Foundation Award for Teaching

David Romano

Dr. David Romano

College of Humanities and Public Affairs
Political Science

I. Philosophy of Teaching

Besides the standard program of assigned readings, lectures, examinations and essay assignments, I incorporate innovative and experiential learning into my courses as much as possible.  In a new class I developed ("Playing Games with the World"), I had students learn international relations (IR) theories via a whole range of simulations, popular culture and games, from Statecraft (an on-line IR simulation) to Game of Thrones and Diplomatic Mission (a "liberal" board game meant to foster cooperation and peace rather than the more usual crushing and shaming of one's enemies).

In my “Foreign Policies of Middle Eastern States” class, I created a Syria/Iraq crisis simulation in which students take on the roles of the most significant political actors. Students who fail to achieve their goals via negotiation may choose to pursue diplomacy by other means, for which the simulation includes a giant Middle East RISK-style board that my wife made, complete with my best educated guess as to the balance and disposition of various military forces and militias.  We enjoy these exercises tremendously, and occasionally the students and I are astonished at how closely subsequent events match what happened in the simulations.

I also created 4 week study abroad program to Turkey. Students on the trips interviewed ministers of parliament, human rights activists, U.S. embassy political affairs officers, average supporters of the governing party, minorities, refugees and PKK supporters and others, spending time in Istanbul, Gallipoli, Ankara and Van. Many students described the experience as "life changing" and told me it gave them direction for what they want to do after they graduate.

II. Example of Courses/Topics

  • Playing Games with the World [Simulations and Games in IR Theory]

  • Politics and Government of the Middle East

  • International Relations Theories (graduate seminar)

  • Foreign Policies of Middle East States

  • Political Violence and Terrorism

  • Selected Nationalisms and Islamisms of the Middle East

  • Summer Course Abroad: Turkey

  • Summer Course Abroad: Croatia and Bosnia

III. Future Projects

I am always testing out new games and simulations to use in my classes, as I like to change these frequently in order to keep things more interesting for me as well.

I would also like to develop a 10 day study abroad trip to Israel in the future, focusing on contested nationalisms within and between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

I love to eventually also write a textbook on the foreign policies of Middle Eastern states.

IV. Topics related to teaching and of interest to the University Community, for which you are available for presentations and/or consultations (e.g., presentation tools, special topics, technology, public affairs).

  • Creation and use of simulations in social science teaching

  • Middle Eastern affairs

  • Study abroad