Course description: Who gains—and who loses—in the admissions process at Trinity College and other elite institutions? Which racial diversity or financial aid policies might meet our desired goals? How do undergraduates experience racial and social class differences on campus? What can we learn from Trinity’s own history to recommend meaningful change? In this seminar, students will role-play a college admissions committee, conduct interviews for a campus research project, and enhance their research and writing skills. Given our controversial topic, participants should be prepared to listen to alternative viewpoints, challenge (and be challenged) on opinions and evidence, and get involved in making change.
Syllabus for Fall 2015
Seminar meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30-12:45pm in LSC 135
Contact info for members of our seminar (requires your Google password)
Required readings (purchase used or new, online or at campus bookstore):
- Mitchell Stevens, Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites (Harvard University Press, 2009). Recommended paperback ISBN 9780674034945.
- Beverly Daniel Tatum, “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” and Other Conversations about Race, revised edition (New York: Basic Books, 2003). Recommended paperback ISBN 9780465083619.
- Stacey Lee, Unraveling the “Model Minority” Stereotype: Listening to Asian American Youth, second edition (New York: Teachers College Press, 2009). Recommended paperback ISBN 978-0807749739.
- Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2013). Available hardcover ISBN 978-0674049574 or Kindle; paperback will not be published until mid-November 2015.
Also, each student needs to bring a laptop computer for in-class writing, editing, calculating, and online research assignments. Feel free to use any recent laptop (Mac, Windows, Linux, Chromebook), since nearly all seminar work can be done in a browser. Avoid tablet devices, since most students report that they lack sufficient keyboards and screens for doing work in class. Please contact me if you need help with this requirement.
About the instructor: Jack Dougherty, an associate professor of educational studies, teaches courses and conducts research with students and community partners through the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project. He also works with students and other scholars to share their writing online through open-access books, such as Writing History in the Digital Age and Web Writing: Why & How for Liberal Arts Teaching & Learning. You may spot him zipping around the Hartford region on his bicycle. See also his personal website. Read a letter from the instructor, with details about the first assignment.
Read also a letter from First-Year Mentor Jasmine Gentry ’17.
Trinity Library liaison: Rob Walsh
Summer Reading Assignment
- Stevens, Creating a Class, ch 1-2
- Exercise 1: Post three insightful questions before first seminar
Schedule: (any major changes during the semester will appear in red)
Fri Sept 4 from 10-11am in McCook 309 (not our regular classroom)
- Introduction to the seminar
- Discuss: Which questions make you think more deeply about Stevens ch 1-2?
- Assign Stevens ch 3-4: bring reading notes and share questions for Wed Sept 9
- Confirm your answers and contact info on our Google Form
- Confirm your 20-minute advising appointment with me in McCook 302. If you wish to change your schedule, read how to add/drop/swap a course and arrive before your appointment time to start preparing with Jasmine
- Plan your day around any mandatory proficiency exams (Quantitative Literacy, Second Language, etc.)
- The College Admissions Simulation, Round 1, led by Associate Dean of Admissions Jasmine Gentry ’17 (your FYSM mentor has been promoted!)
- Exercise 2: Read 15 applicant files (PDF) and work in teams to add 2-sentences on strengths and weaknesses to assigned applicants in Google Spreadsheet summary
1) Team: Joanne (leader), Heric, Courtney, Hayley — Mon 1pm Jones Common Room
2) Team: Shannon (leader), Alvaro, Samuel, Caroline, Taylor — Sunday 5pm Jones Common Room
3) Shane (leader), Steve O, Steven S, Will, Jack S — Sunday 1pm Elton Common Room
Mon Sept 7 – Labor Day (no class – use time for team meetings)
Wed Sept 9
- Reading questions for the social sciences — Sociologist Mitchell Stevens — Sociology at Trinity College
- Bring reading notes and share comments/questions on Stevens ch 3-4
- The College simulation round 1: Recommendations for evaluation categories by Team 1 – Team 2 – Team 3. Admissions Committee must agree on uniform evaluation categories before end of today’s seminar.
- Assign Simulation Round 2: Evaluation Categories and Storytelling
Fri Sept 11 – writing assessment due, print confirmation code and bring to mentor before mandatory Sunday library tour
Sun Sept 13
11am – Mandatory Library Tour: Meet Jasmine at Underground Cafe, near Mather Basement post office, to walk to Library. No-shows will lose 2 points.
7:15pm – Come join us at Lockwood Nest Dinner at Hamlin Hall, near Mather.
