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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Application For Course Approval

for General Education Program

Course Number: WMS 150
Course Title: Introduction to Women's Studies

Check the general education core area for this course:*

  • ___ English Communication
  • ___ Fine Arts & Literature
  • ___ Foreign Language / Cross-cultural Competence
  • ___ Letters
  • ___ Natural Sciences
  • _X_ Social Sciences
  • ___ Mathematical & Quantitative Reasoning

Department(s) in which course will be taught: Women's Studies Program
Faculty member(s) responsible for course: Stephen D. Grubman-Black; Donna Hughes

Office: 314 Roosevelt Hall
Office Phone: 874-7066

Will non-tenure track faculty teach this course?
_X_ Yes    ___ No

If yes, approximately what percentage of sections will be taught by non tenure-track faculty?
Approximately 60%

The integrated skills** that this course will focus on are:

  • _X_ Examine human differences
  • _X_ Read complex texts
  • ___ Speak effectively
  • ___ Use of artistic activity
  • ___ Use of qualitative data
  • ___ Use of quantitative data
  • ___ Use of information technology
  • _X_ Write effectively

Course description (as would be found in catalog):
WMS 150 Introduction to Women's Studies (3)
Images of women across cultures, the theories and processes of socialization, historical perspectives, and implications for social change.

Faculty member's signature: ____________________________________________

Chairperson's signature: _______________________________________________

Dean's signature: ______________________________________________________

The purpose of this application is to assure that the proposed course meets explicit goals established for the general education program. These are:

  • the ability to think critically in order to solve problems and question the nature and sources of authority
  • the ability to use the methods and materials characteristic of each knowledge area with an understanding of the interrelationship among and the interconnectedness of the core areas
  • a commitment to intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning
  • an openness to new ideas with the social skills necessary for both teamwork and leadership
  • the ability to think independently and be self-directed; to make informed choices and take initiative

Part I

This part consists of six questions designed to highlight fundamental aspects of the general education program. Only answer question 5 if it is relevant to your course.

1. If not stated in your syllabus, please indicate the primary learning objective(s) of your course.

The primary learning objective(s) of WMS 150:

  • To understand the contemporary parameters of Women's Studies as a discipline (i. e. National Women's Studies Association);
  • To examine images of women through an international perspective on women's lives and concerns;
  • To explore the conditions and circumstances affecting the lives of women with attention to the global context;
  • To discover how societal institutions and power structures impact the lives of women and girls;
  • To develop an understanding of the concept of gender and identify cultural assumptions about gender;
  • To consider the intersection of gender with other social and cultural identities such as race, ethnicity, class and sexuality.

2. How does the proposed course meet the goals established for the general education program?

• the ability to think critically in order to solve problems and question the nature and sources of authority

WMS 150 asks students to examine critically many of the assumptions about the lives of women and girls. These include but are not limited to, assumptions about what it means to be gendered or raced; how socioeconomic class functions in society; sexuality. Students are required to judge the merits of arguments presented regarding the lives and status of women.

• the ability to use the methods and materials characteristic of each knowledge area with an understanding of the interrelationship among and the interconnectedness of the core areas

WMS 150 provides students with the opportunity to explore aspects of human behavior through the examination of socio-cultural development of gender and sexual relationships through feminist theoretical models.

• a commitment to intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning

WMS 150 allows women and men to reflect upon their personal experiences as they interact with course materials. Students are expected to make explicit links between their lives and course readings. Students are challenged to make sense of their lives in connection with the questions that are being raised in readings and class discussions. Students are taught to offer informed opinions. They are expected to demonstrate their ability to engage in constructive critical dialog; they learn how to support their observations with evidence from the text and how to affirm, challenge, and even disagree with each other, and with instructors, in a way that promotes learning for all students. The desired classroom environment is both mutually respectful and sharply analytic.

• an openness to new ideas with the social skills necessary for both teamwork and leadership

Feminist perspectives are often new approaches to social issues and problems. We use rhetorical skills in dyads, small group and large group discussions. Students are provided with role-models, for example, from videotapes, guest speakers and readings.

