Academics: Faculty

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Free Thinking Women Seminars

Free Thinking Women Seminars afford faculty members the opportunity to work with small interdisciplinary teams (2-3) of colleagues in the development of a core experience for Spelman students. While these seminars will vary in theme, each will serve as a foundational experience for Spelman women and will introduce and affirm the institution’s commitment to intellectual engagement, inquiry and rigor. Free Thinking Women Seminars are a core part of the desired Signature Experience for Spelman Women.

Free Thinking Women Seminars:

  • are interdisciplinary and reflective of the College’s institutional identity of a place of rigorous and creative study;
  • may be short term seminar (6 week) experiences if incorporated into an existing structure, i.e. First Year Assembly or Sophomore Assembly;
  • explore ideas central to the liberal arts;
  • place the intellectual work/scholarly production of women of African descent in conversation with other scholars studied in the seminar;
  • may be organized around: (1) “Big Questions;” (2) Specific Topics; (3) “Conversations” among scholars/intellectuals; and
  • are developed in consultation and conversation with colleagues across the campus;
  • include a peer-based evaluation system that is integrated into ongoing course design.

These FTW seminars or modules MUST:

  • Place the intellectual work/scholarly production of women of African descent in conversation with other scholars studied in the seminar (General Education Learning Outcomes);
  • Reflect the College's institutional identity (Strategic Plan);
  • Reflect Departmental and/or General Education Learning Outcomes;
  • Be organized around: (1) "Big Questions;" (2) Specific Topics; (3) "Conversations" among scholars/intellectuals; and
  • Be developed in consultation and conversation with colleagues across the campus.

All seminar/module proposals (no more than 6-8 pages) MUST:

  • Indicate what makes the proposed module or seminar interdisciplinary;
  • Address each of the criterion listed above;
  • Include a draft bibliography;
  • Indicate how the proposed seminar meets departmental and/or general education core learning goals;
  • Interdisciplinarity as Process: Include a specific strategy for planning the course or module in collaboration with colleagues.
  • Include a letter of support from the Department Chair (s) detailing: (1) How proposed seminar/course complements departmental goals; and (2) Plans for piloting or offering the proposed seminar/course.

...Since free thinking women understand the critical questions of the day cannot be understood within the confines of any one discipline, interdisciplinarity  is a central value of the Spelman College core curriculum.... (General Education Statement of Purpose, 2008).

Funded Free Thinking Women Seminars, and Modules:

  • FTWS:  Germs, Genes, and Zombies: Narrating Biomedicine; Narratives of Biomedicine (Stephen Knadler, PhD., Department of English)
  • FTWModule: Women and Science/module inserted into First Year Experience Aditi Pai, PhD., Biology; Professor Katrina Harden-Williams, M.A., Mathematics)
  • FTWSeminar: Women and Globalization  (Sandra Sims-Patterson, PhD., Department of Psychology)
  • FTWModule:  Gender, Race and Health  (Bruce Wade, PhD., Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Jack Stone, Ph.D., Department of Economics)
  • The Living Classroom:  Ideas for Making the World a Free-Thinking Women's Seminar (Patricia Ventura, Ph.D., Department of English)
  • English 424: New U.S. Immigrant Women's Literature (Pushpa Parekh, PhD., Department of English)
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