The “Big Idea” Gender Studies Syllabus

This is the third installment in my “Big Idea Syllabus” series inspired by Dr. Michael Wesch’s “Big Idea” Syllabus for Anthropology. My “Big Idea” Syllabus for History can be found here, for Writing here. The “Big Idea” Syllabus for Gender Studies follows.  Gender is an important, valid field of inquiry, and because women and gender-nonconformingContinue reading “The “Big Idea” Gender Studies Syllabus”

A Vision of College Students Today

Please note: I first wrote the following article in December 2019. I kept making tweaks to it and submitted it a number of places in December, in January, and in February with no takers. I thought about tweaking it to include the COIVD19 crisis, but as is, I think this serves as an important snapshot to how roughContinue reading “A Vision of College Students Today”

Conceptual Frameworks

The following words, quotations, and thinkers–in no particular order–have been especially important to my thinking, teaching, and research/writing in some way or another. They are provided mostly as a reference tool. Words Quotations At some point after you die, someone will think about you for the very last time, after which you will be forgottenContinue reading “Conceptual Frameworks”

What do our students actually need? And other thoughts related to the politics of teaching.

They need to be challenged, really challenged and pushed beyond their limits.   They need working understandings of how everything is culturally constructed and subjective, including the system of education they are in.  They need the confidence, skill, and understanding to have difficult conversations without anger or fear.  They need time to live and learn and relax and grow.Continue reading “What do our students actually need? And other thoughts related to the politics of teaching.”

The “Big Idea” History Syllabus

Whereas 99.9% of the past is forever lost to direct analysis, the past and everything that has ever happened anywhere (history) is different from the study of what has happened (History). Historians aim to assemble and examine stories about the past and Homo sapiens, a past full of complexity and simplicity, a past that showsContinue reading “The “Big Idea” History Syllabus”

“Samsara” (2011) and the Choreography of Life

Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson’s Samsara (2011) is a documentary that chronicles what I would like to term the “choreography of life.” Unlike virtually all other documentaries, there are no spoken words, no traditional narration. But, the “music” track is beautiful. (Some of the track, such as the Islamic Prayers “sounds” like music but isn’t, technically orContinue reading ““Samsara” (2011) and the Choreography of Life”

A Different Kind of Final Exam: Celebrating Learning and Success

There are so many things that I love about teaching. One being that I have academic freedom to try different things. Today, I discuss my very successful experiment with Final Exams!!  Some time ago I read “What kind of noise does your final exam make?” The basic idea being that the “Final Exam” need not be limited toContinue reading “A Different Kind of Final Exam: Celebrating Learning and Success”

Emotional Demands of College

Being in my ninth year of teaching, I am just about convinced that the biggest obstacle for most new students relates to the time and emotional demands of college. I generally reject notions that students being underprepared for college equates to a significant obstacle because students have always been underprepared for college since the creation of whatContinue reading “Emotional Demands of College”