Doyle Faculty Fellowships are designed to support full-time faculty in choosing one of their undergraduate courses to redesign, with a goal of enhancing or incorporating themes of difference and diversity. The fundamental goal of the Doyle Fellowships is to enable faculty to create inclusive pedagogies and diversified course content that will transform the teaching and learning experience for themselves and their students in deep and varied ways.
The 2014-15 Doyle faculty fellows cohort began in May 2014 with an intensive four-day workshop focused on the interrelated themes of engaging diversity and effective pedagogy. This opportunity for substantive engagement with colleagues from across the university is a critical part of the fellowship. The concentrated time together helps create space for faculty to begin to re-imagine a course and also builds an interdisciplinary learning community that extends into the cohort work of the academic year and beyond.
A key theme at the beginning of the cohort discussions was that of design. Faculty fellows chose whether to design a new class from scratch or redesign a course previously taught, and spent time aligning their diversity-related goals with the course content, activities, and assignments. This work of (re)design and course adjustment continued in small group summer consultations and throughout the year as fellows presented to and critically engaged one another on specific aspects of their Doyle courses.
Essentials of Effective Practice
Essentials of Effective Practice is a community-based learning (CBL) course that explores urban education in the U.S. and specifically in Washington, D.C. Sabrina Wesley-Nero redesigned the course goals to more effectively mine the triangle formed by students, course content, and the CBL experience. Specifically, Wesley-Nero added a systems thinking conceptual framework that helped the students situate their personal experience and CBL experience within a broader context. Wesley-Nero changed the CBL portion to create a partnership with D.C. public and public charter schools. Restructured assignments determined the extent to which students could articulate multiple influences on and definitions of school success and failure. Wesley-Nero gained concrete evidence of the impact made by this redesign through a pre- and post-essay prompt and an educational autobiography assignment. These assignments revealed a more nuanced and sophisticated grasp of the course’s theoretic models and their relation to both D.C. schools and the students’ own lives than had manifested in previous course iterations.
This course revision helped the students situate their personal experience and community-based learning experience within a broader context; understand the landscape and the inter-relationships; and move beyond overly simplified knee-jerk responses to the material.Sabrina Wesley-Nero
Democracy and Education
Douglas Reed’s course, Democracy and Education, centered on a partnership with Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter School, in which Georgetown and Chavez students collaborated on a joint “civic actions” project aimed at bringing greater public awareness to the issue of D.C.’s lack of representation in Congress. This collaboration required careful design and execution in order to overcome significant logistical challenges, build rapport between the groups, and enable them to work in genuine partnership. Reed and his Chavez collaborators organized four separate trips during the semester to bring students together. The students used Google Groups and a joint website to help facilitate and showcase collaboration between these sessions. The projects culminated in meetings with Senate staffers on Capitol Hill to discuss the students’ work. In addition to adding the joint “civic actions” project to the course, Reed created a new final assignment—a program evaluation paper—in which Georgetown students reflected on what they had learned about issues of difference and diversity by working with their Chavez student partners.
Prisons and Punishment
Marc Howard’s Prisons and Punishment course analyzed the issues surrounding the punitive nature of the U.S. criminal justice system through the lens of race—both historically and in the contemporary period. For his Doyle course, Howard significantly expanded and front-loaded the course’s exploration of race in order to ensure its function as a constant and primary theme. Additionally, work was done to redesign each class session to better incorporate multimedia and structured group discussion. Group discussions included metacognitive reflection and sessions on students’ own connection to the course material, later distilled in reflective essays. The course made use of documentaries, guest speakers, and the opportunity for students to take a field trip to a local prison. Howard’s time spent working with students before, during, and after the field trip ensured that their experience was not mere observation but that it contributed directly to course goals.
I learned a great deal from our Doyle cohort conversations about teaching and pedagogy. It was fascinating and inspiring to be in a room filled with passionate teachers.Marc Howard
As Mark Giordano led his students to discover throughout the semester, a complete analysis of the complicated conflicts spawned by water usage requires not just an examination of water as a limited, fundamental resource, but also an understanding of the diversity of human perspectives among all parties involved. Not only does diversity contribute to water tensions, but misunderstanding the needs and perspectives of others sharply exacerbates conflict. In addition to specific, targeted readings and case studies, Giordano made an effort throughout the semester to highlight both the diversity of perspectives integral to course material and the diversity of lives and human experience. Case studies ranged from macro-level, multi-national conflicts to local water politics in the D.C. community. Films and field trips were likewise interwoven with the material, and students enjoyed tours of the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in Anacostia as well as a canal walk through Georgetown. Students learned about critical connections between the way humans use, manage, and fight over water, and the way this relates to such factors as class, race, culture, and lifestyles.
Introduction to Sexuality Studies
One of two introductory courses in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Introduction to Sexuality Studies is often students’ first encounter with thinking about sexuality in a scholarly context. Working with a course already focused on difference, Michelle Ohnona took advantage of her Doyle redesign to revise and test the efficacy of experiential learning exercises in the classroom to combine both affective and cognitive elements. Her goal was to create links between students and the experiences of those they are learning about. Class sessions incorporated theoretical readings, real-world case scenarios, experiential role-play, and collective debriefing. Elevated levels of student engagement together with the richness of subsequent discussion evidenced the degree to which these experiential class periods impacted student understanding, as well as students’ willingness to examine and challenge their preconceptions. Also, such exercises afforded Ohnona ample opportunity to observe the interpersonal dynamics operating in the classrooms. Finally, these experiential sessions served to demystify and render visible various mechanisms of social normalization, making them available to students for critical assessment.
I have come to recognize the increasing importance of including classroom exercises that teach empathy. Ours is a world that is saturated with information, and our students’ lives are full to the brim with facts, perspectives, reports, and opinions. Our students need more from us than information. If the education we offer is to be truly liberatory, it must do more.Michelle Ohnona
Gateway to Linguistics
Maria Moreno’s Doyle experience proved that substantive engagement with diversity is possible even while satisfying other departmental curricular requirements. Preserving the course as an analysis of the fundamental structures of linguistics, Moreno incorporated a sociolinguistic focus on the people using the language. News articles, films, and assignments were added highlighting the links between ideology, language, and power, along with essay prompts asking students to reflect on these issues. Moreno designed the final essay to add a personal element, directing students to use intellectual frameworks from class to analyze their own socio-cultural experience with Spanish and the systems of privilege this experience manifested. Students also gave in-class presentations critically examining language policy and its impact on individuals’ sense of “self ” and “other.” Carefully-designed in-class discussions sustained these themes throughout the semester. Ultimately, students developed a vision of the science of language as a tool they could use to gain a more in-depth understanding of the dynamics that shape society and overall diversity of human experience.
Facebook and Jesus: God, Computers & Future Life
Questions of diversity in a pluralistic society are compounded by the dynamic relationship between humans and technology and the role humans have begun to play vis-à-vis their own multiple evolutionary trajectories. The matrix created by cultural and technological control over evolution raises a host of difficult and unsettling questions with regard to identity and the diversity of human experience. Ilia Delio’s course Facebook and Jesus attempted to tackle these questions head-on. Delio set up the course around the rotation of small discussion groups with members playing differentiated roles. These groups operated on multiple levels both inside and outside of the classroom to analyze course material and collaborate on course projects. Continuous and rotating collaboration made conspicuous the diversity of the class itself, allowing this to be an ongoing theme for analysis. Additionally, Delio integrated several high-profile guest speakers who discussed further intersections between technology and identity.
I learned as much, if not more, simply attending the Doyle fellows cohort meetings and listening to colleagues discuss different teaching techniques, as I did preparing exercises for my own class.Ilia Delio
The Politics of Inequality
Father Matthew Carnes’ course redesign sought to make the phenomenon of inequality—across dimensions as diverse as income, wealth, race, gender, religion, and education—both intellectually comprehensible and personally meaningful to undergraduate students. The goal was to help students understand and grapple with their own place in an increasingly unequal world, allowing them to make choices and decisions about how they will structure their careers, family life, and other commitments. Father Carnes made frequent use of iClicker response devices that provided real-time feedback to implement this overarching goal. Not only did this allow him to track and adjust for student understanding, it also facilitated frequent opportunities for students to express, visualize, and critically examine their individual and collective opinions, as well as how they saw their own relationship to inequality. Students completed a series of writing assignments that encouraged them to articulate their emerging understanding and convictions about the course material. Through such assignments, students applied the theoretical frameworks from class to their own lives, to “implicate themselves” as citizens in an unequal world.