Mon Sept 14
- Continue to share questions/comments on Stevens ch 5-6
- Read and insert comments/questions on US Supreme Court 2003 ruling excerpts on race and higher ed admissions in the University of Michigan Gratz and Grutter cases
- Simulation round 2: Prepare your “storytelling” of your assigned applicant, in at least 3 sentences, based on our new evaluation categories, on our shared Google Sheet. Be prepared to deliver a 1-minute version in class.
- Simulation round 3: Dean correspondence and ratings
- Assign Exercise 3: Ranked list of applicants in our shared Google Sheet, with input by the entire Committee, due on Fri Sept 18th to deliver to Dean on Monday Sept 21st
- Contact info for members of our seminar (requires your Google password)
- Reminder: If you did not attend mandatory Sunday Library session, or Jasmine’s second opportunity (tonight, Monday Sept 14 at 9:30pm in Library lobby), you will lose two points.
- Reminder: Add/Drop period ends today. Any “withdrawals” after this date will result in a “W” on your transcript, and possibly academic probation (if you receive less than 4 credits for the semester).
Wed Sept 16
- Simulation Round 3: Rate each applicant (11 is high, 1 is low) on Google Sheet before seminar
- Read three short essays by Angel Perez, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Trinity, and brainstorm questions in our shared Google Doc for next week’s meeting with him
- Angel Perez, “College Admissions’ Wrenching Ins and Outs,” Los Angeles Times, April 3, 2009, http://pitweb.pitzer.edu/admission/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2013/11/The_Hard_No1.pdf.
- Angel Perez, “Becoming an Admissions Dean,” Inside Higher Ed, November 6, 2013, https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/11/06/essay-becoming-admissions-dean. (My fault for not adding this correctly earlier.)
- Angel B. Pérez, “The ‘Best and Brightest’ Aren’t Always Obvious,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 21, 2014, http://chronicle.com/article/The-BestBrightest/147795/.
- How we work with Google Documents in this seminar
- Assign Exercise 4: Citing Sources due Sunday Sept 20 by 9pm in GDoc Organizer
- Explore: How to capture, manage, and cite sources with Zotero
- New reading, requested by the seminar: Richard Pérez-Peña, “Students Gain Access to Files on Admission to Stanford,” The New York Times, January 16, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/us/students-gain-access-to-files-on-admission-to-stanford.html.
Mon Sept 21
- Dialogue with Angel Perez, VP of Enrollment and Student Success, meet in Admissions Office lobby at 11:30am
- Read and bring questions on Richard D. Kahlenberg, “How Much Do You Pay for College?,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 11, 2013, sec. The Chronicle Review, http://chronicle.com/article/How-Much-Do-You-Pay-for/137043/; Jason Deparle, “Poor Students Struggle as Class Plays a Greater Role in Success,” The New York Times, December 22, 2012, sec. Education, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html.
- Assign: Simulation round 4 – prepare for the F-round using the Trinity College Net Price Calculator and financial data on our Google Sheet
- In seminar, define “net tuition” using U.S. Dept. of Education, Net Price Calculator Center; compare data in U.S. Dept of Education, College Scorecard, and Trinity College current costs and financial aid information.
- Recommended: calculate estimated family contribution for YOUR family, to the best of your knowledge, using the Trinity College Net Price Calculator. Students are welcome, but not required, to discuss their financial aid data in seminar.
Wed Sept 23
- Add reading notes and questions to bottom of shared GDoc on Stevens ch 7-8
- Assign Exercise 5: Avoiding Plagiarism, due on GDoc Organizer by Sunday Sept 27 by 9pm
- Complete Simulation Round 4 (F-round) calculations on Google Sheet before seminar
- Prepare for Simulation Round 5: Decision Day on Monday Sept 28th
- Added in seminar: Should The College offer a merit award?
Sun Sept 27
Mon Sept 28
- Before seminar: Committee decisions on merit award policy and final applicant rankings in shared Google Sheet before today’s Simulation Round 5: Decision Day
- Be prepared to discuss this case: Adam Liptak, “Supreme Court Will Reconsider Affirmative Action Case,” The New York Times, June 29, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/30/us/supreme-court-will-reconsider-affirmative-action-case.html.
- Recommended: Scott Jaschik, “OCR Clears Princeton of Anti-Asian Discrimination in Admissions,” Inside Higher Ed, September 24, 2015, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/09/24/ocr-clears-princeton-anti-asian-discrimination-admissions.
- Assign Round 6: Persuasive Essay and randomly assign team roles
- How to avoid common mistakes in citing sources, avoiding plagiarism
Wed Sept 30
- Meet in Library Lobby. See schedule on GDoc Organizer for team appointments in Lib 113 and 114.
