Shannon Wheatley Hartman, Ph.D., joined the Interactivity Foundation in 2012. She contributes to all three components of IF’s mission: project discussions, public discussions, and classroom discussions. Her projects include:
- On The Move: The Future of Mobility. Over the course of a year, Philadelphia-based panels examined how the function of mobility shapes our society, our sense of self, our capacities to work, and our sense of home. The various dimensions of mobility included: imagining the literal and physical concerns surrounding mobility, the future of connectivity and virtual mobility, the intersection of environmental and energy concerns, the impact that new technologies and increased mobility have on democratic participation in society as well as individual identity and liberty.
- Freshwater for the Future. In this project Shannon managed a panel of international discussants who met virtually for over a year to discuss this area of concern. Co-managed with Dennis Boyer, this project included a panel from Wisconsin and several developmental and test discussions around the U.S. and Mexico. This project produced several policy ideas that address various components of this issue: quality control, access, distribution, human rights, nonhuman rights, spirituality, and the role of technology.
- Agri-Culture & The Future of Rural Life. This project is currently underway and will examine the role of agriculture as it relates to identity, tradition, community, food production, environment, technology, industry, education, and the general future of rural life. Based in Manhattan, Kansas, Shannon’s panel will explore this topic in 2016. She is also facilitating developmental discussion in central Kentucky.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Shannon was a full-time Lecturer of International Relations at Arizona State University. She was awarded Teacher of the Year for the School of Politics and Global Studies in 2011. Her teaching interests and publications focus on cosmopolitanism, immigration and border politics, nonviolent resistance, postcolonialism, Participatory Action Research, and political theory. All of her courses are designed to call into question voices and positions of authority, focus on student-centered learning through praxis, and nurture the processes that deliberately move students and teachers toward a fuller humanity of critical thinking and perpetual learning. The purpose of her ongoing pedagogical experiments is not to discover the best methods or gimmicks for teaching students to master content, but to discover ways to use content to generate and improve thought and communication. In terms of IF’s education initiative, she is currently advancing the following projects:
- The Student-Facilitated Discussion Guidebook for Online Courses (co-authored with Jack Byrd, Jr., Ph.D., 2015). This guidebook (with separate student and instructor editions) offers a step-by-step guide for incorporating the IF discussion approach into online courses. These guides offer support to faculty (how to structure the discussion, train student facilitators, evaluate facilitation and participation) and students (how to facilitate and participate in online discussion, pre-discussion preparation, post-discussion write-ups and debriefings) interested in creating more robust, student-centered, exploratory discussions in online courses.
- Leadership through Facilitation. As a former fellow-in-residence in the Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University, Shannon explored the intersections between leadership studies and deliberative democracy, examining how students may practice leadership concepts and skills while developing their facilitation skills through organizing community discussions.
Many of these topics, like mobility and online interactivity, hit close to home for Shannon, a native of Kentucky. Over the years she has worked as a high school teacher in Central Mexico, completed a Masters degree of Economics and Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, earned her doctorate at Arizona State University, worked as a Lecturer in the School of Politics and Global Studies at ASU, taught online courses for Arizona while spending a year in Philadelphia and teaching at Drexel University, and–as noted above–served as a fellow-in-residence at the Staley School of Leadership Studies at Kansas State University. She has recently lived in Providence, Rhode Island, Manhattan, Kansas, and has even more recently relocated to the Philadelphia area with her husband, Eric, who she met in the Ecuadorian Amazon while studying Quichua. Together, they are raising their two daughters.