This semester I came to appreciate just how challenging – but how valuable – it is to design a course that engages students on both an intellectual and personal level. This requires establishing an openness to both new academic material and to personal vulnerability, because it means that the process will change us. And this is as true for the students as it is for me.Matthew Carnes
Introduction to Justice and Peace
Introduction to Justice and Peace is a course already centered on themes related to difference and diversity, including poverty, hunger, and homelessness; racism, sexism, and homophobia; and violence, oppression, and marginalization. The seminar, which is pedagogically oriented around student-driven learning and experiential engagement, also offers an optional community-based learning component. In redesigning the course, Randall Amster sought to deepen students’ sense of personal connection to the material by dividing the course into specific thematic units with opportunities for student creativity, collaboration, and reflection. Amster also collaborated with other Doyle fellows in order to experiment with and maximize the effectiveness of various in-class activities and teaching strategies. In particular, he found effective the use of a “spectrogram” (in which participants address various prompts by moving around the room, allowing everyone to see each other’s responses) and a “fishbowl” (in which groups of two or three participants meet in the middle of a larger circle to discuss the implications of prompts focusing on issues that can be difficult to discuss in larger groups).
The Doyle cohort experience was an invaluable resource for developing my pedagogy, expanding the substantive offerings in my courses, and building collegial bridges with colleagues from around the university. By focusing on both process and content, as well as providing a faculty forum for processing real-time events in a collaborative setting, the Doyle cohort provided a critical dimension that is often lacking in our relatively isolated faculty work lives.Randall Amster
For Elizabeth Velez, a key part of redesigning her Feminist Theory course was to “take into account the central tension of the class which is to align both Western (and often white) and non-Western, non-white ‘feminisms’ without privileging the former.” This process began with a significant examination and revision of course readings—not only bringing greater balance, but changing pedagogical emphasis in order to “center” non-Western readings. In particular, Velez sought to leverage readings that addressed race for productive in-class discussion. An early writing assignment in the course asked students to draw upon the theoretical frameworks they had studied in order to design their own feminist theory—one that explicitly took difference into account. Ultimately, Velez saw her involvement in Doyle as an initial step in an ongoing process. In the future, she hopes to more fully incorporate some of the innovative exercises she learned in the program, both in and out of the classroom.
The Problem of Suffering, Religious Perspectives
In Ridgeway Addison’s frequently taught course, The Problem of Suffering, students explore approaches to the universal human experience of suffering by each of the five major world religious traditions. The coursework helps students recognize these approaches as important and creative tools for tailoring positive, life-giving, and meaning-centered responses to suffering in the medical world. Addison dedicated himself to thinking through, planning, and adjusting the structure of the explicit agreements he makes with students concerning the nature of their course participation. The resulting participatory “Covenant” highlighted for both professor and students the fact that how we listen and talk together directly affects our learning and the kinds of relationships and communities we develop. Addison restructured the presentation of course materials to highlight key themes and questions in order to facilitate students’ ability to compare and contrast religious approaches to suffering. Another key theme was reflection, which students took up in a variety of ways, from in-class exercises to readings and reflective writing opportunities.
Writing Within Washington
Carole Sargent’s course redesign looked to guide first-year students to read political literature for issues of diversity and difference, and in turn to use this exploration as a means to make visible their own political and perspectival blind spots. A major goal of the redesign was to create structures that encourage all students, regardless of background, to participate fully, and Sargent dedicated particular attention to various in-class exercises that elicit participation. As another major element of the course redesign, Sargent incorporated regular guest speakers to discuss their work writing government memoranda and political speeches. This creates the opportunity for students to hear these experts share their own approaches to diversity, which is inevitably a critical element in their writing careers. Sargent cited the key role the Doyle faculty cohort played in her course redesign and in her strategizing for future courses.
The Doyle fellowship helped me frame my previous training [at another university] as prologue and see this historic present for what it is: a different university, a new set of students, and an opportunity to discuss issues in a way that works best now.Carole Sargent
Sports, Human Rights, and U.S. Foreign Relations
Theresa Keeley’s School of Foreign Service proseminar led students to explore diversity-related topics through a familiar vehicle: sports. Taken during the students’ first semester at Georgetown, the course was able to capitalize on their natural willingness to explore new perspectives. Of particular note was a unit focusing on the relationship between civil rights and anti-war movements. Keeley dynamically aligned readings, reflection, in-class discussion, a documentary, and an analytical paper in order to emphasize and explore these themes in multiple contexts. Doing so gave students the opportunity to develop a nuanced understanding of the controversial material and explore both their own and others’ perspectives. Additionally, individual students led thirty minutes of discussion during each session. Evidence based on student performance and reporting suggests the need to address issues of diversity early in the college experience. Keeley’s Doyle experience also convinced her of the importance of maintaining diversity as a semester-long theme in order to allow students a realistic opportunity to develop comfort and competence in addressing the complexities involved.
Through its cinematic exploration of class, sexuality, nation, East/West relations, and religion, Dima Ayoub’s Arab Film course is designed to help students first see and then critically assess their assumptions and presuppositions concerning the Arab world. In particular, the course focuses on complicating the function of nationalism as a value that both preserves and occludes diversity. Ayoub added a new module on the experience of Jewish communities in Iraq and North Africa, exploring the complexity of belonging, identity, and conflict. Film and literature were carefully linked together in order to unsettle deeply entrenched assumptions about Arab identity and the binary nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This in turn led to substantive in-class dialogues and thoughtful student written analysis. Additionally, analysis of the films helped students direct their attention to how films portray living experiences, as well as the ways that these portrayals both aid and obscure understanding. Ayoub’s success in using film to align and facilitate difficult dialogues, highlight textual themes, and improve written analysis has already led her to explore creative uses of film and literature in other language courses.
U.S. History since 1865
Katherine Benton-Cohen redesigned her U.S. History Survey, a course she has taught many times over the years, around separate modules, each making systematic use of primary source material from diverse perspectives (e.g., by race, class, gender, region, and politics). In addition to helping students see that history relies on diverse, often disagreeing perspectives, this modular redesign intrinsically connects diversity and empathy to the course materials. Benton-Cohen challenged students to approach primary source material with critical empathy and avoid stereotyping the source subjects and points of view. In order to implement these goals, Benton-Cohen revised course materials, attached methodological practices to each module, and added small group assignments.
The Doyle faculty fellows program for 2013-14 brought together 15 faculty members from 10 disciplines ranging across main campus, as well as one participant from the School of Foreign Service in Qatar.
Together they formed a cohort committed to grappling with the challenges of incorporating diversity into both pedagogy and content. Seeking to develop ways for their students to engage substantively with their respective disciplines and issues of diversity prominent in society today, the faculty fellows were crucial sources of inspiration, creativity, and expertise for each other.
Faculty fellows first met as a cohort in May 2013 with an intensive series of workshops, continued over the summer with small group consultations, and met monthly throughout the academic year. Each cohort member designed or redesigned a course in such a way to highlight issues of diversity and difference not only in the course content but also through assignments, activities, and discussions. The dynamic interactions as a cohort—face-to-face as well as virtual—provided a significant space for the faculty fellows to examine their teaching in a rigorously reflective way, as well as to learn from, share with, and continually challenge one another. As faculty fellows have reported since the first Doyle cohort in 2009, this space and the community it creates are among the most beneficial and rewarding aspects of the Doyle Faculty Fellows Program.
Survey of Spanish Literature I
Emily Francomano restructured her Survey of Spanish Literature from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century around one common theme related to diversity: “how others are identified and defined in relation to the self,” or what we might consider an issue of positionality. In order to become proficient at reading literary texts from diverse points of view, students completed a series of informal writing assignments on the class blog. This allowed students to practice expressing their ideas in Spanish before doing so in class discussions or formal papers. It also helped students develop their understanding of different perspectives and the complex issue of positionality as they uncovered the ways in which “literary and cultural texts are structured with particular audience expectations in mind.” In a final blog reflection, many students described their experience in the course as a deep engagement with diversity and highlighted the critical value of reading from multiple perspectives. Francomano feels that reflecting on how texts define and situate others is an important step to reading and thinking with empathy.
