Doyle Faculty Fellows 2015-2016

Throughout a year of thoughtful reflection, curricular experimentation, and revision, the 2015-2016 Doyle faculty fellows worked to infuse new goals, perspectives, and pedagogies into their chosen courses, which ranged across the disciplines from STEM fields to the humanities.

Faculty Fellows

Elham AtashiJustice and Peace Studies | JUPS 271: Conflict Transformation

Lioudmila FedorovaSlavic Languages | WRIT 015: Yankees in Petrograd, Bolsheviks in New York

Diana GuelespeJustice and Peace Studies | JUPS 410: Immigration and Social Justice

Kathleen GuidrozSociology | SOCI 191: Interpersonal Violence

Sarah Stewart Johnson | SFS-STIA | STIA 227 & 228: Environmental Geoscience & Lab

Laurie KingAnthropology | ANTH 280: Urban Anthropology: Cultures of the City

Maya RothPerforming Arts | TPST 130: Play Analysis

Charlie McNelisClassics | CLSS 223: Roman Sexuality

Iwona SadowskaSlavic Languages | PLSH 102: Intermediate Polish II

Henry SchwarzEnglish | ENGL 265: Introduction to Cultural Studies

Erika SeamonAmerican Studies | AMST 204: American Civilization II: Memories, Gods, and Frontiers

Deb SivignyPerforming Arts | TPST 170: Principles of Design

Lahra SmithSFS | INAF 100: Women and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Heather Weger | Center for Language Education and Development (CLED) | ENFL 036: Intermediate Integrated Skills

Tim Wickham-CrowleySociology | SOCI 139: Race, Color, Culture

 


Faculty Fellow Profiles

Elham Atashi

Program on Justice and Peace
JUPS 271: Conflict Transformation

In Conflict Transformation, a required seminar for the Program on Justice and Peace, students learn the theory, practice, and applied skills for transforming conflicts at individual, group/institutional, and global levels. While in previous semesters students often struggled to make connections between personal conflicts and international ones, the redesigned Doyle course incorporated multiple opportunities for reflection to help students see interlinkages between types of conflict, as well as efforts toward conflict transformation. With each student first reflecting on her or his own individual conflict style and then assessing other levels of conflict through this lens, Atashi saw evidence of students making greater connections between the course units. She also used conversations about difference itself to explore both causes of conflict and opportunities for conflict transformation. Rather than shying away from the diversity of opinions that emerged through student writing and facilitated dialogue, and rather than allowing differences to “become a source of tension, conflict and disagreement,” Atashi challenged students to “take personal responsibility for the way [they] respond to difference.” She noted that “while diversity means difference, we don’t always explore or deal with these differences as a way to bring our communities together. Can we think of diversity differently?”

“Without a doubt the best part of the Doyle Program was meeting, learning from, and the conversations with my colleagues from different disciplines. It was inspiring to learn of the work of colleagues and their incredible dedication and passion for teaching and student learning.” — Elham Atashi (Program on Justice and Peace)

 

Lioudmila Fedorova

Slavic Languages
WRIT 015: Yankees in Petrograd, Bolsheviks in New York

Lioudmila Fedorova’s course, Yankees in Petrograd, Bolsheviks in New York, explored the reciprocal perspectives that emerge through the interaction of different cultures, with students examining the responses of Americans and Russians in both fictional and documentary travelogues. Redesigning her previous Russian course as an introductory, English-language writing course, Fedorova invited students to read and analyze travelogues and road films. She used the traveler to a foreign country as a figure through which to consider how individuals both respond to the cultural Other and come to gain multiple, culturally-specific perspectives on experience. Students used writing intentionally to explore the complexities of differing perspectives, unpacking cultural stereotypes that are often mutual while also viewing familiar terrain from defamiliarized points of view. Funded through a Doyle diversity grant, the class took field trips to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, allowing students to explore the Russian and American space programs through reciprocal narratives of the cultural Other. The dynamic alignment of multiple course elements—including writing, textual analysis, and dialogue—deepened students’ relationships to the material and to each other. As Fedorova explains: “I think more students came to thank me at the end of the course than ever; they stressed that it had been a very meaningful experience.”