- Before seminar, read “Developing a Thesis” (Harvard College Writing Center); “Integrating Sources” (Harvard Guide to Using Sources) from the How to Improve Your Writing at Trinity
- More advice Essay 1: Supporting your arguments with sources
- Schedule time for writing advice with our mentor (Wed Sept 30, 9pm-midnight in Underground Coffeehouse; Sat Oct 3rd, 1-3pm in Library Level A near computers), or book an appointment with the instructor
Thur Oct 1
- Join me at Tested (2015 film) at 6:30pm and Q&A with director, Curtis Chin, at 7:45pm, Washington Room, Mather Hall. This documentary follows students who prepare for a high-stakes test to gain entrance to one of New York City’s prestigious public high schools, and explores topics such as equal access, affirmative action, and the model minority myth. Watch the trailer at http://www.testedfilm.com/.
Mon Oct 5
- Before seminar, read excerpt from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (2010).
- Congratulations on completing your first drafts
- Strategies to improve our writing
- In seminar: Paste the assignment criteria to the bottom of your GDoc draft to guide peer editing
- Ways to be an effective peer editor (demo by Jack & Jasmine)
- Begin assigned peer reviews and complete on GDoc Organizer by Mon 9pm
- Clarify procedure for Simulation round 7 debate
- Assign Exercise 6: teams to lead upcoming book discussions: Tatum, Lee, Armstrong & Hamilton
Wed Oct 7
- Simulation round 7: four teams debate their legal briefs
- Bonus point awarded by guest judge to most persuasive legal team
- Bonus point awarded by FYSM mentor to most thoughtful peer editor
- Revise Persuasive essays, based on peer reviews and debate feedback. Insert link and share (anyone; can comment) on GDoc Organizer by Fri Oct 9th at 9pm.
- How your work will be evaluated in this seminar
- News: Trinity College Joins Test-Optional Movement; InsideHigherEd
Mon Oct 12 – Trinity Days (no class)
- Assign Exercise 7: Trinity Institutional Review Board (IRB) research ethics CITI online training to conduct our Trinity sophomore interview study. In registration step 6, type “FYSM” for department and “Interviewer” for project role. Budget at least three hours. (Do not submit an IRB application, which the instructor has already done for the entire seminar.) Email proof of completion to your instructor by Wed Oct 14th to receive credit.
- All start reading Tatum, “Why Are All the Black Kids. . .?”
- Tatum Team (Steven S, Heric, Courtney, Samuel) must coordinate to write reading notes and lead class discussion on racial identity development theory
Wed Oct 14
- Special location: Umoja House, 72 Vernon Street.
- Before seminar, read “White Privilege Checklist,” University of New Hampshire, adapted from Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peace and Freedom Journal, July/August 1989.
- Cross the Line Privilege Walk activity led by FYSM mentor Jasmine Gentry
- In seminar, start watching Frances Reid, Skin Deep (Iris Films, 1995) on TrinFlix, and finish later (preferably, watch with a classmate)
- Assign Exercise 8-9: How would Tatum interpret racial identity development in Skin Deep video? due on GDoc Organizer by Wed Oct 21st at 9pm
Mon Oct 19
- Finish Tatum’s book, and be prepared for discussion led by team with their reading notes
- In seminar: How would Tatum analyze Tammy in Skin Deep? (compare scenes at 27:00+ and 32:00+)
- How did a former FYSM student use Tatum to interpret Tammy, and would you evaluate her essay?
- How to capture a screenshot to include in your exercise above
- How to prepare for course pre-registration
Wed Oct 21
- Before seminar, read Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s, Second Edition (New York: Routledge, 1986), excerpt pp. 54-56.
- Racial formation theory brief slides
- In seminar, view Alfonso Bui, Some Place I Call Home (Trinity College, 2007) on TrinFlix and take notes on key scenes (location: in our regular classroom)
- In seminar: “Protesting Hate at Trinity College, April 2011,” Trinity College Archives, Trinity Digital Repository (requires Trinity network access, click upper-right “download” button for PDF)
- All start reading Lee, Unraveling the Model Minority Stereotype
- Lee team (Will, Shannon, Jack S, Steve O, Taylor) takes responsibility for meeting to write reading notes and lead discussion on Unraveling the Model Minority Stereotype
Mon Oct 26
- Bring questions and reading notes on Lee, Unraveling, and Omi and Winant excerpt on racial formation theory to discuss
- In seminar, contrast responses to Exercise 8-9 (Tatum on Skin Deep)
- Comment on Dane 1 and Dane 2
- Prepare for Advising Week: See my advising resources (especially How to plan for pre-registration) and book an appointment with your advisor to discuss plans and release your hold
- Armstrong/Hamilton team (Caroline, Alvaro, Hayley, Joanne, Shane) takes responsibility to meet to write reading notes and lead discussion on Paying for the Party
Wed Oct 28
- Before seminar, all read Armstrong/Hamilton preface (p. xi) thru chapter 2 (p. 73) and research methods appendix (pp. 255-278); team starts discussion of reading note questions 1-3B
- Introduce our interview-based study of Trinity sophomores:
- Research question: How do the perceptions and experiences of Trinity vary among sophomores with different social class and racial backgrounds?