The overarching Doyle goal I had been working on for the writing course was to encourage students to see study of the past as a way of engaging diversity. To study the distant past is an encounter with diversity; it always involves an experience of alterity, of not being ‘at home’ in the period studied.Emily Francomano
American Civilization I
Erika Seamon designed a new module for her American Civilization I course centered entirely on three new student learning goals highlighting structural inequality and social disenfranchisement. She created opportunities for students: first, to describe instances in the American narrative where ideas considered true, normal, or natural were socially constructed; second, to identify agents, practices, and institutions that created and perpetuated social constructions; and third, to reflect on their own role in creating or perpetuating social constructions today. Through regular reflection papers, debate, and in-depth discussion, students articulated ideas that dominate American cultural narratives—particularly, the norm of the town and pastoral lifestyle of New England, and the ideal of the English goodwife. Students then explored ways that structures of power similar to those operating in the seventeenth century shape their own lives. By tracing social constructions and power dynamics from the seventeenth century to today, students were better able to understand theoretically and see in their own lives the nature and relationship between privilege and disenfranchisement in the processes that institutionalize key beliefs about American society.
Working with the cohort was helpful for gaining perspectives on a myriad of pedagogical approaches to discussing diversity with students. I like that the classes that we are teaching are so different. I appreciate that the ways that we are approaching diversity differ widely. I got a lot out of the case studies—new ideas for texts, exercises, and methods for capturing evidence of student learning.Erika Seamon
1968: Protest and Rebellion in Europe
In Anna von der Goltz's 1968: Protest and Rebellion in Europe, students discussed the historical events of 1968 from diverse perspectives.
Anna von der Goltz redesigned her proseminar, 1968: Protest and Rebellion in Europe, to focus on how different factors such as class, race, gender, political beliefs, ethnicity, and age shaped people’s experiences and perceptions of that year. Professor von der Goltz sought to have students assess “1968” from a perspective other than their own, and to evaluate critically and deconstruct various historical narratives that attempted to fix the meaning of 1968 by privileging the perspective of a particular group of participants. To accomplish this, she incorporated structured reflection activities into the course. In addition to writing regular blog posts and participating in class discussion focused on these themes, students examined the difficulties of organizing a diverse group of people in conversation with a present-day activist from Occupy DC. Throughout the course, students were challenged to think more deeply about the relationship and possible similarities between the 1960s protesters and themselves.
I discovered that history as a discipline lends itself rather well to fostering engagement with diversity, because the ‘past is a foreign country; they do things differently there’ (L. P. Hartley).Anna von der Goltz
Law and Society
Doyle Fellow Sarah Stiles focused her Law and Society course around the diversity issues embedded in several landmark Supreme Court cases.
Sarah Stiles based her Law and Society course around the idea that society creates laws and that laws in turn help create society. Building on a series of “hot topics” epitomized in landmark Supreme Court cases, Professor Stiles added a mock sexual assault trial as an avenue for students to explore empathy through experiential learning and performance. In preparation for this difficult and potentially triggering topic, students read articles, watched current news stories, and discussed issues with a campus health professional. To deepen their ability to understand experiences from other perspectives, students then had to write a decision for the case as though they were the presiding judge—ruling in favor of their opponents. In a questionnaire following the actual trial, students reflected on definitions of justice and explored ways in which the trial system disadvantages those with fewer means. For their final projects, students created a “You Need to Know This!” series of short videos explaining to fellow Millennials why they needed to know about certain key legal topics related to diversity.
The Conversation on Race and Ethnicity: A Struggle for Authenticity
Betsi Stephen centered her course, The Conversation on Race and Ethnicity: A Struggle for Authenticity, on the structural and historical reasons why diversity is represented so differently in the narrative of European Union countries than that of the United States. Professor Stephen devised experiential teaching strategies to immerse students in the controversial issues confronting both the EU and US today. In order to “feel the sting” of anti-immigrant discourse, her students performed an in-class play about immigration in Italy. The class also participated in a weekly “EU Café” at Midnight Mug, debating cultural differences and live issues. Finally, students extended their learning to participation in public discourse, writing letters to the editor of an online European newspaper or journal in response to aspects of demography in the EU. Observing the nuance and depth of understanding in her students led Professor Stephen to adapt her Doyle course for Fall 2014 at the McGhee Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies in Alanya, Turkey.
Introduction to Justice and Peace
Betty Andretta focused the redesign of her course, Introduction to Justice and Peace, on the topic of migration in the Persian Gulf. She created opportunities for students to consider “their own positionality and how this affects their perception of labor relations, citizenship, and belonging.” As a way to gather a starting baseline on students’ perspectives, students took a survey at the beginning of the course indicating their opinions on relevant questions and how these opinions were formed. In addition to readings, the module included two key meetings: one with other SFS-Q peers who had travelled to the Philippines to study labor migration, and a second via videoconference with Professor Marilyn McMorrow’s class based at the Georgetown campus. Students also engaged in a role-playing exercise about the controversial kafala (sponsorship) migration system, with each student adopting the perspective of a key stakeholder. Finally, students revisited their responses to the earlier survey and discussed whether and how their perspectives had changed as a result of their learning experiences.
Human Rights in International Relations
Marilyn McMorrow designed her course, Human Rights in International Relations, to include a focus on migrant detention with the goal of heightening student awareness of how “human rights concerns make up such a part of the fabric of our daily circumstances that we do not really notice.” Professor McMorrow incorporated readings, videos, reflection, discussion, and many guest speakers—including staff from Jesuit Refugee Service/ USA, a Federal Judge on the Bench in Maricopa County, Arizona, and an undocumented Georgetown student. Students engaged in a collaborative learning project with students from Professor Betty Andretta’s class at SFS-Q who were studying issues of migration in the Qatari context. A videoconference in which students shared what they had learned gave each class new perspectives on migration and its relationship to human rights. Students then wrote reflection papers exploring how their understanding of these issues had changed, questions that they were still thinking through, and the ways in which their dispositions had been affected by their engagement in the module.
Shamans, Priests, and Healers
Marjorie Balzer’s anthropology course explored indigenous healing practices within the context of globalization to address substantive questions about social, cultural and religious diversity. After hearing from guest speakers who represented different stakeholders in the development of indigenous medicine-based pharmaceuticals, students took part in a simulated negotiation. This exercise focused on the problems and benefits of today’s increasing interconnectedness and raised students’ awareness of their own connection to others across the globe. Additionally, students took a field trip to the National Museum of the American Indian in part to try and see how the museum expresses native self-conceptions. They also studied the “radical empathy” practices of Puerto Rican women healers who temporarily take on the pains or illnesses of their clients. Students then experimented with radical empathy themselves as they researched and role-played the experiences of vulnerable individuals in contemporary society.
“I learned an enormous amount from interaction with my ‘cohort’—teaching techniques, ideas for creative assignments, and about enhancing awareness of diversity in all its forms. These can and should be synergistic. Drawing on recurring themes, I was continually reminded of the importance of being more self-conscious about the narrative frameworks we are using as we teach...”Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer
Visual Ethnography: Expanding Our Fields of Knowledge and (In)Sight
While creating ethnographic videos, Laurie King's Visual Ethnography students analyzed their own roles as both observer and participants and what that means for engaging with a community as an initial outsider.
Laurie King redesigned her Visual Ethnography course to encourage students to think more critically and reflexively about “diversity” and “the other”—not as pre-existing monolithic categories or entities, but rather to see the multiple perspectives that are already part and parcel of their lives as university students in Washington, DC. The course used the process of making an ethnographic film as the basis for course discussion. Then, readings, class activities, and other assignments were integrated accordingly. Producing a film allowed students to see the direct connection between their own experiences and some of the animating questions in anthropology that the course considered. In particular, they gained a sense of the difference between observation and participation and the way one’s degree of participation in a community practice shapes their own and others’ experiences. This understanding is critical not just to producing a rigorous ethnography, but also to understanding both the possibilities and limits of seeing others from one’s own perspective.
"The Doyle program gave me valuable opportunities to engage with my students in new ways, to share ideas and concerns with colleagues, and to question a lot of my own assumptions about teaching in general, and teaching anthropology in particular."Laurie King
Children with Disabilities
Toby Long redesigned her Doyle Course, Children with Disabilities, to help students see both the category of disability and those with disabilities as an element of diversity in human experience rather than as a kind of illness requiring accommodation. Concretely, this impacted students’ thinking about how to design classroom teaching for a universal audience and prepared students for challenges in implementing contemporary teaching practices. In addition to creating activities and emphasizing discussion points that reinforced disability as a characteristic of diversity, Professor Long used written reflections and coding of student comments at the beginning and conclusion of the semester in order to track students’ shifts in perspectives on disability. Not only did she measure significant shifts, she likewise observed that students developed an increased understanding of the ways in which disability is constituted by both the context and the specific characteristics of a given individual.
