Saint Louis University

Current Innovative Teaching Fellows

 Simone Bregni, Ph.D., Spring 2017

Simone BregniDr. Simone Bregni, Ph.D is an Associate Professor of Italian and the Coordinator of the Italian Studies Program in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures. His research interests and publications include Dante and Medieval literature; Renaissance Italian Theater, with a focus on representation of sexual alterity; the Classical Tradition; and the application of media and technology to second/foreign language acquisition, and the teaching of literature and culture. His eclectic background in Classics, Theology, International Studies and Communications/Media has deeply influenced his interdisciplinary approach to scholarship.

In Spring 2017, Dr. Bregni will use the Learning Studio to teach ITAL 1200, Intensive Italian for Gamers. The course, which will provide two semesters of language requirement in one, will be re-designed to specifically attract, and respond to the interests of, video game players. Dr. Bregni began learning foreign languages (English) and playing video games (Pong) in 1975. Other interests, such as comics and music, also helped bolster his language learning, but it was his passion for video games that most aided his language acquisition. Video games quickly transitioned to complex textual and graphic adventures in the latter ‘80s. His foreign language skills rapidly improved while reading in a foreign language, applying reading comprehension to problem solving, and using writing to attain goals and solutions, while having fun doing so.

Video games became a mass phenomenon around 1998 and this led him to explore the full potential of gaming as interactive multi-media narratives for the language classroom. At the time, he was also a freelance writer for the leading Italian video game magazine, Super Console. The experience further stimulated him to pursue the potential use of games in learning. Games have evolved into a medium that is a fully-interactive multimedia experience combining real-time animation, speech/dialogue and textual interaction. Students can even learn about the history and everyday life of the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance, using the excellent Assassin's Creed series, as well as learn everyday activities, engage in conversations and even acquire friends across continents while exploring virtual worlds.

Amber Knight, Ph.D., Spring 2017

Amber KnightAmber Knight (Ph.D., Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013) is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Saint Louis University. She is also an affiliated faculty member with the Women's and Gender Studies department at SLU. Her research puts the disciplines of political theory and disability studies in conversation with one another in order to examine the political nature of disability and the disabling nature of our political arrangements. She is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Disability and the Politics of Parenthood, which examines political policies, social practices, and bioethical issues surrounding the experiences of disabled parents and parents of children with disabilities, including: the history of state-sponsored discrimination against potential and actual parents with disabilities; the selective abortion of disabled fetuses; the politics of paternalism; motherhood and fatherhood as practices of political activism and advocacy; the ethics of care; children's rights; and, the role of the state in regulating the family.

Dr. Knight's course for the Learning Studio- Disability Theory and Politics- will introduce students to the history of the disability rights movement and the discipline of disability studies. Throughout the semester, Knight will challenge students to critically engage with their own educational environment to assess its (in)accessibility. Students will collaboratively envision how to create a classroom environment that adheres to the principles of "universal design" so that participation in educational institutions can occur in as inclusive a setting as possible, regardless of one's (in)ability to see, hear, walk, etc.

Dyan McGuire, Ph.D., J.D., Spring 2017

Dyan McGuireDyan McGuire is an Associate Professor in the Criminology & Criminal Justice Program in the School of Social Work. Her research focuses on the intersection between law and practice with an emphasis on systemic race and gender bias, eyewitness identification and Miranda issues. In the Learning Studio, Dr. McGuire will be teaching "Multiculturalism for Criminal Justice Professionals." The purpose of the course is to allow students to grapple with their own biases and gain an understanding of how systemic injustice influences the criminal justice system. We explore how race, gender and cultural differences shape the lived experiences of people who come into contact with the C.J. system with special emphasis on how these differences may adversely affect law enforcement's response to these citizens, proper ways of dealing with difference while still recognizing the duty to enforce the law and an appreciation of the ways in which normative differences may impact upon both perpetration and victimization. The ultimate goal is to help students on their way to being C.J. professionals who truly work for, and perhaps more importantly with, others regardless of who those others may be. The course will be taught using experiential learning, collaborative problem-solving and narrative construction/destruction.

Jeffrey Wickes, Ph.D., Spring 2017

Jeffrey WickesJeffrey Wickes (Ph.D., Theology, University of Notre Dame, 2013) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theological Studies. He teaches on topics related to early Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the relationship between theology, art, music, and literature. In his research, he writes about the poetry of Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373 C.E.), the role exegesis played in the aesthetics of early Christian literature, and the way early Christians thought about and problematized the role of music and poetry in their ritual life.

At Saint Louis University, Wickes has taught the Theology survey, an introduction to Christianity in the Middle East, a course on Jerusalem, a course on Women and Gender in Early Christianity, as well as graduate seminars on Early Christianity, and the Syriac poet Ephrem. In Spring 2017, he will use the Learning Studio to lead a course entitled "Music, Poetry, and Theology." The course will explore a phenomenon in the history of the relationship between music and Theology: since antiquity, music has been seen as a potential threat to one's ability to find truth, because it seduces one's reasoning faculties. At the same time, religious rituals have almost always used music. The course thus asks a simple question: why is music so important in religious life, but simultaneously so mistrusted? The students will use the Learning Studio to explore this question in a trans-historical, trans-geographical way.


