Jennifer Ramos, winner of the International Studies Association 2015 Deborah Gerner Innovative Teaching Award, knows that some of the most transformative learning doesn’t take place in the classroom. As associate professor and associate chair of Political Science at LMU, Ramos interweaves classroom instruction with local community engagement and international cultural immersion. Locally, her students have conducted original research and analysis on everything from the efficacy of community food banks to the shortfalls of neighborhood police watch signage. Internationally, her students have participated in peace and reconciliation conferences on location in Northern Ireland and attended the UN International Day of the Girl Child Conference.
But what is the real secret of innovative teaching, according to Ramos? A personal and vital interest in the subject matter you teach. Indeed, the content of Ramos’ classes intertwines crucially with her own research as expressed both through professional conferences and publications. In addition to an extensive publication record in such peer reviewed journals as Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Politics, Journal of Political Ideologies, Human Rights Review, and International Studies Perspectives, Ramos penned “Changing Norms through Actions: The Evolution of Sovereignty,” published with Oxford University Press in 2013, as well as co-edited “iPolitics: Citizens, Elections and Governing in the New Media Era” with Richard Fox, Dean for Undergraduate Education in BCLA, also with Oxford University Press in 2012. She also recently co-organized a conference at LMU on Preventive Force: Targeted Killings and Technology, the proceedings of which will appear in “Preventive Force: Drones, Targeted Killing, and the Transformation of Contemporary Warfare” by New York University Press in 2016.