 

Diana Guelespe

Program on Justice and Peace
JUPS  410: Immigration and Social Justice

Diana Guelespe’s Immigration and Social Justice course combined experiential learning with deep reflection, allowing students to witness first-hand the complexities of immigration and providing structured space for them to grapple with those complexities. Helping students move beyond theoretical and historical parameters, Guelespe has always invited students to consider the local impact of immigration, requiring them to observe immigration court and reflect on their experiences. In her Doyle redesign, she took that reflection a step further, integrating a smallgroup, in-class activity in which students enacted aspects of their courtroom observations. In discussions following the activity, students explored many complex aspects of the experience—including the power dynamics of immigration, frequent dehumanization of human beings, and the role of systems and institutions in constructing one’s immigrant status. Guelespe was impressed with the depth of reflection the exercise prompted: “The discussion was very organic. I did not have to probe or ask questions. Students immediately picked up on the similar themes that all groups tried to enact and openly talked about them. The activity exceeded my expectations.” Fostering the experiential component of the course was another community-based activity, in which students completed work at the Central American Resource Center’s citizenship program for adult immigrants. These efforts furthered another of Guelespe’s Doyle learning goals—helping students process academic concepts on a more human level.

 

Kathleen Guidroz

Sociology
SOCI 191: Interpersonal Violence

Kathleen Guidroz’s Interpersonal Violence course analyzed diverse types of violence and responses, and also invited students to consider violence through the perspective of victims. Analyzing violence as experienced by perpetrators, victims, and others in society (including the students themselves) highlighted the complexity and personal nature of violence as well as its differential impact. Making her Doyle-inspired learning goals explicit, Guidroz prompted students to address “the impact of individuals’ actions” while asking, “who is affected by violence and how are they affected?” In redesigning the course, Guidroz allowed these questions to shape the course structure itself, framing monthly topics that invited more thoughtful consideration of victimization while acknowledging that individuals experience violence differently. Students wrote weekly summaries in response to specific prompts which invited them to approach the course topics from a personal lens, considering the impact of violence on their own lives, while at the same time reflecting on their evolving understanding of the topic. These regular responses, together with a mid-semester course evaluation administered by CNDLS, gave Guidroz the ability to adapt her teaching strategies throughout the semester to meet the needs of students in real time: “It taught me that I need to have a course that is fully structured (part of a professor’s preparation), but perhaps I need to be flexible at the same time.”

 

Sarah Stewart Johnson

School of Foreign Service, STIA
STIA 227 & 228: Environmental Geoscience & Lab

Geoscience courses often present significant barriers to students with disabilities due to the nature of traditional fieldwork. In redesigning Environmental Geoscience, Sarah Stewart Johnson encouraged accessible geoscience instruction, inviting her students to create a “virtual field trip” as part of a study of water quality in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Working closely with staff from the Gelardin New Media Center, students merged 360-degree video footage they captured in the field with educational content they designed in order to produce an immersive, accessible learning experience. Students shared their creations with twenty participants from Best Buddies, an organization serving individuals with a range of disabilities. The project enabled students to engage more deeply with the idea of difference while reinforcing the scientific concepts from class; simultaneously, it laid the groundwork for a larger “universal design” effort to integrate the concept of disability with field research and classroom teaching. Stewart Johnson will continue this work through a National Science Foundation grant. She and a Georgetown undergraduate will travel to Antarctica to conduct fieldwork and collect footage for another “virtual field trip” to be shared with community partners and students. “Students had a significantly different encounter with diversity than they might have otherwise had. . . . My sense is that science majors at Georgetown don’t often encounter topics tied to diversity in their coursework.”

