ITA 2017 Nominee: Mimi Gerstbauer Posted on April 23rd, 2018 by

This is one of a few interviews conducted by Ellyn Adelmann ‘18 with winners and previous nominees for the Gustavus Innovative Teaching Award during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Mimi Gerstbauer, Department of Political Science, Peace Studies, LALACS, and African Studies, integrated citizen diplomacy and vocational discernment concepts into her POL-244: International Community and Diplomacy/Model UN course. Gerstbauer states her “goal was to incorporate a vocational discernment piece for students who might be interested in either careers or vocational pursuits outside of their formal career that relate to global issues” while also applying the concept of citizen diplomacy to their careers and lives. Students spent part of the semester in preparation for the Arrowhead Model UN conference in Sault Ste. Marie, MI in April. The course also hosted 6 guest speakers, all with diversified backgrounds, from John Mundahl, who previously served multiple Peace Corps terms and is an ESL teacher to Mikka McCrakken, who works with ELCA World Hunger.

Gerstbauer generates ideas for changes to her courses through a myriad of resources, such as conferences, interactions with colleagues outside of her department, including Kendall Center events, personal reading, and journals and other syllabi. She notes that “making a course change is risky, but starting early and investing the time in order to plan it well the first time allows for a better test run.” She also recommends thinking about how it is going to affect you as the instructor and your students. For example, deciding on a way to hold students accountable for the reading, but not assigning too much to grade is imperative for her own self-care. Overall, she plans on keeping the same fundamental concepts in this course, but will continue to make improvements, such as changing a few readings.


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