The 2012-2013 cohort of the Doyle faculty fellows program included 16 faculty members from across the university, including a sociologist and a political scientist, theologians and literature scholars, all committed to engaging questions of diversity and teaching. As in years past, each fellow committed to redesigning a course so that themes of difference would play a central role. Each fellow brought diverse skills, knowledge, and backgrounds to the cohort, and the resulting discussions led to deeper insights into what it means to engage difference in the classroom at a place like Georgetown.
Fida Adely | School of Foreign Service | Gender, Labor, and Development
Monica Arruda De Almeida | Center for Latin American Studies | Economic Development in Latin America
Patricia Cloonan | Department of Health Systems Administration | Health Care Quality Internship
Kerry Danner-McDonald | Theology Department | Problem of God
Michael Ferreira | Department of Spanish and Portuguese | Advanced Portuguese Conversation
Pamela Fox | Department of English | Motherhood: Representations
Tania Gentic | Department of Spanish and Portuguese | Spanish-American Literature Survey, 1800-Present
Brian Hochman | Department of English | Literary History II
Maurice Jackson | Department of History | African-Americans in Washington, D.C.
Brian McCabe | Department of Sociology | Neighborhoods, Poverty, and Inequality in D.C.
Eli McCarthy | Program on Justice and Peace | Intro to Justice and Peace: Non-Violent Theory and Practice
Samantha Pinto | Department of English | The Question of Equality: Literature and Political Theory in Africa and the West
Sara Schotland | Liberal Studies Program | The Death Penalty – BALS (Summer 2012)
Lahra Smith | School of Foreign Service | The Question of Equality: Literature and Political Theory in Africa and the West
Lauve Steenhuisen | Department of Theology | Feminist Theology
Anna Marie Trester | Department of Linguistics | Ethnography of Communication
Michelle Wang | Department of Art and Art History | Modern Art in Asia
Dennis Williams | Department of English | Humanities and Writing: Writing for a Cause
Faculty Fellow Profiles
School of Foreign Service
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
Center for Latin American Studies
Economic Development in Latin America
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.
Health Systems Administration
Health Care Quality Internship
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.
Spanish & Portuguese
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.
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.
Brian Hochman & Tania Gentic
English and Spanish & Portuguese)
Literary History II · Spanish-American Literature Survey, 1800-Present
“[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 (English)
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.
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.
African-Americans in Washington, D.C.
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.
Program on Justice and Peace
Intro to Justice and Peace: Non-Violent Theory and Practice
“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 (Justice and Peace)
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.
Samantha Pinto & Lahra Smith
English and SFS
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.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.
“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 (SFS)
Liberal Studies Program
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.
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.
Anna Marie Trester
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.
Art and Art History
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.
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.”
Click here to access the full 2012-2013 Doyle Annual Report.
Return to the Faculty Fellows page.