions, segregation, apartheid, and border walls. In relation to this dynamic, the book also addressed cultural heritage as part of the management of difference. Currently, she is working on a new project on the notion of civilizationism in a contemporary world context.

Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University

About the Seminar

Revenge has a bad reputation these days. It is regarded as a primitive instinct, incompatible with the rule of law and civilized behavior. Revenge is motivated by passion, whereas retribution seeks justice. But is revenge necessarily bad? Might its aim be a restoration of dignity rather than mere compensation or requital? Does revenge exclude reconciliation? And might retribution also lead to an excessive desire to punish the offender? In this seminar, we will discuss various aspects of revenge and retribution in ancient Greece and Rome and in modern treatments and practices, along with forgiveness and other means of reconciliation. The seminar should be of interest to anyone engaged with questions of vengeance and conflict resolution, abuse and trauma, comparative anthropology, justice and the law, and the influence of ancient Greek and Roman values today. Readings will be distributed in advance of the meetings.

About the Convener(s)

David Konstan (he/him) is Professor of Classics at New York University. His research focuses on ancient Greek and Latin literature, especially comedy and the novel, and classical philosophy. In recent years, he has investigated the emotions and value concepts of classical Greece and Rome, and has written books on friendship, pity, the emotions, forgiveness, beauty, and love. In the spring of 2023 he gave a series of lectures on revenge and retribution at the University of Campinas, Brazil. His most recent book is The Origin of Sin: Greece and Rome, Early Judaism and Christianity.

Writing Project Workshop: Getting Started, Following Through

About the Seminar

Jumpstart your summer writing goals in this one-week workshop, with a focus on developing and planning your own writing and research project. Co-led by writing teachers and scholars Diana Epelbaum and Tahneer Oksman, we will explore academic writing, from the nuts and bolts of writing, revision, organization, and editing, to reflective conversations about writing-related anxiety, including finding support systems, examining motivations and roadblocks, and developing effective feedback practices. Together, we will discuss healthy approaches to productivity culture. Using our expertise with developmental editing, writing across the curriculum, and holistic project framing, we will provide individual feedback to each participant while pointing to the many ways instructors can bring some of these same techniques to their own classes across the disciplines. By the end of the week, participants will walk away with a summer research and writing plan, as well as a repertoire of individualized tools to help follow it through.

Professors from all disciplines working on any kind of writing project—including articles, book chapters, research proposals, and hybrid or digital projects, among others—and from all career stages are encouraged to apply. Participants should come with a project they would like to develop and a one-to-two paragraph description of that project and its timeline. Ideally, instructors will bring projects that are in their early stages, though we will also accept those further along.

Faculty will:

  • Develop the organization, scope, and timeline for a current scholarly project.
  • Develop a repertoire of individualized tools to help follow through on the project.
  • Receive and use effective peer and convener feedback towards their own writing goals.
  • Reflect on their own writing methodologies and practices, evaluating their effectiveness.
  • Reflect on transferring their own writing methodologies and practices to the classroom.
  • Contextualize writing anxiety, productivity culture, and personal barriers to writing.
  • Participate in a community of writers, researchers, and teacher-scholars.

About the Convener(s)

Diana Epelbaum, PhD (she/her) is Associate Professor and Director of the Academic Writing Program at Marymount Manhattan College. Her scholarship is interdisciplinary, bridging writing and rhetoric, early American literature, and the history of science. She is a reading specialist and educator trained in a balanced literacy approach who has spent her career in deep engagement with writing, reading, and thinking pedagogies. A recipient of The New York Times “Teachers Who Make a Difference Award,” Diana now teaches interdisciplinary history of science, literature, and FYC in the Writing about Writing model and trains faculty in classroom metacognition.

Tahneer Oksman, PhD (she/her) is Associate Professor and former Director of the Academic Writing Program at Marymount Manhattan College, where she teaches classes in writing, literature and visual culture, and journalism. Prior to MMC, she was co-coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at Brooklyn College, and she has facilitated many writing workshops over the years. Tahneer is author of “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs, and co-editor of Feminists Reclaim Mentorship: An Anthology. She regularly publishes essays about books and literature for a variety of publications, including The Washington Post and