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Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award

The Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award recognizes the collaborative work of two or more faculty who creatively integrate the values of liberal education in the design of courses or curricula for majors or academic programs. Such innovative design could be manifested in a variety of ways, but a preference will be given to applicants who have collaborated to develop curricula that contribute to the integration of learning outcomes of the AU Core Curriculum. For the purposes of this award, the University is using the Association of American Colleges and University’s definition of liberal education “as an approach to undergraduate education that promotes integration of learning across the curriculum and co-curriculum, and between academic and experiential learning, in order to develop specific learning outcomes that are essential for work, citizenship, and life.” CTRL coordinates the award process. The $2,500 award is divided among the recipients.

We are now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award. Applications are due on May 23, 2023.


Application Process

Applications are submitted online using the form at the link below. You will be asked to submit two attachments to the application:

  • A one-page executive summary of how the curriculum alignment and integration was accomplished
  • A document of up to two (2) single-spaced pages that includes:
    1. Summary of student learning outcomes that guided the curriculum alignment
    2. Specific examples of how the courses incorporated and/or expanded upon the values of liberal education and/or AU Core Curriculum themes, concepts, and skills
    3. Information and examples of how the integration/design process was shared with both students and faculty
    4. Examples of such elements as assignments, readings, or exam questions used to assess learning outcomes that align with the values of a liberal education; and
    5. Summary of next steps to solidify or expand the integration

APPLY NOW for the Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award

Previous Award Winners

The 2021-2022 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to Professors Susan Apgood and Anjali Varma (Department of Management, Kogod School of Business).

Professors Apgood and Varma were selected because they identified and pursued an opportunity in the curriculum in the business school to address an important, growing, yet often marginalized population in the workforce: women. In the fall of 2021, the course “Women in Organizational Leadership” was introduced to examine the barriers and discrimination that women leaders face, spotlight successful women leaders, and provide the next generation of leaders with a toolkit to navigate and/or assist those who are navigating the labyrinth that many women leaders face. The course incorporated several of the AU Core Curriculum themes, concepts, and skills, particularly those related to the Habits of Mind Cultural Inquiry and Socio-Historical Inquiry.

The 2020-2021 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to Professors Patricia Aufderheide and Saif Shahin (School of Communication).

Professors Shahin and Aufderheide were selected because of their work to revise their course, COMM 365 – Digital Media and Culture, to bring it in line with the learning outcomes of the Diversity and Equity (DIV) component of the  AU Core Curriculum, which led to their course being accepted as a DIV course in 2020. The realignment emphasizes how digital media  reinforce structural  inequalities and historical oppression based on race, class, gender, and  religion, even as they give voice to marginalized communities and  afford them the tools to come together and push against asymmetries of power. The course was turned into a series of weekly modules that focus on different aspects of digital life— from identity construction and  community formation online to digital citizenship and activism. The reorganization of the course helps students better understand the role that social differentiation and stratification plays in their own lives and how digital technologies might be exacerbating it.

The 2019-2020 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to Alexander ZestosDouglas FoxMatthew Hartings, and Shouzhong Zou (CAS-Chemistry)

The 2018-2019 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to Librarian Rachel Borchardt and Professors Cyndee FinkelGregg HarryNate Harshman, and Jessica Uscinski (CAS, Physics).

In 2012, Nate invited Rachel to introduce students to information literacy concepts in the new Physics Capstone Seminar. That invitation revealed a need to more systematically incorporate information literacy concepts throughout the curriculum which led to the productive collaboration between the library and physics which we celebrate today. Using a comprehensive, three-tiered information literacy plan that was developed by the AU’s library, they got to work. For instance, Jessica revised Physics-110 as a Habits of Mind course and to meet the Core Curriculum required addressing a learning outcome focused on information literacy. Cyndee worked with Rachel on PHYS-331 Modern Physics, typically taken by second-year physics majors, to introduce information literacy in the field of physics. And in Gregg’s PHYS-440 Experimental Physics course, students are exposed to strategies for selecting high-quality sources for an article they are required to submit to an undergraduate physics research journal. As a result of these collaborations, the Physics Department has a curriculum that introduces, reinforces, and synthesizes information literacy results in a comprehensive curriculum with a Capstone experience that demonstrates mastery of these concepts


The 2017-2018 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to Erin Foreman-Murray (Department of Performing Arts, CAS) and Britta Peterson (Department of Performing Arts, CAS)

During the 2017-2018 academic year, Professors Erin Foreman-Murray and Britta Peterson designed a dynamic new dance curriculum, which—true to the liberal arts model—not only encourages, but holds transdisciplinary study at its core. This new dance curriculum is an innovative and unique program allowing students to approach creative practice and critical inquiry through the foundation of embodied knowledge—acquiring cognitive modalities through the body. The dance curriculum has been structurally and pedagogically designed to creatively enable students to integrate their dance studies within and beyond the university. The dexterous design of the dance curriculum responds to the dynamic nature of the moving world. Rather than educate students within a system that reflects the needs of the 20th-century job market, the new dance curriculum seeks to educate the 21st-century artist.


The 2016-2017 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to Angie Chuang (School of Communication) and Andrea Malkin Brenner (CAS, Sociology)

Andrea Brenner and Angie Chuang are the twin forces that have created AUx, The American University Experience, a two-semester course sequence designed to help students navigate their academic, social, cultural, and psychological transition to university life. The sequence enables students to become members of a diverse community of learners. AUx further guides students to think about issues of bias, discrimination and social identity from a multidisciplinary perspective. Under Andrea and Anglie’s skilled leadership, the AUx program continues in its pilot phase and by Fall 2018 will impact the education of every undergraduate entering AU. Thank you, Angie and Andrea, for your incredibly important work.


The 2015-2016 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to a team of faculty from the Kogod School of Business:Professors William Bellows, Melissa Bradley, Richard Linowes, Jay Pope, Robert Sicina, and Tommy White

Collectively, they are recognized for their work with the Kogod Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation Initiative, which was launched in 2014.This interdisciplinary initiative integrates a broad range of majors (not just in business) with the creative problem-solving skills of entrepreneurship. Courses in the program build on the broad spectrum of General Education goals, including strong communication skills, critical analysis skills, quantitative literacy and symbolic reasoning skills, and an awareness of new and different ways of thinking and understanding issues in our ever-changing world.


The 2014-2015 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to a team of faculty from the School of International Service: Professors Rose Shinko, Patrick Jackson, and Betsy Cohn


The 2013-2014 Ann Ferren Curriculum Design Award was given to a team of faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Environmental Science: Professors Kiho Kim, Sara Lombardi, Jesse Meiller, and Stephen MacAvoy


CTRL is committed to providing services to all faculty & staff. Considering the inaccessibility of our location at Hurst Hall, we will coordinate the delivery of our services at an accessible location upon request. Request an accessible meeting via e-mail or call (202) 885-2117.

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