letter from your advisor

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Summer 2015
Dear First-Year Students,

Welcome to Trinity College, where I will be your professor for the Color and Money first-year seminar and also serve as your academic advisor. Jasmine Gentry ’17 (our seminar mentor) and I have been making plans for the fall semester, and we look forward to meeting and learning with you.

In 1999 I came to Trinity, where I teach courses in the Educational Studies Program, and collaborate with students and community members on research and outreach projects on schooling and housing in the metropolitan Hartford region. In addition to our first-year seminar this fall, I’ll also be teaching the introductory Educ 200: Analyzing Schools course and the Educ 400: Senior Research Seminar. This summer I’m working on an open-access book, On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, that blends historical narrative with interactive maps and oral history videos. Outside of work, I always enjoy riding my bike with family or friends. Learn more about me by visiting my Trinity faculty profile (http://bit.ly/jackdougherty).

Prior to Trinity, I’ve lived and worked in various places: rural Upstate New York; suburban Philadelphia; Nicaragua, Central America; Newark, New Jersey; Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Nashville, Tennessee. For me, one of Trinity’s most attractive features is its capacity to bring together so many different people to talk, argue, listen, laugh, and build life-long relationships with one another. While my official job title suggests that I “profess” knowledge to students, I learn as much as you do by interacting with all of you.

Our Color and Money seminar has many objectives: to introduce you to college-level academics; to strengthen your writing, editing, and information literacy skills; to collaborate with fellow students and provide constructive criticism on their essays; and to conduct our own interview-based research project on racial and social class dynamics at Trinity and beyond. Here is your first reading and writing assignment:

1) Get a copy of our first book, in any format (used or new; print or ebook) and read chapters 1-2:
Mitchell L. Stevens, Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites (Harvard University Press, 2009).

2) Write 3 insightful questions about what Stevens prompts you to think about regarding the undergraduate admissions process. Identify issues that puzzle or trouble you. Dig in and get deep.

3) Before our first seminar meeting on Friday September 4th, post your questions on our public seminar website at http://commons.trincoll.edu/colorandmoney
– go to the first entry in the Assignments menu
– post your questions as a comment
– use your first name or initials (last name optional) to let us know who wrote it

4) Read responses by other members of the seminar. Which questions strike you as thoughtful ones, and why? We will use your questions to launch our first discussion.

In addition, each seminar member will need to bring a laptop computer for in-class writing, editing, and research assignments. Any recent laptop (Mac, Windows, Linux, or Chromebook) will be fine, but tablet devices will not work for our seminar. If you have any problems with this requirement, contact me and we’ll find a solution.

I’m looking forward to meeting you this fall. If you have any questions or concerns, the best way to reach me is via email.

Jack Dougherty
Associate Professor of Educational Studies
Trinity College, Hartford CT

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