"From a teaching perspective, involvement in Doyle and the accountability it required also helped me, even subconsciously, to create activities or stress discussion points that reinforced disability as a characteristic of diversity."Toby Long
US Latino/a Drama and Performance
Christine Evans designed her course to examine the complexities of ethnic identity in the creative work of Latino/a artists. Her Doyle goal concerned personal identity, and students continually reflected on how their own lives are always shaped in dialogue with specific cultural communities. They also grappled with the ‘constructed’ nature of ethnic identity and considered societal tendencies to understand others’ identities that way, but to view one’s own as ‘neutral’ or unconstructed. To deepen and personalize these themes, Evans developed assignments partnering students with classmates for interdisciplinary dialogue or to apply cultural contexts to the analysis of plays. Students also engaged each other on a dynamic class blog. In a particularly imaginative assignment, everyone brought objects significant to their personal identity to class and described how the objects related to their own cultural communities. Through consistent opportunities for students to connect their lives to course content, Professor Evans highlighted the role of identity—and the clusters of communities and relationships that shape that identity—as central to artistic, academic, and personal endeavors.
The primary gifts and surprises of the experience were in realizing how absolutely tied pedagogy and supporting diversity are—and that to work on one means to address the other.Christine Evans
Culture and Identities
One goal for Sylvia Önder’s Culture and Identities course was for her Georgetown students to grapple with themes of difference outside of those students might more commonly engage, such as racism and sexism. To do this, she oriented the course around engaging with deaf students at Gallaudet University. Building on a previous case study from her Medical Anthropology course, Professor Önder created numerous opportunities for her students to interact with Deaf culture. Videoconferences with students at Gallaudet University focused on cross-cultural communication. Students also created five one-minute “personal identity videos” to share with the class. Additionally, Georgetown students partnered with Gallaudet students for assigned group work. Professor Önder saw this joint-work as a critical moment, especially as her own students experienced culture shock, which became a fruitful issue to explore in class discussion. Students were challenged to encounter diversity through the group work and exercises from the perspective of the “hearing world.” Ultimately, the commonalities of college experience served to build a bridge between cultures.
When I promote the Doyle Faculty Fellowship to colleagues across the university, I stress the importance of the cohort meetings as places where like-minded faculty can have meaningful cross-disciplinary conversations about teaching and university goals. The f irst time I did the Doyle Fellowship, I felt that I was able to be more experimental in my pedagogy than I had ever been before. In this second Doyle experience, my class was perhaps four times as experimental—so I think the repeat experience has a compounded effect.Sylvia Önder
Writing as Translation
Sherry Linkon's Writing as Translation class employed videoconferences with university students in the Middle East.
A major feature of Sherry Linkon’s and Randy Bass’s writing class was the use of Soliya Connect—an eight- week online program that facilitated videoconferencing between their students and students in Middle Eastern universities. During the second half of the semester, students spent two hours each week in conversation with a group of approximately seven other students. These cross-cultural dialogues provided a rich experiential learning component designed to complement the course readings, class activities, and assignments—all of which examined ways that authors “translate” their ideas according to audience perspectives and expectations. In particular the writing assignments (including biography, autobiography, and technical prose) and in-class debriefs of the readings and Soliya conversations focused on the communication elements of intention, perspective, empathy, and performance. Additionally, students wrote reflection papers connecting their experiences in the Soliya conversations with other course elements and concepts. Among other benefits, this unique experiential learning component concretely immersed students in the significant challenges and hard work required for meaningful engagement in cross-cultural dialogue.
99 Problems: Writing as Problem Solving
A key question for Aaron Hanlon was how to make the issues of diversity embedded in the course content more personal and more personally relevant for his students. Concretely, this became a challenge of translation: turning unfamiliarity and difference into avenues for self- exploration when grappling with the difficulty of translating feelings and experiences from one person to another. In one exercise students translated the lyrics of artist Jay-Z’s “Most Kings” into prose. This was coupled with a post-translation reflection exercise, forcing students to grapple not only with their translations, but also the higher-order questions of what it is to translate and how context and perspective influence translation. Students were also led to contrast their subjective judgements concerning the traits of a ninth-century Japanese poet with the values they could hear that poet expressing. In exploring this contrast, students reflected on their own perspectives and the importance of context in communicating across cultural divides. This reflection in turn prepared students to offer more rigorous analyses in their longer essays.
"My experience with the faculty cohort was the primary driver of this realization about the need to defamiliarize certain terms to get beyond stock or comfortable student conceptions, and thus to pay closer attention to how the very language we give students can constrain their thinking on a concept or issue."Aaron Hanlon
Course: Neighborhoods, Poverty, and Inequality in D.C.
Brian McCabe's Doyle course examined sociological approaches to studying neighborhoods and poverty using Washington, D.C. as a case study. Students who chose to do the optional community-based learning component of the course reinforced the learning in the classroom by sharing their experiences working at area organizations serving the D.C. community. Professor McCabe worked to weave the community and classroom experiences together through a series of critical and reflective essay assignments focused on diversity. These assignments not only encouraged students to bring an analytical eye to the community work, but also brought their community-based learning experiences into conversation with the scholarly approaches they had studied in class leading to deeper engagement in both areas. The rich conversations that emerged in the classroom made Professor McCabe appreciate anew students' valuable insights and perspectives.
Course: Intro to Justice and Peace: Non-Violent Theory and Practice
Students in Eli McCarthy's course could also choose to participate in a community-based learning component organized by the Center for Social Justice, working with disadvantaged and underserved populations in the local community. Furthermore, in the Doyle redesign of the course, Professor McCarthy implemented a conflict transformation group project based on techniques developed for the Theater of the Oppressed movement, which uses role-playing to analyze and re-imagine conflict situations. Each student chose a conflict situation from his or her past that had not ended positively and wrote a personal reflection about it. Then, in the "discernment groups" with which they had worked since the beginning of the course, they reenacted the scenes, using physical positions and movement to focus on each party's emotions. During a second reenactment of each scenario, classmates were able to stop the conflict at any moment and physically jump in to change the course of action through nonviolent intervention. Compared to their original reflections on the conflict situations, students' final reflections showed evidence of a more complex understanding of their own and the other parties' feelings. The empathy students developed as well as the ability to see more, wiser ways to potentially transform conflict situations, supported Professor McCarthy's hypothesis that learning is as much an affective and bodily undertaking as an intellectual process.
Breaking up our routines of teaching with these types of 'reflective interruptions' offered by Doyle provides a way to shift our horizons of imagination, and thus our person and our teaching.Eli McCarthy
Courses: Literary History II · Spanish-American Literature Survey, 1800-Present
In an effort to highlight for his students the "contested nature" of the field of literary history, Brian Hochman developed what he calls a "Rashomon-style" syllabus—a reference to Akira Kurosawa's 1950 movie in which the story of a single incident is told many times over from different perspectives. Rather than examining works of literature chronologically, students "read across time," revisiting the same periods three times as they reflected on three themes that were particularly important in modern English literature: the histories and legacies of slavery and colonialism; the modern self and its relationship to language, culture, and society; and the workings of human history and memory. The revamping of the syllabus supported Professor Hochman's goals to unsettle the established narrative of literary history and to deal with problems of exclusion that often come with the content pressures of a survey course. In addition, Professor Hochman developed three experimental assignments in which his students discussed literary texts alongside their contemporary cultural sources, adapted passages from one writer in the style of another writer, and developed their own syllabi for a literary history course. He credits the new assignments with leading to students' deeper and more substantial engagement with the material.
[The Doyle Program was] instrumental in helping me achieve this level of pedagogical success in my teaching, and for that I am immensely grateful.Brian Hochman
Like Professor Hochman, Tania Gentic also chose to abandon the traditional chronological structure of her Spanish American Literature II course in favor of a thematicapproach. Specifically, she opted to emphasize how the themes of identity and diversity play out in the literature of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century Latin America. As she explained, "My goal was for students to recognize how literature responds to social issues, and how certain political, as well as literary, discourses repeat and change over time." In addition, Professor Gentic hoped to combat a tendency she saw in herself and her students to keep the larger lessons of diversity issues at a distance by intellectualizing rather than personalizing them. She began modeling for students her "own relationships to the topics" of study to demonstrate the possibility of personal connections to the material. Another important pedagogical shift Professor Gentic made was to slow down the pace of the course, letting go of some readings she had previously considered essential in order to make room for more conversation, deeper understanding of the main ideas, and chances for students to see how those ideas related to their own lives.
Course: The Question of Equality: Literature and Political Theory in Africa and the West
Two fellows, Samantha Pinto and Lahra Smith, joined the Doyle faculty fellows cohort intending to focus on a course they developed together as part of a grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities Enduring Questions program. Professors Pinto and Smith taught the course, The Question of Equality: Literature and Political Theory in the West and Africa, in back-to-back semesters in the 2012-2013 academic year. Each approached the course from the perspective of her disciplinary expertise—for Sam, literature, for Lahra, political science—and because their courses were listed in their respective departments, they drew in students with different strengths and interests.
