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VMASC's Sokolowski, Banks to Lead Provost's Conversation on Nov. 14

The Provost's Conversations on Teaching and Learning, a brown bag lunch series, will feature a discussion on Thursday, Nov. 14, led by John Sokolowski, executive director, and Catherine Banks, research associate professor, at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC).

Presented by the Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT), the Office of Distance Learning and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Simpson, these conversations are open to all faculty members, and offer the opportunity to think, reflect and share about the teaching and learning process. CLT will provide light refreshments.

Sokolowski and Banks will speak on "From Research Question to Conceptual Model to Software Selection: Teaching Students Analysis Through Modeling" from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in the Learning Commons Conference Room at Perry Library. To register go to http://clt.odu.edu/facdev.

In their Conversation, Sokolowski and Banks will discuss how and why modeling and simulation is a credible means to analyze events while adding validity to prediction and/or anticipation of the "what next" regarding these events. The ability to analyze "what-ifs" and "what-next" encourages students to think broadly and futuristically, and to observe and understand complex phenomena.

The presentation will walk through a case study to show how students are introduced to simulation software by: crafting a research question, abstracting their research and question into a conceptual model, and determining the modeling paradigm that best characterizes their research and addresses their research question. A variety of software exists that fully engages the numerous modeling paradigms. Introducing and encouraging the use of these simulation software facilitates a novel means of computational and visual analysis for students.

In addition to his role as executive director of VMASC, Sokolowski is an associate professor of modeling, simulation and visualization engineering. He has been with the center since 2001 and previously served as its director of research. He holds a Ph.D. in engineering with a concentration in modeling and simulation from ODU.

His research interests include human behavior modeling, decision system modeling, multi-agent system simulation, and modeling and simulation representation of social systems. He has published four books on modeling and simulation and is the author of numerous journal articles and conference papers.

Prior to joining VMASC, he served 27 years in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer, retiring at the rank of captain. During his years in the military, Sokolowski served on four submarines. He also served as head of the Modeling and Simulation Division, Joint Warfighting Center (JWFC), U.S. Joint Forces Command. At JWFC, he led the U.S. military's most advanced simulation group in support of worldwide joint training. His responsibilities included design and management of complex simulation architectures and oversight of three major Department of Defense simulation programs.

Banks received a Ph.D. in international studies at ODU. She is currently working on the development of a medical immersive simulation-training tool for a specific application and a simulation program to analyze the impact of the obesity epidemic on the medical community. Her research also includes modeling states and their varied histories of revolution and insurgency, political economy and state volatility, and human behavior/ human modeling with applications in both the social sciences and the health sciences.

Banks is the co-editor of "Principles of Modeling and Simulation: A Multidisciplinary Approach," published in 2009; co-author of "Modeling and Simulation for Analyzing Global Events," published in 2009; co-editor of "Modeling and Simulation Fundamentals: Theoretical Underpinnings and Practical Domains," published in 2010; and co-editor of "Modeling and Simulation for Medical and Health Sciences," published in 2011.

For more information about the Provost's Conversations on Teaching and Learning series, including highlights from past years' Conversations and a calendar of upcoming dates, visit the Conversations website at http://clt.odu.edu/pctl.

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