• the ability to think independently and be self-directed; to make informed choices and take initiative

Students work independently, in small groups, and in whole group discussion. They are expected to contribute to discussions in all formats and to develop appropriate listening skills. The instructor models reflective listening skills. Students are encouraged to use course assignments to explore areas of specific interest to them, which allows for both student autonomy and student responsibility in terms of choices about their own educational processes and experiences.

3. How is the course suitable for the general education area you have requested it be classified:? Please refer to the criteria for the relevant division as described in Appendix A as well as to your course materials appended to this form

• advance the understanding of human behavior and/or human development

This course helps students develop and refine their abilities to note the social and cultural forces at work in their lives and the lives of others-- including those who are similar to them and those who are different.

• apply social science theoretical perspectives and/or social science concepts to contemporary societal issues in order to expand the knowledge base in the social sciences

Students in WMS 150 learn how the lives of girls and women are influenced by social, political, and economic factors. Feminist perspectives in the social sciences are examined and evaluated by the students.

• provide assignments or opportunities which involve the interpretation of data and/or the evaluation of evidence

Students are referred to various web sites and articles which offer alternative and additional descriptions and explanations of conditions confronting and challenging to the lives of girls and women. See Syllabus for specific assignments.

4. Explain how this course provides opportunities for practice in each of the integrated skills you have listed on the coversheet.

Read complex texts: Students are expected to read materials which are often challenging in terms of vocabulary and in terms of conceptual understanding and mastery. "Reading" is a skill students are expected to apply to both print and visual texts, to essays and articles as well as cultural products such as advertisements, films, television and other media.

Examples:

  • Critically evaluate the lyrics of songs representing two different genres, e.g., rap, blues. Students apply the notion of "the personal is political" to a more objective analysis of possible intents and effects of the words, based on class text and discussions.
  • Regular written reflections about a reading in each section of the text, submitted to course instructor. Each submission includes a 50-word summary and a 100-word explanation.
  • Written responses in which students reflect the implications of the "Top Ten Signs That You're an ART World Token" (a public service from Guerilla Girls Conscience of the Artworld).
  • Comparison between Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and the Beijing Conference on the International Rights of Women (1995).

Write effectively: Students are expected to write frequently throughout the semester. Assignments include but are not limited to, responses to discussion questions generated by the instructor, short reaction papers, personal essays and more formal/traditional research papers. All writing is expected to meet college-level standards; students are given the opportunity to revise working drafts, based on instructor feedback. Students are encouraged to use the services of the Writing Center

Example:

Students are given a handout that includes concrete requirements and criteria for grading. Students must refer to a Checklist for Writing before submitting written work. Self-assessment is included on each submission. Students are expected to revise work in order to earn credit for assignment.

Examine human differences: The Introduction to women's studies course by its very nature centers on examining human differences. These differences are not limited to gender, but include race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, (dis)ability, (trans)national identification and cultural differences on a global scale. The work of the course goes beyond pointing out the existence of difference, but asks students to consider how notions of difference are culturally constructed, and with what results.

5. Will your course sometimes be taught to groups of students larger than 60? If so, please explain what you will do to insure that each of the integrative skills will be achieved. Please explain how each integrative skill will be achieved.

Only if an individual continuing faculty member so chooses.

The instructor developing this proposal believes that this course has been successfully taught in large sections. Students are provided with ample opportunity to work in small groups. (See above)

6. If other instructors (including per course faculty or teaching assistants) teach the course, what will be done to ensure that the proposed content and skills will be maintained across sections and instructors? (To be completed by department chair.)

The Director of the Women's Studies Program will serve as coordinator, or will appoint a coordinator, and the coordinator will provide each instructor with this document and sample syllabus as a guide for individual instructors. The coordinator will meet regularly with instructors to assure that the goals for the course and the opportunities for practicing the skills are maintained.

Part II

Please provide documentation of the means by which your course attempts to reach the goals of the general education program courses described above. Please attach a syllabus(mandatory) and all relevant course materials (e.g., exams, homework and laboratory assignments, classroom exercises) that will demonstrate how your course does this. In addition, please feel free to include any explanation(s) necessary showing how the course materials are/inked to both the goals of general education program and specifically to the integrated skills.