Creating Stories To Combat Terrorism

Teaching students about counterterrorism requires a daring combination of creativity and storytelling, a fact discovered by four graduate students at the College of Law. Third-year law students Jeffrey Baldridge, Justin Hosman and Thomas Pedersen, along with masters of science in international affairs and global enterprise student Andrew Radcliffe, headed a project designing terrorist simulations for other students. “We’re literally creating the fictional world where other students are going to operate for the entire semester,” Pedersen said. In a law-school environment steeped in tradition, this experiential-based course uses role-playing and engaging plot lines to assess and improve students’ leadership, articulation and decision-making skills. These simulations are so complex, in fact, that their story lines often develop an eerie resemblance to real-life events. “It’s scary to see what you imagine replaying in real life,” Baldridge said. But this type of realistic exposure prepares students for the chaos and grey-areas of counterterrorist policies unlike any other opportunity.

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