For her Doyle redesign efforts, Professor Pinto developed a teaching and assessment strategy that could make the most of the interdisciplinary richness of the course—history and political science, Western views and African studies, literary and policy perspectives. She realized the importance of structuring assignments deliberately, modeling the sorts of thinking and writing she hopes students will do, and sequencing steps of the assignments to gradually build students' competencies.
There are relatively few if any forums for sharing pedagogical approaches and it was inspiring to discuss how people teach different subjects. I think it will make me a more adventuresome and creative teacher, and in fact it already has.Lahra Smith
For Professor Smith, seeing students distance themselves from the ethical issues discussed in her classes has been a recurring challenge. As a Doyle fellow, she crafted a writing assignment that asked students to consider the international cut-flower industry at analytical and ethical levels. She purposely structured the assignment to encourage students to think about their involvement in the industry as flower purchasers in addition to considering the theoretical sources they had read as a class. According to both Professor Pinto and Professor Smith, their experiences as Doyle faculty fellows generated a renewed enthusiasm for teaching.
Course: Gender, Labor, and Development
After consulting with the Doyle faculty cohort, Fida Adely crafted two new assignments for her Gender, Labor, and Development seminar to encourage students to reach greater depth in their analytical writing. In two short paper assignments, she asked students to consider the dynamics of gender and labor in two different contexts. In the first analysis, students looked at an international development document focused on issues of labor. In the second paper, students examined gender-labor dynamics in works of literature and film. Professor Adely found that these new assignments, especially the second analysis, drew students into an even more complex engagement with the subject matter than her previous experiences with the course.
Monica Arruda de Almeida chose to emphasize issues of global citizenship in her Doyle course with the aim of "better alerting students to the professional and cultural challenges they are likely to deal with in their careers ahead." She brought in guest speakers who could address what it is like to work in development in Latin America and assigned weekly blog posts in which students used current events to unpack dense economic theories, adding new energy to the course.
Course: Health Care Quality Internship
Course: Problem of God
For her Doyle course, Kerry Danner-McDonald's primary goals were to build "cultural competency" and to help students recognize the impact of religion on their lives, regardless of personal religious affiliations or beliefs. To that end, she diversified the course content, including new units on U.S. indigenous spiritualities and on Islam. She also began the semester with an interactive group quiz about religious beliefs and practices. This activity gave Professor Danner-McDonald a sense of students' prior knowledge. More importantly, it also allowed students to see that everyone in the class, regardless of background, had much to learn about the subject. After the quiz and follow-up discussion, Professor Danner-McDonald noticed that students dove into the course with greater confidence and openness than she had experienced in past semesters.
Course: Advanced Portuguese Conversation
Michael Ferreira concentrated his Doyle redesign efforts on his Advanced Portuguese Conversation course, which centers around video chat exchanges through the Teletandem program between language learners at Georgetown and students in Brazil who are native Portuguese speakers. Beyond improving GU students' Portuguese-language skills, the primary learning goal of the course, Professor Ferreira also sought to push students towards more complex understandings of diversity and culture through their interactions with their Brazilian counterparts. He was particularly interested in challenging his students to explore stereotypes, reflecting on how they see others as well as how they are seen by others. Professor Ferreira was pleased with the results of his Doyle redesign and he is confident that he and his students will continue to reap benefits from his year as a Doyle fellow for years to come.
Course: Motherhood: Representations
Reflecting on her previous experience of teaching Reading Motherhood, Pamela Fox identified two main goals for her Doyle course students: harnessing their personal views on motherhood to help engage with the subject from an academic perspective and broadening their awareness of the diversity of worldwide approaches to motherhood, including international surrogacy and transnational adoption. Professor Fox added a journal assignment and, with her co-instructor Professor Elizabeth Velez, revised the syllabus to incorporate more global perspectives from the start. Professor Fox felt these changes enabled students to reflect on the subject in more sophisticated ways than in semesters past.
Course: African-Americans in Washington, D.C.
Course: The Death Penalty - BALS (Summer 2012)
In this diversity-focused course on an already controversial subject, Sara Schotland challenged her students to critically evaluate the different ethical arguments involved in policy decisions relating to the death penalty. In particular, she asked students to pay attention to how the practice disproportionately affects minority, poor, and other marginalized communities in the U.S. Professor Schotland plans to "Doylify" all her future Georgetown courses, applying what she learned from her students and her faculty fellow colleagues during her Doyle year.
Course: Feminist Theology
Lauve Steenhuisen's Doyle course, Feminist Theology as Lived Religion, focused on foundational feminist theological principles with a goal of "linking feminist theology to those who live it out daily." She hoped students would see how feminist theology grows out of individual and communal experiences, and that understanding those experiences involves carefully listening to diverse voices. Professor Steenhuisen also encouraged students to recognize their own voices and take ownership of their points of view so that they would see the contributions they, too, could make to feminist theology.
Course: Ethnography of Communication
Anna Marie Trester pushed her students to probe the sources of their understanding, asking how they know what they know as members of a given community. Borrowing the practice of "participant observation" from anthropology, she assigned students to sit in both familiar and unfamiliar settings, including the student centers at both Georgetown and Gallaudet University, and to observe the communication practices in each. Professor Trester asked students to reflect on their feelings as insiders or outsiders in each setting. Her goal was to help students to "cultivate vulnerability," that is, to become skilled at working at the edges of their comfort zones, so they might develop the capacity to inquire and learn even in situations in which they are uncomfortable.
Course: Modern Art in Asia
Michelle Wang redesigned her course on the introduction of Asian art to the West with the aim of challenging some of the biases toward Euro-American art that she had observed in students in the past. To address this goal, she implemented weekly course blog assignments where students alternated between responding to the readings and commenting on their classmates' posts. The students' engagement on the blog contributed to a supportive classroom atmosphere, fostered richer in-class conversations, and helped students draw connections between and among the different topics throughout the semester.
Course: Humanities and Writing: Writing for a Cause
For his Doyle redesign, Dennis Williams chose his Georgetown Community Scholars course, a freshman seminar for a class of ethnically diverse, first-generation college students who had previously studied with him during a five-week residential summer term. Professor Williams asked his students to create group multimedia presentations to analyze historical, cultural, political, and sociological issues in the professor's own novel, Crossover, a story set in 1969 about a young man trying to find his way as one of the first generation of blacks attending an Ivy League school. Students later wrote reflection essays discussing their learning in the course and their exploration of what Professor Williams described as "our own place in the American process: where we have come from, what it means to be at Georgetown, and what place (if any) we seek to occupy in the landscape and the imagination of this country."
The 2011–12 Faculty Fellows cohort included 17 faculty from across the university. While this year’s fellows followed the examples of earlier cohorts in redesigning their courses in order to deepen their students’ engagement with issues related to diversity, we also found ourselves addressing the question of the Program’s ongoing impact.
We were moved to address this question in large part because many of the Year 3 fellows joined the program after encouragement from former fellows. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm of fellows from the first two years give birth to the experiences of many of this year’s cohort, and encouraging to see evidence that the program is having an impact beyond the cohort of any particular year. One of the resounding themes of our conversations with both current and former fellows is some version of the statement that “My approach to issues of diversity in the classroom has been changed. It seems that every course I’m teaching now is a Doyle course.” Even beyond this, fellows report that they find new energy for teaching in their year of conversations with other faculty.– John Rakestraw
Course: Jazz History
For the revision of his Jazz History course, Ben Harbert wanted to create opportunities for his students to make connections between their personal experiences at Georgetown and some of the major influences of jazz music. Harbert found that students feel considerable pressures around conformity and individualism, and struggle with issues related to stereotypes, self-esteem, and collaboration. Since these are also issues that have been a part of the history of jazz, Harbert developed assignments and readings to try to draw out these common themes.
The major change Harbert made to address his Doyle goals was the addition of student group performances. Three times during the semester, students worked in groups to arrange and perform their own music, and then wrote a reflection paper about the performance. The groups were formed according to their musical backgrounds. Some groups had jazz performance experience; some had musical but no jazz performance experience; and some had no musical experience at all. Harbert found that the process of preparing and performing their own music was powerful for all of the students, regardless of prior musical experience.