Upcoming Innovative Teaching Fellows

 Amy Cooper, Ph.D., Fall 2017

Amy Cooper pictureAmy Cooper (Ph.D., Human Development, The University of Chicago, 2012) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist whose research focuses on the politics and meanings of health across cultures. For over a decade, Dr. Cooper has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in urban Venezuela, Cuba, and North America. She is completing a book project titled In Excess of Medicine that examines the pleasure associated with Venezuelans' use of socialist health care, based on her research as a Fulbright Scholar in Caracas. Dr. Cooper teaches four-fields anthropology, cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, qualitative research methods, and social theory.

Dr. Cooper's course for the Learning Studio, Global Mental Health, introduces students to the cross-cultural study of mental health, mental illness, and psychiatry. She plans to use the Learning Studio to promote team-based learning focused on urgent and unanswered research questions in the anthropology of mental health. One goal of the course is to rethink the standard student research paper so students can follow their research interests just as an anthropologist would: by assessing existing research and preparing a feasible research plan. The course will draw on digital technologies in the Learning Studio that enable anthropologists from other institutions to participate remotely as research consultants and guest speakers.

Katie Devany, M.S., Fall 2017

Katie Devany picKatie Devany, M.S. is an Instructor and Director of the Hospitality Management program in the School for Professional Studies. Her research interests include online pedagogy, adult learning theory, and guest service. She is currently completing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University. Prior to her current role, Ms. Devany spent nearly a decade in the lodging industry serving in management positions at resort, limited-service, and boutique properties in various cities within the United States.

In Fall 2017, Ms. Devany will use the Learning Studio to teach a new class for students across disciplines that will provide foundational framework necessary to evaluate the feasibility of an innovative business concept. Students will work collaboratively to identify customer pains and gains through integration of market research, and assess potential product features using the lean business canvas. They will also interact with current entrepreneurs throughout the term to learn from their challenges and successes. Ms. Devany is a Coleman Fellow and charged with extending the reach of entrepreneurship beyond the scope of the business school and into disciplines campus-wide. The course is designed to apply to an inter-disciplinary audience and will provide students with resources available not only on SLU's campus but also within the city of St. Louis to develop, nurture, and launch a business concept.

Recent Past Innovative Teaching Fellows

Chris Carroll, Ph.D., Fall 2016

Chris CarrollChris Carroll is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering within Parks College of Engineering, Aviation, and Technology. He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and received his Ph.D. in CEE from Virginia Tech, where he was a Cunningham-Via Fellow and College of Engineering Dean's Teaching Fellow. After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Carroll was a faculty member at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette before joining the faculty at Saint Louis University in the fall of 2015. His experimental research interests include various structural engineering related topics, while his educational research interests focus on the impact of active and visual methods of instruction on student learning. Dr. Carroll's teaching interests include a number of courses related to structural analysis and design and his teaching experience includes the use of tablet technology coupled with various forms of inductive teaching methods used to create more interactive and learner-centered classroom environments. Dr. Carroll will be teaching the Structural Analysis course in the learning studio, which is the foundation to structural engineering for all civil engineering students where they learn the basic principles of analysis and design of buildings and bridges. The instructional approach will include wireless tablet technology coupled with various forms of problem and project-based activities.

Cathleen Fleck, Ph.D., Fall 2016

Cathleen FleckCathleen A. Fleck is an Associate Professor in the Art History Program of the Fine and Performing Arts Department. She teaches medieval European and Islamic art as well as general survey classes of all of the history of art. Her classes cover topics with historical and geographical scope such as Masterpieces of Global Art and Islamic Art and Society, as well as comparative issues such as Excavating Cultures of Three Faiths or The Art of Jerusalem and Three Faiths. Her research and publications focus on late medieval art of the Mediterranean and now leads her around the Mediterranean to a new endeavor: Jerusalem Lost and Gained: The Holy City after the Crusader Defeat and the Muslim Conquest (1187-1343). This project is considering Islamic and Christian representations of Jerusalem in sculpture, painting, manuscripts, and glassware after European Christian Crusaders' lost control of the city in 1187 and Muslim powers gained control.

Dr. Fleck's course for the Learning Studio-Art and the Body-is meant to have a few key aims, not least to be an introduction to the history of art for students who have an interest in art and science. Dr. Fleck will help students examine a topic that she has already examined in her comparative courses about the art of multiple faiths: the visual study and depiction of the divine and human body over time in art. Through questions-such as How do you depict the body of God in art? Why did the Renaissance develop the scientific study of anatomy in art? What leads contemporary artists to utilize technologies such as Xrays?-students will discuss how perceptions of the body have changed over time. In an active learning environment, students will take advantage of the classroom's collaborative workspace, tools, and technologies to support group projects, such as a debate and a virtual exhibition, that the students will develop during their class meetings.

