Today’s post is dedicated to my thoughts about the latest American Political Science Association conference meeting or #APSA2011.
I attended a pre-conference workshop about Gender and Politics in the Field. It really was a workshop dedicated to teaching the various major sub-fields in Political Science. This workshop was one of the best that I have attended in my 15 years in Political Science. The other great APSA pre-conference was in Boston circa 2002 at the Women of Color conference.
Back to 2011, though, teaching often gets short shrift in academia, as the thought is that anyone can teach. Sadly this is not the case, when we add the word well. Not everyone can teach well. It was refreshing to spend a day chatting about teaching. Hearing what everyone is doing differently in the classroom.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Innovation can mean different things to different scholars.
2. There really is a technological divide among some faculty.
3. Senior scholars at the conference wanted the junior scholars to be good teachers and were quite generous with their ideas.
4. All feminists do not agree. And, there are feminisms and not one monolithic feminist monster!
5. There is some amazing work in the field related to teaching.
6. Many of my colleagues at the workshop need to get with the program in terms of social media use or technology in the classroom.(This is said respectfully).
7. The mentoring I witnessed warmed my heart.
8. I was glad to see so many grad students or recently hires in the mix. It’s good to hear what is happening on the ground for the new instructor.
9. Related to this, it’s interesting to hear what more senior people are doing in the classroom. Especially, when you hear that virtually all of us face some of the same situations.
10. Again, related to the above post…students and their evaluation of the material or the instructor was a common topic of conversation. When you are presenting controversial information about gender, race, class, sexuality, colonialism, nationalism (the list goes on), difficult conversations can take place in the classroom.
11. The last point about the workshop–once again it’s a useful exercise to be reminded that I am part of this great community of women scholars in the field. Yes, only women attended the stream that I attended. At the last panel, I spotted a man at one of the sessions. This is another conversation, since men teach gender and politics, too. But, then, again there were so many choices at the pre-conference workshops. I needed a clone for the Social Media workshop, Activism workshop, and Latino Politics workshop! So say we all! #BSG
In closing, a great workshop.