NOTE: I was on sabbatical during the fall semester 2021
1.) During the Spring semester 2021, I led the Origins faculty group and oversaw the University Honors Program’s important interdisciplinary and multicultural "gateway” course, entitled "Origins and Evolution of Modern Thought," a two-semester sequence required of all first-year Honors students. In that role, I worked to ensure that the many sections of Origins met the learning goals and objectives of this ambitious course, coordinated our UW20 work with Gelman’s librarians, reviewed syllabi for uniformity and compliance with university policy, coordinated scheduling to prevent excessive overlap of Origins sections and other Honors courses, organized meetings among Origins faculty to discuss writing pedagogy as well as the course’s fourth hour (devoted to the university’s UW20 writing requirement), and explored strategies for diversifying our curriculum with the Origins faculty.
2.) In conjunction with Origins faculty’s efforts to diversify the range of voices and traditions included in the Origins course sequence, as the Origins lead I also participated in extensive meetings with staff, students, and other Honors faculty devoted to creating a curriculum, student body, and Honors program as a whole that would be more inclusive and diverse in the wake of the nation’s “racial reckoning.” These conversations were complex, energy and time intensive, and important. They are ongoing.
3.) As a result of my work on advancing the cause of diversity and inclusion at the UHP and in the Origins courses, I put considerable work into expanding the range of racial, sexual, and class perspectives offered in my already expansive and multi-cultural Origins’ curriculum. That work was time-consuming, challenging, and required a high degree of sensitivity and nuance in light of the many complexities it invokes. I am grateful and happy to report that the changes I made to the course were met with strong affirmation from students and also served to satisfy the course’s overall teaching and learning objectives even more strongly than previous iterations of the course.
4.) In addition, I also worked hard this past spring to diversify my Capstone course, designed for graduating seniors as the culminating experience of their college career and Honors experience at GW. In particular, I brought in bell hook’s important voice to our short reading list, a figure who helped expand the range of racial, sexual, gender, and class perspectives in the course. She turned out to be the favorite of many of the students, the course as a whole was a great success.
5.) Thanks to the high levels of satisfaction experienced by my spring Origins students, I was requested to do an informal mini-course on Marx, a figure who I was unable to include in my Origins class owed to its already expansive reading list. A group of ten of us met online for six 1-2 hour sessions, covering a range of aspects of Marx’s complex project. Good fun was had by all, real learning took place, and Honors students flourished—a bright spot during the hardships of the pandemic in which I was happy to participate.
6.) I also continued to work hard this past spring to develop strategies for transferring the classroom experience as fully as possible to the virtual world of Zoom. As my student evaluations indicate, my efforts to continue our spirited, engaging, and often poignant classroom discussions online were quite successful in all three of my courses.
7.) Owed to the demands of the pandemic and the tremendous amount of time spent working on diversity and inclusion issues this past spring, my research and writing was slowed even as I continued work on Nietzsche and advanced writing on the projects cited in this report. I continue to furthering that work during my current sabbatical.