"I used this opportunity to take some risks, which put me in a somewhat similar situation as my students, many of whom had never performed music in front of an audience."Ben Harbert
In the paper, students were asked to reflect on the performance and how the experience connected with issues related to Georgetown and to American society more broadly. This experimental reflective exercise helped students see connections between music and wider social phenomena. Several students reflected on the idea that musical collaboration requires trust. The performance assignment thrust students into a situation where they had to depend on each other and work together, regardless of similarities and differences, which led them to question stereotypes. Students were surprised by what they learned about one another in this context.
Students understood through their own experiences that music, and especially jazz, is entangled in human relationships, and can therefore become a particular way of examining many contemporary social issues. Perhaps more importantly, their experiences with their performance groups also gave them new ways of thinking of themselves and their peers.
Course: Early Modern Spanish Theater
Longtime Georgetown professor Barbara Mujica focused her redesign efforts on her Early Modern Spanish Theater course, an upper-level Spanish course that examines plays from 16th- and 17th-century Catholic Spain. Even though Mujica had taught this course several times previously, this time around she decided to completely reorganize her approach to the course materials. Instead of introducing the plays chronologically, she took a thematic approach that brought to the fore questions of difference. Focusing on themes rather than the chronological evolution of Spanish theater helped students see the ways in which theater both perpetuated and subverted the status quo of early modern Spain.
Mujica’s course also pushed students to consider the parallels between early modern Spanish society and society today. As a result of her Doyle redesign, Mujica says that her students “became more aware of diversity in their own lives and more sensitive to how marginalized elements of society are portrayed in the media today.”
"I am grateful that the Doyle Program nudged me out of my comfort zone and forced me to rethink my teaching objectives and strategies."Barbara Mujica
The challenge Mujica and her students faced throughout the semester was how to consider the plays respectfully in spite of the chasm between the plays’ worldview and the worldview of students today. As Mujica puts it, “[t]he moral values that governed early modern Spain were in some ways very different from our own. [They] did not exalt tolerance or strive for diversity … The moral question we must consider as educators is: How do we judge a culture whose values we find distasteful without adopting the same biased position we condemn in them?”
Course: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
You-me Park has taught Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies every semester for the last eight years. Based on this depth of experience, Park focused her redesign efforts on what she viewed to be an essential change: to strengthen students’ ability to discuss gender and sexual issues in ways that recognize other identity dynamics also at play, such as race or class issues. Park was especially interested in pushing her students to incorporate socioeconomic class as a category of analysis, because students seemed least practiced in doing so.
With this in mind, Park introduced several new assignments. For each week’s post-reading analysis, students were asked to address several questions about socioeconomic class. During oral presentations, students were required to include critical reflection on their own identity positions in relationship to the materials on which they presented. Park asked that student blog posts analyzing 2012 electoral politics pay special attention to issues of class and economic inequality. Lastly, Park asked that students articulate a class-sensitive approach to their final paper research proposals.
"I hope to find more ways to encourage students to develop critical faculty for parsing social structures, recognize their own investments in those structures, and pursue ways to create a more just and equitable world for all."You-me Park
Park found that these approaches not only deepened her students’ understanding of how class issues interact with those of gender, race, and sexuality, but also helped them begin to recognize these complexities in their own lives and in events in the larger world. She plans to include similar assignments when she teaches this course in the future.
Course: Introduction to Critical Geography
Shiloh Krupar concentrated the redesign of her critical geography course on diversifying her own pedagogical approach in order to push her students to engage more deeply with the diversity already present in the subject matter of the class.
Krupar began by replacing the weekly written reflections she had always required of students with an assignment to create one-page concept maps, which pushed students to synthesize class readings, key ideas, and debates in nonlinear ways. The result was a weekly collection of student maps demonstrating diverse ways to organize and engage with the same body of information. Her students found the exercise demanding in its call for rigorous synthesis of the course materials, but also rewarding, particularly because it was open to creative approaches and helped them appreciate their own group’s diverse ways of learning.
Another major revision for Krupar was the inclusion of a new pedagogical tactic she calls “unsettling” pedagogy. In the first part of the course, through selected readings and exercises, Krupar built an expectation among her students that simple geographical connections made between identity and territory—i.e. that identity can simply be mapped as dots on a two-dimensional x-y grid—are always problematic and necessarily contribute to systems of inequality. However, to further challenge her students, later in the semester, Krupar presented a lecture and case study that broke down this same assumption. She utilized these linked categories of identity and territory—the same categories the class had extensively critiqued—in order to show how they might be put to work to counter existing inequalities.
"I learned that students really need—and appreciate—opportunities to reflect on their experiences … and to develop subjective experiences into more formal questions and projects."Shiloh Krupar
While the students found the 180-degree-turn unsettling, by the end of the semester many referred back to this “switch” as an important turning point in their understanding of critical geography. Students indicated that the shift had helped them to understand how categories—while never innocent constructions—can be put to work in order to show something in a new way and, possibly, to make an argument for change.
Course: The Poetry and Culture of Washington, D.C.
For her Doyle curriculum infusion project, Libbie Rifkin targeted her Humanities and Writing course on The Poetry and Culture of Washington, D.C. Her first-year students, who came from Georgetown’s Community Scholars program, represented racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. These students had spent the previous summer on campus getting acclimated to college life. For her Doyle course, Rifkin hoped to capitalize on the tight bond formed among her students over the summer to foster peer-to-peer teaching and learning.
Rifkin set out to create the conditions that would allow her students to help each other. Feeling like her teaching style had become too “top-down,” Rifkin sought ways “to disseminate authority, particularly with respect to developing ideas for papers.” Her redesign efforts centered on blog assignments that asked students to mentor one another as writers. While she found that her students still needed significant guidance from her during the paper-writing process, Rifkin was impressed with the quality of their informal writing on the blog and found that her new approach led to “far better, richer, and more carefully thought through [writing] than in previous semesters.”
"…the motivation for my Doyle project was to find ways to get out of the way and enable students to teach each other more effectively."Libbie Rifkin
The blogging assignment also allowed Rifkin to tap into her students’ personal experiences by providing a forum that bridged analytical and reflective writing. Through the blog, students were able to see how their experiences differed from their classmates’. Ultimately, this diversity of perspective became the basis of their writing practice as they used the blog interaction with peers to bring their own writing into better focus.
Course: Problem of God
In teaching Problem of God in the past, Ben Bogin has struggled to get students to recognize the role of personal commitments in their understanding of religion without letting these commitments become obstacles to learning about other perspectives. For his Doyle course revision, Bogin demonstrated to his students how scholars apply theories to the study of religion. He asked students to attend religious events representing unfamiliar traditions and to interpret them by applying the theories of religion they had studied in class. In the end, Bogin was pleased with the outcomes of the new approach and found that students were able to engage with the subject matter with greater clarity and depth than in previous semesters.
Course: Introduction to Buddhism
After teaching Introduction to Buddhism for twenty years, Francisca Cho decided to redesign her course in order to promote student engagement with contemporary Buddhist ethical and political dilemmas. Through a collaborative learning project at the end of the term, student teams explored how traditional Buddhist thought could be utilized to address modern problems, such as abortion and end-of-life questions, the issues surrounding the Dalai Lama and Tibet, and Japanese Zen nationalism during the second World War. The team strategy allowed Cho to restructure her own methods of assessment, and she believes that her current model better measures and rewards skills developed throughout her course as opposed to skills students already possessed at the beginning of her course.
Course: Culture and Psychopathology
David Crystal set out to transform the structure of his course, Culture and Psychopathology, to create more opportunities for students to engage personally with the diverse ways culture shapes the understanding of mental illness. His first pedagogical change shifted class meetings away from lectures and engaged individual student learning processes through small group discussions aimed at turning students into critical consumers of scientific information. Class meetings later in the semester transitioned to a debate format with two teams presenting opening arguments, followed by active discussion. Crystal credits the Doyle redesign process with bringing an unprecedented level of energy and understanding to an already innovative course topic.
“This course was an ideal intersection of my majors in Psychology and Spanish and minor in Justice and Peace studies. I enjoyed the Doyle aspect of the course and the emphasis on diversity and real life application. I would recommend a Doyle course to other students in the future.”Student, Culture and Psychopathology
Course: The Other: Immigrant Integration in North America and Europe
Elzbieta Gozdziak wanted to challenge her students to think critically and comparatively about the meanings of difference, identity, and belonging. Drawing on discussions with other Doyle Faculty Fellows, she designed several assignments that required students to apply theoretical frameworks to new contexts—for example, she asked students to write policy briefs on immigration topics and to analyze works of fiction depicting the immigrant experience. Students found these assignments to be engaging, and Gozdziak in turn was surprised by the diverse perspectives that students brought to class discussions.