 

Laurie King

Anthropology
ANTH 280: Urban Anthropology: Cultures of the City

Laurie King’s Urban Anthropology: Cultures of the City uses Washington, D.C. as an immediate “social laboratory” in which students undertake a qualitative study of cities, leading to an ethnographic research paper. Although King has previously taught similar versions of this course, her redesign efforts to facilitate a deeper understanding of urban inequality encountered new challenges, raising larger questions about the university’s role in preparing students to engage meaningfully with diversity. The result was a significant learning experience for King as well as the students. One unexpected dynamic that emerged was the contrasting experiences of students from different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. The resistance of some students to the Doyle components raised a number of questions for King that cannot be resolved easily within any single course, but which will animate her ongoing work: “Are we teaching about diversity in order to lay the groundwork for meaningful changes in how the next generation will undertake leadership positions in government, business, law, medicine, and the NGO sector? What does a well-rounded education and a commitment to cura personalis mean at Georgetown when so many students choose careers in the financial sector? What is a college education supposed to do—or be capable of doing—if it’s largely considered a stepping-stone to a lucrative job?” Reflecting on her Doyle experience, King remains committed to challenging her students—and herself—to directly engage these complex issues.

 

Charles McNelis

Classics
CLSS 223: Roman Sexuality

In Roman Sexuality, students explored the extreme polarities the Romans used to formulate codes of social and sexual behavior, gaining an understanding of the dynamics of ancient Roman culture. In light of the charged contemporary debates over sexuality, Charles McNelis redesigned his course to provide students new strategies for accessing difficult discussions and seeing links between the issues in Roman society and the experiences of students on Georgetown’s campus. Noticing that students are sometimes hesitant to discuss their personal views on sexuality in a public forum, McNelis employed multiple pedagogical strategies in order to elicit greater contributions to class discussions. Such strategies included using anonymously drafted student reflections to prompt larger discussion and having students in small groups take assigned positions on topics in order to reduce the personal stakes for any individual. With varying results, McNelis found that his strategies overall fostered a more inclusive conversation: “What surprised me the most was that students tended to offer personal reflections within the contexts of the intellectual and scholarly frameworks of sexuality and gender rather than from their own experiences and viewpoints.”

 

Maya Roth

Performing Arts
TPST 130: Play Analysis

In Maya Roth’s Play Analysis, students analyzed the structures of plays and reflected on the themes embedded in human and social experiences. Roth taught methods of play analysis to veteran theater majors as well as students new to the field. Believing that different learning modes can activate the mutual exchange of critical and creative inquiry, Roth’s overarching Doyle goal was to consciously engage all students with their variety of different learning styles, including those with disabilities. Seeking to better teach to diverse learning styles, she looked to incorporate more tactile and creative assignments, such as visual and sound collage responses to a play world. Roth also used a combination of exercises including sensory mapping in preparation for a creative curatorial project. Students were asked to do original research or compose an original creative response to a play together with framing for how their response serves critical understanding: “[This curatorial] project enabled creativity to emerge to differing degrees, depending on their fluencies, and prompted higher originality of conception/inquiry/research for nearly all of them.” For Roth, one marker of success was that among those who did best on the curatorial projects were students who had the biggest challenges with traditional papers on account of various disabilities.

 

Iwona Sadowska

Slavic Languages
PLSH 102: Intermediate Polish II

In Intermediate Polish II, Iwona Sadowska helped her students develop language proficiency through a focus on difference and diversity in Polish history. Using film and texts, students examined Poland’s past and present through a cross-cultural view of topics related to power, solidarity, and domination. Through close analysis of short stories, articles, advertisements, feature films, and documentaries, Sadowska and her students examined how relations of domination operate and how everyday people can create social change. Sadowska extended students’ exposure to Polish culture through two visits funded by Doyle diversity grants to the Polish Embassy, meeting the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jan Dziedziczak, and attending a reception with the visiting President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda. Students also attended a gallery exhibition and discussion on “Fighting Poland” at the Polish Institute of National Remembrance. Within her own classroom, Sadowska found ways to invert traditional power structures, promoting more student-led discussions, as well as established language exchanges with native Polish speakers. The result, she found, was a new type of relationship with her students: “The Doyle course was really important for me as well, to create a community with my students. I saw my students through a different lens. They became a great source of inspiration.”

