CTLT Dialogues

The Blog of the Center for Teaching & Learning with Technology

Spotlight: Peter Woolley

Peter Woolley
(April 2005)

Peter Woolley

Peter Woolley, professor of comparative politics in Becton College, may be known to many at FDU as director of the PublicMind survey research organization. Dr. Woolley is also one of FDU’s most gifted teachers and a specialist in defense strategy. One of his published articles won the 1995 Edward S. Miller Prize from the U.S. Naval War College and is required reading in the online course “Defense Strategy” offered by the U.S. Army War College.

This Spotlight highlights two of Dr. Woolley’s classes. A principal goal of “War, Peace, and Arms” is for students to understand the reasons that individuals choose peace or war. While this topic is traditionally taught from a historical or philosophical perspective, Dr. Woolley’s students participate in an online strategy game. By engaging in negotiations similar to those of real policy makers, students understand the factors that lead to war at a deeper level than they would by reading about other people’s decisions. Also, the strategy game is intrinsically motivating for students and is fun to play.

Dr. Woolley also teaches “Low Intensity Warfare” which uses technology in innovative ways to teach students the strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare, terrorism, and coups d’état. Dr. Woolley’s class has hosted virtual visitors who are real-life experts. The experts connect to the class using a webcam from home or work, and Dr. Woolley’s students interact with the
guest via the ITV facility in the Dreyfuss building. The virtual guests include the commander of an American air cavalry battalion based in Germany who has served in Bosnia, Macedonia,
and Iraq, and has extensive, first-hand experience of counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations; an expert on counterinsurgency from the U.S. Army War College who is author of
one of the texts studied in class; and a professor from the U.S. Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama with expertise in strategy and policy. Dr. Woolley also had an in-person visitor – Ms. Vanessa Shields, an alumna of FDU and his class. Shields is now a small arms specialist working for a think tank in London, England. Other notable class alumni include a counterterror specialist for the U.S. Secret Service, a Ph.D. in political science who teaches at the Virginia Military Institute, and a Ph.D. in chemistry who is joining the U.S. Army as a specialist in chemical and biological weapons.

“I always warn students about the possible consequences of taking this course,” Woolley says. “It could lead to a career.”

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