Course: Arab History on Film
In her course Arab History on Film, Natalie Khazaal screened a number of films and assigned readings connected with them to highlight larger historical trends. This complement of assignments led students to evaluate cultural stereotypes of the other from two different perspectives: the Arab and the American. Khazaal's final assignment required students to write and cast a hypothetical film dealing with similar issues to those presented in class. The assignment design pushed students to acquire the tools necessary to deal with stereotypes that are both perpetuated by and aimed at members of their own communities.
Course: Survey of Spanish American Literature II
In revising her Spanish American literature survey, Kirkpatrick set out to help students develop a deep appreciation of the diversity among and within Latin American culture groups. Her hope was that in recognizing Latin American diversity through literary and historical case studies, students would be better equipped to appreciate the dynamics of difference at work in their own lives. One opportunity for discussing parallels between Latin American diversity and the lives of students arose when the class read an article on castes in Spanish colonial America. What ensued was a rich discussion among students about the social divisions that exist on Georgetown's campus today. In turn, this helped students reflect back on the historical world of Latin America and recognize the complexity of the questions about diversity that Kirkpatrick introduced.
Course: High-Intermediate Reading & Writing, English as a Foreign Language
Jennifer Lubkin wanted to expose her international students to different perspectives and to help them develop critical thinking skills, as preparation for eventual success in U.S. university programs. The students engaged with local Deaf culture through a reading assignment (the memoir Deaf in D.C. by Madan Vasishta), a discussion with the author, events at Georgetown's DiversABILITY Forum, and a field trip to Gallaudet University. Lubkin was gratified to be able to share in an authentic learning experience with her students, as she herself gained a new perspective on Deaf culture.
Course: Theatre Practicum
With the encouragement she received from the Doyle program, Susan Lynskey developed a new model for her Theatre Practicum course, in which she took an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional approach that brought together students from Georgetown and Gallaudet University. Together, students from Georgetown and Gallaudet created the original play Visible Impact, the centerpiece of Georgetown's 2011 DiversABILITY Forum. The play highlighted the perspectives of Deaf and disabled persons and their interactions with others. The final production was performed with both hearing and Deaf audiences in mind and took a "total communication" approach in which all scenes were voiced, signed, and subtitled simultaneously.
Georgetown & Gallaudet students perform together in Doyle faculty fellow Susan Lynskey's play Visible Impact.
Course: Play Analysis
In her Play Analysis course, Nadia Mahdi wanted to equip her students with the critical tools to engage with plays ranging from Greek tragedy to modern works, and to reflect on the complex societal issues they bring to light. Inspired by her Doyle colleagues, she experimented with a number of strategies to vary class discussions, such as beginning class with brief writing exercises to spark conversation. She found that letting go of her instinct to control the classroom allowed students to bring the diversity of their experiences into the classroom, and that framing the course in terms of students' ethical and social roles as analysts empowered them to speak more authoritatively about the ideas presented in the plays.
"The content was very applicable in a surprising way to my life and my other classes. I really enjoyed the class and found myself thinking about the themes of the plays in relation to the world around me."Student, Play Analysis
Course: Molecular Gastronomy
In this new course, Jennifer Swift set out to build students' capacity to think scientifically using food as a case study, and in the spirit of the Doyle program, she also wanted to increase student awareness about socioeconomic issues related to food. Swift introduced students to the chemistry of food through a series of lectures and in-class demonstrations. Guest speaker Michael Curtin of the community organization, D.C. Central Kitchen, and a field trip exercise that asked students to compare grocery stores in different neighborhoods inspired students to think about the economics of food availability, quality, and diversity. All of these activities prepared students for the final project of presenting a proposal for a new restaurant, taking into account location, cuisine type, and the chemical processes that occur during food preparation. This assignment showcased students' intellectual creativity and allowed Swift to assess student learning in a new way that went beyond the traditional chemistry exam.
Course: Witches in History, Literature, and Film
In Astrid Weigert's course on witches, she assigned historical texts often prove challenging for students. This year, Weigert asked students to post reactions on a course blog, focusing on the idea of "constructing and reacting to difference." She found that students not only moved beyond simply summarizing the texts; they were also able to engage more deeply with the idea of the other. Weigert also invited representatives from Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs to visit her class to talk about religious diversity at Georgetown. Students were interested to learn about the Center's work and several of them have pursued further involvement with the Center.
Course: Ethics and Ecology
In this new course on Ethics and Ecology, Diane Yeager assigned readings that exposed students to the environmental concerns of authors representing Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Exploring these diverse perspectives helped students see what different communities have at stake in addressing environmental concerns. Students shared comments on these readings with one another online and discussed them as a class. While this assignment may have raised as many questions as answers for Yeager and her students, she hopes that the exposure to different ideas will inspire students to explore these perspectives further.
As Doyle Faculty Fellows, Georgetown professors commit to redesigning a course in order to foster active student engagement with difference and the diversity of human experience. As the profiles below demonstrate, the 2010-2011 Faculty Fellows approached the challenge of creating a Doyle Initiative course in different and creative ways.
Introduction to Medical Anthropology
In her Medical Anthropology course, Sylvia Önder wanted to push students to think about difference in new ways. Specifically, she focused on the experiences of those with “diverse abilities” and of students who are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Önder organized the course around two new pedagogical strategies: “embodied experiences” and anonymous posts to the class website. The embodied experiences presented students with tasks that forced them to move outside their comfort zones through a series of “dramatic enactments.” Activities ranged from transgressing social norms like eye contact, to taking on a “disability” and observing how it impacts one’s interactions on campus, to participating in a mini boot camp to simulate the physical and mental conditioning of student veterans. The anonymous assignments were designed to give students the opportunity to share their honest reactions to their experiences without worrying about how their thoughts would be perceived by the professor or their classmates. These posts as well as student reflection essays revealed the impact the Doyle approach had on student experiences in the course. Önder believes that communicating the Doyle-inspired goals of the course with her students was essential to deepening their engagement with the theme of diversity. In her words, “This made it possible to go much farther in one semester than the normal approach, and made students feel alert to differences and similarities between themselves and others in the class.”
An Issues Approach to Biology
Maria Donoghue integrated the Doyle approach into her course through a unit analyzing the issue of sexual orientation from a neurobiological perspective. Considering the biological bases of sexual orientation invited students to think about the ways that neurobiology affects behavior and raised broader questions about the relationship between nature and nurture in human life. From a social perspective, it inspired reflection on the stereotypes and biases associated with sexual orientation.
Drawing on neurobiology majors as peer-educators, Donoghue invited students to consider the interplay of biological and environmental factors impacting sexual orientation. The neurobiology majors had spent the semester studying sexual orientation in detail in their senior capstone seminar, and through a series of articles, lectures, and small-group discussions, these student-experts assisted course participants as they explored the issue for themselves. In the end, by analyzing the current scholarly understanding of sexual orientation, course participants came to see the “inherent uncertainty” underlying this and other scientific discussions.
Bringing these two student groups together created a diverse learning community made up of individuals with varying levels of expertise and engagement in scientific subjects. Donoghue reported that this had the effect of exposing the non-science majors to diverse ways of thinking while also giving the neurobiology majors a sense of authority as budding scientific specialists. She also found not only that focusing on such a controversial topic helped make the course more relevant to student interests, but also that the depth of student engagement with the specific issue of sexual orientation enriched their growing scientific intelligence overall.
Comparative History of the U.S. and South Africa
In her course, Meredith McKittrick introduced her students to the complexities of historical analysis and, in particular, to the ways in which historical narratives shape our understanding of current realities.
Two related assignments formed the core of the Doyle element in the class. In the first, students were given a collection of images from the civil rights movements in the United States and South Africa and asked to identify which country was depicted. Students generally were unable to identify them accurately, and their responses opened up the diversity of understandings of the two countries and also gradually revealed the way in which historical narratives shape contemporary understanding.
In the second assignment, McKittrick asked each student to bring to class two or three images that challenged the predominant narrative about the civil rights movement in each of the two countries. Most students in the class brought images that demonstrated the complexities of the current situation, complexities that are masked by the fairly common triumphalist view that racial difference no longer matters. Students admitted their discomfort with this realization, and the lively classroom discussion that followed was evidence of how deeply they engaged in this assignment.
McKittrick says that these assignments focusing on images are rather different from her usual text-based assignments. While she was concerned that course revisions that made room for and supported these two assignments might compromise students’ understanding of the broader historical context, she found that students generally were able to do the historical work she expected them to do, in part because the directness of their work with the images made the history more real.
Survey of Latino Literature
The themes of diversity and difference are not new to Ricardo Ortíz’s Latino Literature course. However, one change that he introduced specifically as a Doyle component influenced his experience of the course in a way that he did not expect.