 

Henry Schwarz

English
ENGL 265: Introduction to Cultural Studies

In his Doyle redesign of Introduction to Cultural Studies, Henry Schwarz aimed to incorporate student-led research and studio-design learning into an introductory-level course, to test how independently students could tackle sophisticated research. He was extremely pleased with the results. In a course that explores how cultural objects interlace categories of class, race, gender, nation, and sexuality to produce a cultural collection of power, students embarked on research projects aimed at helping them understand how these categories of power work and how they, as students, can produce nonviolent but revolutionary change. Schwarz and his students identified five major research topics reflecting issues in contemporary political debates, including images of African Americans in media, women’s inequality, industries and environments, female body images, and mental illness and addiction. Students then worked in a small-group, studio environment to develop viable research projects from these broader categories. Although students read a core group of theoretical texts together, they self-selected additional readings and worked in small collectives to produce sophisticated analyses of their chosen content. Schwarz felt the redesign was a powerful approach: “The studio experiment exceeded my expectations in terms of student enjoyment and achievement. I assumed they would be more fearful of experimentation and of self-reliance, but the other-reliance this forced them into had an equalizing effect, giving them a shared destiny.”

 

Erika Seamon

American Studies
AMST 204: American Civilization II: Memories, Gods, and Frontiers

“Doyle, for me, is a fascinating place and space to realize that what each of us does in the classroom is a piece of larger narrative and mission to deconstruct student assumptions and expose alternative narratives to whatever our field of interest may be.” — Erika Seamon (American Studies)

In redesigning American Civilization II: Memories, Gods, and Frontiers, Erika Seamon introduced a project in which groups of students designed memorials to various marginalized 19th-century communities who are often left out of standard historical narratives. Through the process, students confronted the intrinsic paternalism involved in attempting to tell the story of a community that is not one’s own. They wrestled with what story to tell, where to place the memorial, what it should look like, who would support it, who would oppose it, and what risks it would present. “In attempting to make an invisible community of the past visible today,” Seamon noted, “students learned that interpreting history depends on where one stands and what message one seeks to relay. Multiple narratives are always competing for a share of collective memory.” The project had particular relevance given the recent focus on Georgetown’s historical relationship to slavery, with the university community was beginning to explore ways to memorialize and engage with its own past. As one student noted, “There is no way that I can look at the debates over the naming of buildings or the suggestions for memorials the same way as I did before. Last semester when everything erupted on campus, I thought the answers were easy. Now, I see that there are no easy answers to any of these questions.”

 

Debra Sivigny

Performing Arts
TPST 170: Principles of Design

Debra Sivigny reworked a central learning goal of Principles of Design from simply teaching theater design skills to emphasizing the importance of designing with respect and ethical reasoning—affirming that theater design requires deep social responsibility to the cultures, characters, and scenarios played out in performances. Sivigny did so by promoting the importance of cultural diversity and the ethics of representation on stage. Students designed creative business cards reflecting their own cultural and social identities as an exercise in integrating personal experience into public design. They tackled complicated issues of cultural appropriation and theater-making through readings and discussions around a recent production of The Mikado at NYU, which was canceled amidst controversies surrounding the casting of white actors portraying Asian characters. Debating the complexities of this contemporary example, students saw the theories of ethical casting and design in practice, “[forcing] them to engage with issues they hadn’t ever confronted before.” Overall, Sivigny found that starting from one’s personal experience was an essential component of her course design: “I would encourage other faculty to consider what diversity means to them personally. . . . Self-defining was critical for me to be able to deliver course material in a way that was sensitive to students’ questions. Not having all the answers opened up the circle for difference of opinion or moments of self-doubt in a safe space.”