Amber Hinsley, Ph.D., Fall 2016

Amber HinsleyAmber Hinsley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in journalism and media studies. Her research centers on issues of online journalism, media management and news production. Some of her current research focuses on journalists' construction of their professional and organizational identities, as well as the public's use of social media as a communication tool. Prior to earning her graduate degrees, Hinsley was a reporter and editor at several community sections of the Los Angeles Times.

In Fall 2016, Hinsley will use the Learning Studio to teach a class for students across disciplines to learn how to better use social and digital media as professional tools. Throughout the semester, students will collaborate as they develop and strategize their individual professional identities in online spaces (including blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and digital portfolios.) Students will learn about personal branding, online writing, social media management and analytics, and visual storytelling. In addition to writing for their own blogs, students will produce digital videos and digital portfolios that showcase their areas of expertise.

Alyssa Wilson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, Fall 2016

Alyssa Wilson

Alyssa Wilson is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program in the School of Social Work. Her research focuses on language and cognition, language deficits, and decision making across the lifespan. Dr. Wilson teaches courses on behavior analytic theory and principles, behavioral change and processes, and electives related to verbal behavior, addiction, and interventions for children and adolescents. This will be Dr. Wilson's second time teaching in the Learning Studio, were she will teach and mentor ABA students on their thesis projects. The purpose of the thesis course is for students to demonstrate command over the scientific process by completing an independent research project that exhibits behavioral change. The course will be taught using differentiated instruction, to assist students with writing scientifically, implementing research practice, and delivering oral presentations. The goal of the course is to assist students with completing their thesis projects within 1 year.   

Mark Wilson, M.F.A., Spring 2016

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is an Associate Professor of Theatre and is the resident lighting designer for the Saint Louis University Theatre. Mark teaches Lighting Design, Survey of Theatrical Design, Computer Aided Design, and Introduction to Theatre. In his early career he had intern experiences at the Guthrie Theatre, the Yale School of Drama, and he arrived in St Louis in 1985 to work at the Repertory Theatre and the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis where he worked for 12 years in the capacities as Assistant Technical Director, Technical Director, Production Manager and as a free-lance lighting designer. Prior to joining the Saint Louis University Theatre Faculty in 2003, he was employed at Busch Creative Services, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch as a technical designer in the corporate events and display departments.

Mark is very active in the local St. Louis theatre community and he has designed for the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The St. Louis Black Repertory Company, New Jewish Theatre, Mustard Seed Theatre and last summer he designed the lighting and special effects for Young Frankenstein at the St Michaels Playhouse in Burlington, Vermont. He has designed lighting and provided technical consultation and 3D design development for many corporate and marketing events ranging from a dark ride for the Ferrari Theme Park in Abu Dhabi to the technical direction for an early Nelly and the St Lunatics Music Video, Midwest Swing filmed in St Louis. Mark is excited to work with the Reinert Center Staff to help redesign his Introduction to Theatre class with an emphasis on the implementation of digital media and technology in modern live entertainment. The redesigned Introduction to Theatre will premiere in The Learning Studio in the Spring of 2016 and will be an ideal environment for students to explore the history of theatre and technology from the origins of storytelling with shadow puppets around a cave campfire to the modern day electronic campfire equivalents -- projection design, digital mapping, holographic experiments, LED screens, virtual and automated scenery, gesture technology, modern lighting and sound design, and atmospheric special effects.


Amy E. Wright, Ph.D., Spring 2016

Amy WrightAmy E. Wright (Ph.D., Hispanic Studies, Brown University, 2006) has worked with Spanish and ESL students of all age groups, teaching migrant farm workers in her home state of North Carolina, adults in Rhode Island, early college students in NYC, and university students in small private and large public schools from the East Coast to Alaska. At Saint Louis University she is Assistant Professor of Latin American Literatures & Cultures, also serving as coordinator of the Intermediate Spanish Writing Course and initiative/program leader of a SLU-Sponsored Study Abroad Program to be based in Mérida, Yucatán. Her current courses and research examines community / otherness in Latin American contexts, as well as the use of "writing-to-learn" techniques to increase community, fluency and enjoyment in the foreign language classroom. Amy's Spanish course in the Reinert Studio culminates in a student-led community performance of original work surrounding a collective reading of Nobel Laureate Gabriel García Márquez's 100 Años de Soledad: Performing Solitude in Community, and consists of students' close reading of the text alongside virtual workshops with Spanish-speaking performance artists from Mexico, Spain, Colombia and the United States. In addition to an article under review regarding writing-to-learn techniques in the second language classroom, Amy has published articles on 19th-century print culture (Latin American Literary Review, Revista Iberoamericana, and Siglo Diecinueve), as well as book chapters on 19th-century serialized literature (Vanderbilt UP, 2009) and nation-building prose (Cambridge UP, 2015) in Mexico. She is currently working on a book project that examines the early 19th-century Latin American serial novel's ambivalent relationship to European models and its deep connections to the incipient collective identity under development throughout the Independence and Nation-Building Period (1800-1880).

To see all past Innovative Teaching Fellows, click here