One challenge he has faced in teaching the course is that students often want to find themselves in the material they are reading. That in itself would not be a problem; however, he has found that student inclinations to see course material as “all about them” have made it difficult for him to maintain the appropriate level of intellectual rigor. In the spring of 2011, he found a structured way for students to bring the diversity of their lives into their coursework. Specifically, he asked each student to supplement one of the three assigned papers with an ungraded reflection on how the Latino experiences depicted in the course readings related to his or her personal experiences in Latino (and other) communities outside the classroom.
Ortíz reported that he really did not expect the impact these student reflections had on him as an instructor. To use his own words, “The window that the Doyle reflection element opened for me into the lives of the very diverse group of students in my class really reset my own sense of how much more there remained for me to learn about them in ways that very directly and positively influenced my teaching.” Ortíz’s experience is an important reminder that much of the diversity of any classroom comes from the variety of perspectives brought by students to the course. He is now exploring ways of bringing these personal encounters with material into the course so that students learn more about the rich diversity in the classroom around them.
Law and Society
In revising her Law and Society course, Sarah Stiles undertook a dramatic curriculum infusion experiment aimed at integrating Doyle Initiative values into all aspects of the course. In the first part of the course, students analyzed landmark Supreme Court decisions from the 20th century with issues of tolerance and diversity at their core. Later in the semester, Stiles asked students to research and teach their classmates about current “hot topics” that continue to test the limits of inclusion in the U.S. today. This activity allowed students to explore issues in detail that they found interesting and relevant to their lives and to their communities.
Stiles found that infusing Doyle values into her course so thoroughly led to a richer experience of diversity for students than if she had dedicated only a specific unit of the class to addressing the theme. Over the course of the semester, students participated in high-level discussions about some of the most sensitive issues in American society today. They reported that these discussions spilled out of the classroom and into their daily lives as they engaged in conversations with peers and family members.
In Stiles’s estimation, students came to her course “hungry” for opportunities to address these important issues. They left as competent and confident dialogue partners able to take part in difficult discussions without sacrificing a sense of mutual respect for their interlocutors.
Problem of God
When Clare Wilde explained to her students the Doyle-inspired focus of her Problem of God course, she did not know how they would take to the themes of diversity, empathy, and tolerance. The course took a felicitous and unexpected turn when a South Korean student asked to engage these themes by doing a presentation for the class on the religious traditions of his homeland in order to complement the Mediterranean- and Euro-influenced focus of the other course content. Following their classmate’s lead, other students subsequently jumped at the opportunity to undertake similar projects, further incorporating diversity into the heart of the class. In Wilde’s estimation, these presentations transformed the course in ways that enriched the learning experiences of the students as well as the professor.
I wanted the classroom to become a place in which students not only saw, but appreciated, the richness of the "diversity" that is present here at Georgetown.Clare Wilde
Introduction to Ethics
Alisa Carse focused on redesigning elements of her Introduction to Ethics course to build on already-central themes of respect, responsibility, and social justice. As a general education philosophy course with an average enrollment of around 200 students, this course offered the opportunity to engage a large swath of students in thinking about difference and diversity in the context of ethics early in their Georgetown careers. Carse’s redesign included readings on moral relativism and moral isolationism, guided discussions around Doyle Learning Goals, showing a documentary about the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison, and a special presentation by Staff Sgt. Colby Howard, president of the Georgetown University chapter of Student Veterans of America.
The experience reoriented me somewhat in my teaching. I'm more eager than ever to find ways of engaging my students affectively in the learning process—and more brazen in embracing this objective.Alisa Carse
In teaching her Cultural Psychology course, Yulia Chentsova Dutton has found that students often fail to recognize the impact of culture on themselves. In her Doyle revision of this course, Chentsova Dutton focused on helping students recognize the interactions between individuals and culture and how these interactions shape their own attitudes and beliefs. For example, in a unit on stereotypes, guest speaker Sapna Cheryan presented her research on computer science classrooms and gender stereotypes, helping students realize that stereotypes exist both implicitly and explicitly, and wield power not only in the minds of individuals but also in cultural and even physical environments.
[After Osama bin Laden was killed,] some students in the class spent the night outside the White House celebrating. Other students were deeply disturbed by such celebrations and were called unpatriotic by their friends for refusing to join in. We had a very productive discussion of this, with students listening to each other and applying models from the course to make sense of their behavior and attitudes. I look back on that final discussion as an indication that students were able to discuss difficult topics in an open and thoughtful way.Yulia Chentsova Dutton
Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
Nadine Ehlers has long understood that students in her course come expecting to talk about difference, but she has found that they often assume the class will focus on topics such as race, gender, and sexuality. Students are often less comfortable with examining the complexity of identity and how ideas of “normal” or “abnormal” identities are created. To push her students into this more challenging territory, Ehlers found two pedagogical strategies particularly useful—humor and shock. For example, Ehlers used photos of stereotypically masculine-looking figures to provoke discussion and then later revealed that all the figures were biologically female. The ensuing discussion successfully destabilized students’ sense of self and allowed reflection on their own assumptions, biases, and identity expectations. Through the use of such assignments, Ehlers’s students were more easily able to critically and personally invest in difficult discussions.
Race & Ethnic Relations
In her Doyle course, Leslie Hinkson created a new assignment that asked students to write an “Identity Autobiography.” Hinkson introduced the idea of difference by having students take careful note of their childhoods to theorize how race and ethnicity may have altered or influenced their fate differently. Through this exercise and others she designed for the class, Hinkson challenged students to engage with theoretical literature about race and ethnicity as well as to examine the tension between individual diversity and collective group membership.
None of my other classes has created a community of students so passionate about an issue and eager to share their newly-found perspectives.Student, Doyle Faculty Fellow course, fall 2010
Visual Sociology and Consumer Technology
Christine Schiwietz embraced her work in the Doyle Initiative as an opportunity to focus a large part of her course on the impact of new consumer technologies on society in two core areas — first, the impact of online identity construction and its larger privacy implications and second, the multi-faceted local, national, and global examination of the “Digital Divide.” Class discussions and written reflections were a significant part of the course and led students to critically examine how the development and use of new technologies can be both more inclusive and more divisive—that is, new technologies can bring more people into social and civic conversations but they can also divide society by race, ethnicity, class, and gender.
Elizabeth Hervey Stephen designed her proseminar to introduce new students in the School of Foreign Service to key issues related to immigration in the 21st century. From the start, Stephen believed the seminar’s focus on immigration made it well suited to address themes central to the Doyle Initiative, such as diversity, tolerance, inclusion, and exclusion. Through a variety of assignments, she introduced students to how these themes are addressed by scholars and challenged them to re-think popularly held conceptions of race and ethnicity in light of what they studied in class.
South Asian Politics
Through the lens of political and economic development, Matthew Rudolph’s course explored how difference has been addressed in the context of South Asia, a region renowned for its distinct ethnic, religious, and cultural communities. In shaping his course in light of the Doyle Initiative, Rudolph drew on the diversity of South Asia and of class participants to engage questions of identity, cross-cultural interaction, and tolerance.
Religion, Ethics, and International Affairs
Marilyn McMorrow’s course concentrated on religious and ethical contributions that can have a positive impact on world politics. Conscious of the range of diversity of her students and of the ways in which normative points of view can be reinforced in the classroom, McMorrow decided to utilize clicker technology to allow real-time, anonymous classroom polling. Feedback slides presenting a range of possible responses to the reading and theories were then used to prompt classroom discussions.
Adaptation and Performance of Literature
For the Doyle redesign of Natsu Onoda Power’s course, she worked to bring in issues of diversity and difference in both “overt” ways (class exercises and assignments) and more “covert” ways (guiding discussion or critiques to invite student reflection on such issues). One assignment pushed students to see their own invisible biases by developing performances around Georgetown-specific vocabulary. The post-performance discussions provoked reflection on student perceptions of themselves and others as well as on what forces of inclusion and exclusion exist in a campus community such as Georgetown.
Women's Health and Human Rights
For her Women’s Health and Human Rights course, Robin Kelley pushed students to engage with difference by designing opportunities for them to examine critical class topics from a variety of media and to experience external critics and collaborators through the integration of Wikipedia assignments. Students used the Wikipedia platform to interact with the larger world and share their scholarship with like-minded authors. For the sensitive topic of female genital mutilation, students attended a play and participated in intensive role-play exercises related to the topic. These interactive exercises challenged students not only to work together, but also to work through different perspectives on difficult topics in thoughtful and meaningful ways.