- Research design: interviews with a stratified random sample of sophomores by social class (financial aid/non-financial aid) and race (white/non-white)
- Our seminar’s approved research ethics application to Trinity IRB
- Our seminar’s interview guide
- Past example: Instructor’s interview spreadsheet (masked)
- Past example: FYSM 2013 interview transcripts (on Moodle)
- How to digitally record and transcribe your interview
- Practice interview in seminar, with feedback from the group
- Assign Exercise 10 Interview: When the instructor emails you contact info for a sophomore who has agreed to be interviewed, set up a day/time and quiet place to conduct an interview. Requires a digital recording device to create audio file (such as .m4a, mp3, etc.). Upload the audio file to instructor’s Dropbox by Fri Nov 13th (or sooner). Bonus point if you request and conduct a second interview.
- Prepare for Advising Week: Guest: Jamil Ragland, Office Coordinator, Registrar’s Office (12:30-12:45)
- Class of 2019 pre-registration opens Thurs Nov 12th at 7am (for last names A-K) and 7:10am (for L-Z)
Mon Nov 2
- Armstrong/Hamilton team concludes discussion of reading notes questions 4-7
- Updates on your Exercise 10 Interview Assignment
- Assign Theory Essay to compare/contrast Tatum, Lee, and Armstrong & Hamilton
- Idea sheet to compare/contrast theories – anyone may File > Make Copy or Download
- Draft on Google Docs Organizer by Sun Nov 8th at 9pm
- Assigned Peer review on Google Docs Organizer by end of seminar on Monday Nov 9th
- Upload your final essay for blind review by Tues Nov 10th by 9pm. Do not insert your name. Instead, label file name with your student ID. Example: 2345678Essay2.docx.
- Writing workshop: brainstorm ideas on insightful arguments and supporting evidence for Theory Essay
- Discussion about Saturday Nov 7th Campaign for Community event
Mon Nov 9
- In seminar: Peer editing workshop, due at end of seminar
- In seminar: Mentor will check your shopping cart, if requested
- Rewriting exercise in class, with anonymized excerpts from Theory essay
- Discuss: How did Trinity’s President frame the problems in her April 2015 Campaign for Community public letter? What happened at the Campaign for Community November 2015 event, and how do the proposed solutions address the core problems posed in April 2015?
Wed Nov 11
- Assign Exercise 11: Transcribe your interview using this template, and follow guidelines in the bottom-half of this tutorial. Mask any personal details that may violate confidentiality. Budget your time wisely. Upload to instructor’s Dropbox by Sunday Nov 15th at 9pm.
- Registration Week: What strategies have you tried to achieve your academic goals? What ideas and opportunities can you suggest to your classmates who need to expand their search?
- Follow-up discussion on TrinColl2Action: Do the proposed solutions address the core problems posed in April 2015? Compare President’s letter above with news coverage of the Sat Nov 7th event: Chris Bulfinch, “Campaign for Community Culminates in TrinColl2Action,” Trinity Tripod, November 10, 2015, https://commons.trincoll.edu/tripod/2015/11/10/campaign-for-community-culminates-in-trincoll2action/.
Mon Nov 16
- In seminar: UPDATED Download compilation of all sophomore interview transcripts from Moodle (password-protected)
- In seminar: How to thematically analyze interview transcripts with our shared Google Sheet
- Assign Interview Analysis Essay
- With a partner, identify an insightful theme and code all transcripts on our Google Sheet before class on Wed Nov 18th
- Draft on Google Docs Organizer due before Thanksgiving break
- Peer review on Google Docs due Mon Nov 30th by 9pm
- Final draft uploaded via JotForm in MSWord format (.docx) for blind review Thur Dec 3rd by 9pm
- In class: Discuss Trinity College Demonstration, Nov 2015 #BlackLivesMatter, 2015, https://youtu.be/7nNKuwUh4Ko.
- Hot off the press: Scott Jaschik, “What the Protests Mean,” Inside Higher Ed, November 16, 2015, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/11/16/experts-consider-what-protests-over-racial-tensions-mean.
