June Report from Allison Adrian, Endowed Chair in Women's Education

Women's Art Institute participants, undated (Image Source: Patricia Olson) 

Women's Art Institute participants, undated (Image Source: Patricia Olson) 

The Otte Initiative in Women’s Education is excited to announce three separate Women-Centered Learning Communities [WLCs] for the 2017-2018 year. Small cohorts of six to eight staff and/or faculty will have the opportunity to focus on one of three themes for the 2017-2018 academic year: women-centered scholarship, women-centered projects, and women-centered pedagogy. This year Patricia Olson, Associate Professor of Art and Art History and Director of the Women's Art Institute, will facilitate the first six meetings of the cohorts using methods honed from her experience teaching the Women's Art Institute for the past eighteen years. WLCs will be exploratory, creative, and instrumental in enhancing how we activate knowledge and practices grounded in our women's mission.

Women-Centered Learning Communities, 2017-2018

 Women’s colleges as a whole have been powerful catalysts for positive change among women for more than 150 years.  -Eldred and Sebrechts 2002

Looking at Art: Laurie Phillips, Catherine Kennedy, Kyrin Hobson, Women’s Art Institute 2006, Patricia Olson, 2006, oil on ragboard, 14⅛ x 8 inches (Image Source: Patricia Olson) 

Looking at Art: Laurie Phillips, Catherine Kennedy, Kyrin Hobson,
Women’s Art Institute 2006, Patricia Olson, 2006, oil on ragboard, 14⅛ x 8 inches (Image Source: Patricia Olson) 

Applications for WLCs are due Friday, July 21st. Participants will be notified by Friday, August 4th.

Please submit the short application form through this link.

If you have questions, contact Allison Adrian (aeadrian@stkate.edu) or Charlie Zieke (cszieke@stkate.edu).

Purpose & Design

Participation in WLCs will foster creativity and innovation that strengthens mission-centered work at St. Kate’s. WLCs will be instrumental in activating knowledge and practices grounded in our women’s mission. Each participant will receive $300 at the end of the academic year for active participation in their cohort.

WLC membership and composition guidelines are:

  • All faculty and staff (women, men, and gender non-conforming people) from all Colleges are eligible and encouraged to become members of WLCs.
  • Colleagues from within departments and offices are encouraged to apply together.
  • In addition, some interdisciplinary/cross-campus exchange is desired to enhance interaction, especially between professional studies and liberal arts programs.

WLC Activities

  • WLCs will convene for the first six sessions of the experience in a large group format facilitated by Patricia Olson, and then once a month for ninety minutes from November through April, for a total of twelve meetings.
  • Each WLC is expected to share the results of its work with the larger university community. Each cohort will determine together what form this will take and whether it will take place at the end of the academic term or the beginning of the following academic year.
  • Participants will submit a short reflection of their work to the Center for Mission Blog. Articles in Colleagues, break-out sessions at TLN, or other opportunities to share the communities’ findings are also encouraged.
Looking at Art: Kristin Copham and Elizabeth Erickson, Women’s Art Institute 2004, Patricia Olson, 2005, oil on ragboard, 13¼ x 9 ¾ inches(Image Source: Patricia Olson) 

Looking at Art: Kristin Copham and Elizabeth Erickson, Women’s Art Institute 2004, Patricia Olson, 2005, oil on ragboard, 13¼ x 9 ¾ inches(Image Source: Patricia Olson) 

Dates

The first six sessions, facilitated by Patricia Olson, will be held in the Visual Arts Building 302 on the following dates:

  • Thursday, August 24th from 12:10-1:30pm.
  • Friday, September 8th, from 12:10-1:30pm.
  • Friday, September 15th, from 12:10-1:30pm.
  • Friday, September 22nd, from 12:10-1:30pm.
  • Friday, September 29th, from 12:10-1:30pm.
  • Friday, October 6th, from 12:10-1:30pm.

The following six sessions will meet on dates and locations agreed upon by each cohort.  The Visual Arts Building 302 has been reserved on the following dates should one cohort wish to retain this space and time.

  • Friday, November 3rd, from 10:30-12:00pm.
  • Friday, December 1st, from 10:30-12:00pm.
  • Friday, January 5th, from 10:30-12:00pm.
  • Friday, February 2nd, from 10:30-12:00pm.
  • Friday, March 2nd, from 10:30-12:00pm.
  • Friday, April 6th, from 10:30-12:00pm.

WLC Topics

I. Women-Centered Scholarship

Our institution was founded to provide access to an excellent academic experience for students marginalized from higher education. Our mission calls us to engage in scholarship with hope and desire for a more inclusive world, especially as it pertains to the knowledge, expertise, and experiences of women and gender non-conforming people.

This WLC will foster a productive support system for scholars looking to invest in scholarship that intersects with our women’s mission. Such a designation can refer to the content (what it is you study), purpose (why you study it) and approach (how you study it) – or a combination of the latter - to a particular topic. We are particularly interested in cultivating collaborative and/or community-engaged scholarship*. During the first six 90-minute meetings facilitated by Patricia Olson, participants will develop and distill questions about their scholarly ideas that are investigated throughout the year, and ultimately applied to scholarship.  

*“…an intellectually and methodologically rigorous endeavor that is responsive to public audiences and public peer review. It is scholarly work that advances one or more academic disciplines by emphasizing co-production of knowledge with community stakeholders.” -as defined by Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis

II. Women-Centered Projects

Women's Art Institute 2007 (Image Source: Patricia Olson)

Women's Art Institute 2007 (Image Source: Patricia Olson)

Our work at a women-centered institution relies on the expertise and support of mission-driven staff. Graduates from women’s colleges are more likely to be “completely satisfied” with their education than peers from co-ed liberal arts institutions or public landmark institutions. This greater overall satisfaction of our alumnae is derived not only from curricular components of the education, but also from co-curricular opportunities and support. Staff, from gardeners to financial aid and career counselors, work directly and indirectly with students to create an inclusive and transformational educational environment. During the first six 90-minute weekly meetings facilitated by Patricia Olson, participants will develop and distill questions about women-centered work that will be investigated throughout the year, and ultimately applied to projects at St. Kate’s. 

III. Women-Centered Pedagogy

The purpose of this WLC is to cultivate expertise in the area of women-centered or feminist* pedagogy. This includes investigation, analysis, synthesis and implementation of practices within and across disciplines into your pedagogical strategies at St. Kate’s. During the first six meetings facilitated by Patricia Olson, participants will develop and distill questions about their teaching practices that are investigated throughout the year, and ultimately applied to current curricula at St. Kate’s.

*pedagogy, research, and work is ‘feminist’ when “it is grounded in the set of theoretical traditions that privilege women’s issues, voices, and lived experiences” (Sandra Harding, 1987:3).