WGS.S10 | Spring 2014 | Undergraduate

Gender, Power, Leadership, and the Workplace


Attendance and Participation

The success of this course is dependent on ongoing, active student participation. I will usually lecture at the beginning of each class to provide a framework for understanding the topic and the readings, but the class will revolve around student interaction, and not lectures.

Because of the centrality of active class participation, you are expected to attend every class period. Your absence would be missed by all, since your presence is critical for the lively exchange of ideas. Attendance is taken into consideration in figuring your Class Participation grade. (Participation accounts for 20% of your grade. Excessive absences—missing more than two classes—will negatively affect your overall grade.)

Response Papers / Presentations

For two class days you will serve, along with one or two other students, as a “responder.” You will prepare a brief (one- to two-page, typewritten, double-spaced) analysis of a central issue or argument in that day’s reading incorporating a gender / race / class lens. In addition, you will prepare two questions for class discussion, based on that reading. While the instructor will assume the major responsibility for facilitating the class discussions, you will present your written analysis and your questions, and they will be used as part of the basis for class discussion. (Each paper / presentation accounts for 10% of your grade, or 20% total.)

One-page Reaction Papers

On the weeks that you are not the official “responder / presenter,” you will bring a one-page “reaction paper” to class, which should be your thoughtful reaction to the week’s readings. In addition, you will send your reaction paper to the “responders” of the week prior to class, in order to support their presentation (they may incorporate some of your thoughts and / or questions into their presentation). The purpose of these reaction papers is to help you process what you have read, as well as to facilitate the conversation. I will read your reaction papers and return them the following week. I will also ask the “responders” of the week to read their classmates’ reaction papers and offer responses as part of their presentation. These reaction papers will not be graded.

Eight-page Research / Policy Paper

This paper can be fun to write! You can work on this paper alone or in pairs; it’s your choice. IF you work collaboratively, you must include a cover page that describes how you split the work with your partner, including research and writing.

A paper prospectus is due on session 10. This prospectus should describe what you plan to write about and an outline of your paper. The prospectus will not be graded! It is simply an opportunity for you to get feedback from the instructor about your ideas. I will give you written commentary, offering you suggestions about how to proceed. You are welcome to make an appointment with me to discuss this paper as well.

Research / policy paper options (PDF)

Final Paper and Presentations: Work in the 21st Century: Pressure Points for Change

What is the most powerful strategy (or strategies) for improving the lives of women and men in and / or outside of the workplace? Should the government provide universal policies that create a floor of opportunity for all? Should the market (e.g., the private sector) be responsible for these policies? What should the role of workers be, either as individuals or via organized labor? For the final paper, you have two choices:

  • You will select one or more strategies for creating gender equity in the workplace (e.g., government policies, private sector initiatives, labor as initiator of change, individuals as initiators of change). You can either work alone or in pairs. Again, if you work collaboratively, you must include a cover page that describes how the work was delineated.
  • Alternatively, you can write about a leadership style / approach that promotes gender / race equity in and / or outside of the workplace, exploring the values implicit in this leadership style / approach, when / where it is most commonly employed, and how it could affect other domains (e.g., leadership within political realm affecting corporate workplace practices, leadership within community setting affecting legislation).

Write an 8-page paper, arguing why this strategy (strategies) or leadership styles are necessary, drawing upon material covered throughout the semester (use examples). (It does not necessarily have to reflect your opinion, but you must provide a convincing argument).

On the final day of class, students will hand in their papers And present their papers in class. We will discuss / debate the strategies and / or leadership styles/ approaches described / analyzed in these papers. (This paper and presentation accounts for 30% of your grade.)

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2014
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Instructor Insights