Wed Nov 18
- In class: discuss sample interview essays by FYSM 2013
- Review Interview Essay assignment
- Discuss thematic coding results, and brainstorm others, and how to translate your findings into arguments for your essays
- Discuss Monday’s student walkout and storytelling event
Mon Nov 23
- Thanksgiving lunch seminar: place your lunch order and meet us at Trinity Restaurant, 243 Zion Street (down the steps from Summit Street) at 11:30am.
Wed Nov 25 – Thanksgiving Break (no class)
Mon Nov 30
- Interview Essay:
Wed Dec 2
- Read some Reflective Essays from FYSM 2013. Our mentor Jasmine, who was enrolled in the seminar that fall, recommends:
- For background about what was happening at Trinity in Fall 2013, Jasmine also recommends: Adolfo Abreu, “Racism at Trinity? Nothing Has Changed in the Last 40 Years,” reprinted in Kerri Provost, “Trinity Student Offers Suggestions for Bridging Town-Gown Chasm,” Real Hartford, November 26, 2013, http://www.realhartford.org/2013/11/26/trinity-student-offers-suggestions-for-bridging-town-gown-chasm/.
- Assign Reflective Change web essay
- Draft essay for discussion due before seminar on Wed Dec 9th. Instead of Google Docs, log into our Color and Money WordPress site with your Trinity network username and password. Create a new post, insert a catchy title, and select category = Reflective Essays 2015.
- Final version on WordPress due Friday Dec 18th by 6pm.
- For 1 bonus point: post your final essay, with your full name, on another public news or discussion site (such as a submission to Trinity Tripod, or Real Hartford, or another mass media site that is not password-protected). To receive bonus credit, email me the published link to your essay by Friday Dec 18th at 6pm.
Mon Dec 7
- Read EITHER of my open-access book chapters to discuss in seminar.
- Jack Dougherty, “Investigating Spatial Inequality with the Cities Suburbs and Schools Project,” On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs (Book-in-progress, 2015), http://epress.trincoll.edu/ontheline2015/chapter/investigating-spatial-inequality/.
- Jack Dougherty, “Public Writing and Student Privacy,” in Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning, ed. Jack Dougherty and Tennyson O’Donnell (University of Michigan Press/Trinity College ePress edition, 2014), http://epress.trincoll.edu/webwriting/chapter/dougherty-public.
- In seminar: Workshop on How to Publish on WordPress (see tips about inserting links, images, videos, etc.)
- Log into our Color and Money WordPress site with your Trinity network username and password. Create a new post, insert a title, and select category = Reflective Essays 2015. Choose “Save Draft” until you are ready to press the “Publish” button, when your work will become public on the web.
- Planning your Reflective Change web essay, in assigned pairs (with visitors):
- Has this seminar and/or your Trinity experiences changed your thinking about race and/or social class?
- What first-person story can you tell to deepen this reflection for readers?
- What are your strategies to make this an effective essay for the web?
- Be prepared to briefly report back to the group about your partner’s thinking.
Wed Dec 9
- Updates on Color and Money at Trinity and Beyond
- Exhibit on the long walk about Trinity 1968 student protest
- Chris Bulfinch, “Wake Up World: Showcasing Discrimination at Trinity,” Trinity Tripod, December 8, 2015, https://commons.trincoll.edu/tripod/2015/12/08/wake-up-world-showcasing-discrimination-at-trinity/.
- Marina Pappas, “It’s Time to Reevaluate Trinity College’s Open Campus,” Trinity Tripod, December 8, 2015, https://commons.trincoll.edu/tripod/2015/12/09/its-time-to-reevaluate-trinity-colleges-open-campus/.
- Today the US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action in admissions case. See Emily Bazelon and Adam Liptak, “How Will the Supreme Court Rule on Affirmative Action?,” The New York Times, December 8, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/magazine/how-will-the-supreme-court-rule-on-affirmative-action.html.
- Discussion of your draft Reflective Change web essays, which when properly posted with the correct category, should appear here: http://commons.trincoll.edu/colorandmoney/category/reflective-essays-2015/
Mon Dec 14
- Seminar wrap-up and end-of-semester evaluations
- Update on graded assignments and extra credits
- Standard course evaluation — sample results from FYSM 2013
- Supplemental evaluation for this seminar: Which units, readings, videos, activities, assignments helped you to learn, and how? Which parts should I keep, improve, or replace?
- Peer (and mentor) evaluations of each student’s overall contribution to learning: Download template and follow instructions
- Final Draft of Reflective Change web essay on WordPress by Friday Dec 18th at 6pm (in place of a final exam)