“I learned that teaching diversity is not necessarily about activities, or exercises that incorporate diverse topics, but rather a philosophy or a frame that drives a course. It’s pedagogy at the core.” — Debra Sivigny (Performing Arts)

 

Lahra Smith

School of Foreign Service
INAF 100: Women and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa

In previous semesters teaching Women and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, Lahra Smith noticed a tendency to essentialize African women’s experiences and treat them as somehow quite different from the experiences of American women. She therefore redesigned the course to challenge students’ normative assumptions about race, gender, and difference. In particular, she assigned an early comparative reading of American women’s history of legal reforms in order to show the sexist and often misogynist nature of many American laws through much of the 20th century. Smith paired these readings with reflective writing assignments to help students interrogate the common and dismissive preconception that African women have so much to reform that substantive progress will take generations. She also made efforts to present course content in modes that appeal to students, incorporating a greater number of Africa-themed films and novels and then discussing connections students found between course materials and political issues closer to home. “By pausing at times to allow class discussion on topical events such as Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson and Baltimore, or the on-campus Working Group [on Slavery, Memory & Reconciliation] activities, we had meaningful and substantive discussions of diversity and race that went far beyond anything I could have ‘scripted’ in readings or films. It was more organic and therefore, more relevant to the students.”

 

Heather Weger

Center for Language Education and Development (CLED)
ENFL 036: Intermediate Integrated Skills

Heather Weger’s Intermediate Integrated Skills course helps international students develop English language proficiency through the Intensive English Program at Georgetown’s Center for Language Education and Development. Although typically at Georgetown for only one semester, many students in the program intend to study at U.S. universities. Weger’s Doyle redesign invited students to consider how diversity impacts society, as well as the value of exploring multiple points of view. Accommodating the diverse interests of her students, Weger developed a collection of texts and listening activities that raise issues of diversity in a variety of disciplines. She also partnered with many Doyle cohort members, who welcomed Weger’s students to observe their classes, furthering her goal of helping students bridge the gap between their home cultures’ standards of classroom participation and standards common in U.S. classrooms. This multidisciplinary collaboration was not only a model of inclusivity and experiential learning, but also helped students gain valuable perspectives on diversity that impacted other class activities. For example, after in-class activities with peers from different home countries, students reported greater awareness of the ways that cultural norms contribute to divergent classroom participation structures and other social behaviors. Reflecting on her redesign experience, Weger noted: “The idea that ‘diversity’ is containable to a single assignment seems less tenable to me now than when I first began the project.”

 

Timothy Wickham-Crowley

Sociology
SOCI 139: Race, Color, Culture

In Race, Color, Culture, Timothy Wickham-Crowley invited students to take a transnational and historical view of race and ethnicity, including discrimination in education and color-based prejudices, and how these issues manifest in culture, looking more broadly than at just the U.S. Studying human experiences with diversity, this course has always had Doyle learning goals at its heart, but in making it a Doyle course, Wickham-Crowley explored methods for drawing students into broader and deeper engagement with diversity topics. This focus, coupled with the diverse makeup of the class, made discussions in this iteration of the course especially rich. Students regularly showed evidence that “they could absorb and process the importance of those matters in the lives of people-not-themselves.” One method for fostering such dialogue involved choosing early materials with enough socio-historical distance that no one felt compelled to defend any particular side. As topics moved into more contemporary aspects of racial conflict, with black lives often at the center of the class discourse, Wickham-Crowley encouraged all students to share their own experiences while remaining empathetic listeners. “How can we teach our subjects – any subject – in such a manner that all of those young minds are drawn into the subject at hand and, better yet, become willing to enter into a serious dialogue with people unlike themselves… without pre-deciding that such dialogue should or will eventuate in agreement about all such matters?”

 


Click here to access the full 2015-2016 Doyle Annual Report.

Return to the Faculty Fellows page.