|An educated mind is an opened mind. An opened mind is a liberal mind. Teachers don't have to intend to create liberals, it happens naturally.|
On the inside:Door's Open...
- Women's Studies Rededicated
- Links to other education stories.
- As always, the topics will be whatever you want to discuss.
|Women's Studies Rededicated|
This past spring was the 10th anniversary of our Women's Studies concentration at Bloomfield College. You will note that I said concentration and not major. here is no major in Women's Studies. The program here has basically had no home. It has been an interdisciplinary program integrated with Co-curricular Programs under the Vice-president for Student Services/Dean of Students, while simultaneously being an academic program under the Vice-president for Academic Affairs/Academic Dean, offering classes in the Humanities, Nursing, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Creative Arts and Technology. The program belongs to everyone...and no one. There is a minor in Women's Studies, offered through Social and Behavioral Sciences, even though the program has been headed by a professor of history and one of the college's personal counsellors. We have been a "Special Program". The other "Special Program" has been English as a Second Language (ESL) / Eniglish for Academic Purposes (EAP). ESL/EAP has had a budget. Women's Studies has depended upon the kindness of strangers (actually, various Friends have allotted us some money out of their budgets.
Still, it has been a pretty good program, I think, given the limitations. For the past two years we have offered a series of lunchtime presentations called Talking Women's Lives, where various members of the campus community have discussed how they got to be where we are now, but intellectually and locationally. Students participated in a World Women's March at the United Nations and created a Clotheline Project against violence towards women. A second Clothesline Project was done jointly with women in a small town in Kenya. We have supported the Kenyan women's micro-economic efforts by selling some of their production on campus. A woman from Kenya was brought to Bloomfield to obtain a degree in education at Bloomfield so that she could return to be the headmaster of newly built school. We have co-produced The Vagina Monologues with a student group, Sisters in Support, and co-sponsored projects with the Gay/Non-Gay Alliance and other campus organizations. My particular input has been as editor and now publisher of the online publication of The Labor Room (see also here, from whence there is also a link the archived editions). And we administer the Women's Studies Resource and Empowerment Center, through which has been offered other smaller programs, including a quilt-making group, a joint library with GNG Alliance, Safe Zone Training, and various other workshops. We have been Productive.
Well, we hired a new VPAA/Academic Dean. ESL/EAP has joined with Study Abroad to become the Center for Global Studies. And the Academic Dean has included Women's Studies in the budget. But there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, as Robert Heinlein taught us: we need to do some work. The program has been aperating without a clearly defined mission. With Middle States looming, we have to get our act together. First we had a meeting where we hashed out a mission statement in a couple of hours:
The Women's Studies Program exists to empower women at Bloomfield College, to correct the injustices that we face in our daily lives and to advance gender equality by developing full local and global citizenship through Women's Studies courses and grassroots student-centered activism.
The dean was duly impressed. Sister Kathleen commented after the meeting that she had never seen an administrator so openly and obviously impressed with the work done by a group of people. Of course, she did ask us what we meant by "full local and global citizenship" and how that was going to be measured.
So we had another meeting this past Thursday. The first order of business was to hire a coordinator for the program. We are pleased in my household that the person hired is my partner, although we do wish it paid more than the equivalent of an adjunct teaching one class per semester. Then we worked on the definition. It turns out that I was the only person that had actually written a definition, so we started from that and tinkered. We came up with
A full local and global citizen is an equal, active and effective participant in public life with the goal of helping human beings cooperate for the mutal benefit and advancement of all in our local environments and in our larger political and cultural structures.We proceeded with laying out the pathway to that state our students would presumably follow:
Next year's projects will focus on human trafficking.
I've presented this because the coordinating committee, of which I am a member, welcomes commentary from any source. I also am presenting it as a model for anyone who wishes to build a similar program.
|Education Round-up: I've categorized.|
Philosophy and Politics
I'll be hanging around most of the day, actively waiting for your comments (actually, I'll be working in another program, but I'm close by), so at least one person will be here to discuss whatever anyone wants to discuss.
|The Not-so-many Rules|
Every Saturday I'll post a clean slate, between 10am and 11am EST.