Student’s idea for course comes to fruition
OU will offer a new course designed and proposed by an OU freshman in spring 2011.
Antonin Fusco, University College freshman, brainstormed the idea for a course examining men’s and women’s attitudes toward each other while chatting with friends. He went to the Honors College Interim Dean David Ray, proposed the idea and received approval to pursue the project.
Fusco said the idea is to generate respect of men from women and vice versa. The course is geared toward men and women equally, even though it is in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.
The course is about men and women interactions and how they can better relationships and themselves, he said.
Fusco turned to Jill Irvine, Women’s and Gender Studies Program director, for help planning the course.
There is a tremendous amount to be learned from examining gender roles throughout history and culture, Irvine said.
“It can tell us so much about ourselves,” Irvine said. “Often, instructors won’t necessarily focus on gender roles and relations. They have many other purposes to the course and many other topics that they need to cover, and so this is really a way we will be able to focus on this incredibly important aspect of how we organize our society and how we understand ourselves.”
Students will get a perspective about how gender roles changing over time and will study cultures in various countries, like Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe and contemporary China, Irvine said.
Throughout the duration of the course, students will learn about different sexes and how they are treated and respected in different cultures, Fusco said.
The objective of the course is to inform all students and generate their opinions in class. Students will research and present evidence to support or refute their opinions. This is not a course teaching students what to think — it is a course teaching students how to think, Fusco said.
“This course is delicate,” he said. “This is something that everybody will walk in with an opinion on, and a pretty strong one. I mean everybody defines themselves based on their gender roles, at least a little bit.”
The course is designed to benefit anyone, not just women’s and gender studies students. Irvine said it will be a 2000 or 3000 level honors course offered to all students.
Meredith Forbes, pre-nursing sophomore, said she would be interested in taking the course.
“I think it would be pretty interesting to see the kinds of ways men and women pursued each other throughout time,” Forbes said. “I have come across many guys that are still respectful but there are definitely some out there that aren’t.”
Kenton Panas, chemistry pre-pharmacy sophomore, said it could be a great opportunity to learn.
“If the people going [into the class] are willing to learn and not prove their point and it should probably not be offered as a freshman level class,” Panas said. “Looking at myself and what I thought last year about classes like this and what I think now, I think it would be much more beneficial to upper-division people.”
Irvine said the course has the potential to be more than a mere class in which students learn about a subject.
“I think whenever you look at a phenomenon or a social characteristic or in this case something like gender roles comparatively, what it tells you most about is yourself,” Irvine said.