The 2011–2012 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 (Doyle Team)
Benjamin Bogin | Department of Theology | The Problem of God (THEO 001)
Francisca Cho | Department of Theology | Introduction to Buddhism (THEO 167-01)
David Crystal | Department of Psychology | Culture and Psychopathology (PSYC 353)
Elzbieta Gozdziak | Department of Anthropology | The Other: Immigrant Integration in North America and Europe (ANTH 435)
Benjamin Harbert | Department of Performing Arts | Jazz History (MUSC 116-01)
Natalie Khazaal | Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies | Arab History on Film (ARAB 320-01)
Gwen Kirkpatrick | Department of Spanish and Portuguese | Survey of Latin American Literature II (SPAN 262-01)
Shiloh Krupar | School of Foreign Service | Introduction to Critical Geography: Theory and Practice (CULP 375-01)
Jennifer Lubkin Chavez | Center for Language Education and Development | High-Intermediate Reading & Writing
Susan Lynskey | Department of Performing Arts | Deaf Performance Culture (TPST 347-01)
Nadia Mahdi | Department of Performing Arts | Play Analysis (TPST 130-02)
Barbara Mujica | Department of Spanish and Portuguese | Early Modern Spanish Theater (SPAN 446-01)
You-Me Park | Women’s and Gender Studies Program | Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (WSTP 140-01)
Libbie Rifkin | Department of English | Poetry and the Culture of Washington D.C. (ENGL 237-01)
Jennifer Swift | Department of Chemistry | Molecular Gastronomy (CHEM 023)
Astrid Weigert | Department of German | Witches in History, Literature, and Film (GERM 043)
Diane Yeager | Department of Theology | Christian Ethics and Ecology (THEO 039-01)
Faculty Fellow Profiles
Problem of God
Introduction to Buddhism
Culture and Psychopathology
“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
Institute for the Student of International Migration
The Other: Immigrant Integration in North America and Europe
“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.” — Benjamin Harbert (Performing Arts)
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.
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.
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Arab History on Film
Spanish & Portuguese
Survey of Spanish American Literature II
School of Foreign Service
Introduction to Critical Geography
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.
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.
“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 (School of Foreign Service)
Jennifer Lubkin Chavez
Center for Language and Education Development
High-Intermediate Reading & Writing, English as a Foreign Language
PHOTO: Georgetown & Gallaudet students perform together in Doyle faculty fellow Susan Lynskey’s play “Visible Impact.”
“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 in Play Analysis
Spanish & Portuguese
Early Modern Spanish Theater
“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 (Spanish & Portuguese)
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.”
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?”
Women’s and Gender Studies
Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
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.
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.
“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 (Women’s and Gender Studies)
The Poetry and Culture of Washington, D.C.
“…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 (English)
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 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.
Witches in History, Literature, and Film
Ethics and Ecology
Click here to access the full 2011-2012 Doyle Annual Report.
Return to the Faculty Fellows page.