Summer Fellowship for Curricular Diversification

General Information

In accordance with Plank 3 of the Strategic Plan, to “create a culture of diversity,” the mission of the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) is “to increase knowledge of diversity and to effect positive change within the Siena community concerning issues related to gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability and other forms of categorical prejudice and discrimination.” The DAC Summer Fellowships for Curriculum Diversification and for Diversity Research are provided to support faculty projects that go along with the spirit of this mission. Six fellowships are offered.


The Diversity Action Committee Summer Fellowship may be in one of two areas:

1. Curriculum Diversification provides summer salary support for individuals wishing to restructure an existing course, to develop a new course, or to create an innovate course module around diversity broadly construed in terms of gender expressions, races, ethnicities, classes, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities, and/or religious identities. Projects should result in a new course centered on diversity or a substantial modification of an existing course. Please identify the questions and motivations guiding the course proposal in terms of diversity along with texts and examples in support of the proposal.

2. Diversity Research provides summer salary support for individuals to engage in research projects concerning diversity, broadly construed in terms of gender expressions, races, ethnicities, classes, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities, and/or religious identities. The project may focus on pedagogical practices and issues pertaining to diversity; or it can be anchored in much broader cultural contexts and scenarios. The project may articulate specific concerns organized around diversity or may inquire into the idea of diversity, bringing its complexities to the foreground and/or problematizing them. The relevance to the field of study should be clearly explained.

Application available at COTFD page. The DAC awards are reviewed by a subcommittee of DAC. We welcome your projects.


Awards from Summer 2013

 Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Professor of Political Science
Course Title: Nonprofit Leadership

Abstract: Thisis a new course proposal to further diversify class offerings in political science. This course is intended for students interested in (a) developing leadership skills, (b) capacity building in marginal communities, (c) sustainable development and societal transformation, and (d) social justice and empowerment. The entire course content focuses on women in the US and the developing world by analyzing transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership models, social role theory, and sustainable development partnerships. The predominant pedagogy used in this course is the Socratic Method to examine questions related to gender and race, stereotyping, and socially enforced value judgments. Collaborative problem-solving exercises related to nonprofit case-studies will serve to sharpen critical thinking skills in the course. The course also has a practical component that connects students with local leaders. Women in nonprofit leadership positions will meet with students to discuss issues of empowerment and organizational challenges related to gender dynamics, racial stereotyping, and cultural violence. This course is intended for sophomore level students who are committed to pursuing leadership roles on campus or intend to study abroad in the developing world.

Marcela T. GarcésAssistant Professor of Modern Languages (Spanish)
Course Title: Diverse Perspectives in Contemporary Peninsular Spanish Film
Abstract: In this course, we will analyze films from contemporary Spain that deal directly with questions of diversity. Spain’s recent history is particularly compelling when it comes to examining the evolving status of diverse groups, making it an appropriate case study for addressing these issues. From 1939-1975, due to a repressive dictatorship, Spain was a relatively isolated and oftentimes intolerant country. Women were second-class citizens and there were laws that made homosexuality punishable. While some of these things changed in the 1960s and early 1970s, major shifts in Spanish society began after 1975 with the death of dictator Francisco Franco. Spain’s transition to democracy opened doors for women to attend universities en masse and to participate more in the workforce. The LGBTQ community forged a space in society, ultimately gaining the right to gay marriage in 2005. Large-scale immigration in the 1990s and 2000s tested the limits of democracy, and Spaniards continue to grapple with the presence of immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities in their country. This course will address these three main groups: women, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants. Through the incorporation of a service-learning component in the course, students will also volunteer with organizations that serve each of these groups in the Capital Region. They will therefore gain a global and a local perspective on the history of diverse groups and also learn how they might better serve and understand these groups in the U.S., thus creating cross-cultural awareness.

Arindam Mandal, Assistant Professor of Economics

Course Title: Economics of Discrimination

Abstract: Economists have a deep tradition of exploring various aspects of market place discrimination in modern market economies. By offering this course, I would like to offer Siena College students a glimpse of the issues surrounding discrimination from an economist point of view. The course will explore both the causes and consequences of discrimination in the market place. Topics include economic theories of discrimination and inequality, evidence of contemporary class, race, ethnicity and gender based inequality, detecting discrimination, and identifying sources of racial and gender inequality. For this purpose, the course will develop a working knowledge of economic models of discrimination, household decisions and time allocation. The models along with empirical literature would be applied to understand discrimination based on class, gender, race and ethnicity. The course then focuses on understanding different policies that have been used to address these issues. Finally, models and data would be used to understand policies to counter market place discrimination. In the course, students will learn economic theories to explain class disparity, gender inequality, racial bias, and the lack of political rights held by immigrants. Students will also familiarize themselves with the current situation of income, gender, racial inequality, and immigration to the modern US. Students will become familiar with reading theoretical and empirical economic essays, and with summarizing these in their own writing.

Ausra ParkAssistant Professor of Political Science
Course Title: Problems from Hell: Genocides, Gendercides, and Other Monstrous Crimes
Abstract: “Never again,” “not on our watch” vowed the international community as the unimaginable outcomes of the Final Solution came to light. Yet, despite political determination, these pledges were not upheld time and again. Problems from Hell unfolded before the Holocaust and after it. Genocides are certainly not mass killings “invented” in the 20th Century—their roots go back to colonial times, when it was a monstrous crime still without a name. Genocides are happening in the new millennium as well. It seems, however, that a majority of American students are unaware of “other” genocides and the forms of –cides (democide, politicide, gendercide, classicide, feticide, femicide, androcide, infanticide, and autocide) that either took place or continue to happen around the world. Here is a list of a few places visited by monstrous crimes: Armenia, Ukraine, North Korea, the Soviet Union, China, Australia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Argentina, Columbia, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, former Yugoslavia, Russia, Iraq, India, Mexico, and the United States. More than a quarter of a billion people lost their lives as a result of mass killings carried out by the governments of the countries listed above, and many more lives were lost due to other –cidal practices. This course will focus on several genocidal cases in-depth—cases will alternate each time the course is offered—and expose students to broader debates and controversies about –cides, including discussions about the possibility of attaining justice for those victimized by atrocious crimes.
Andrea Smith-Hunter,Professor of Management and Sociology
Course Title: Women and Minority Entrepreneurship
Abstract: This is an exciting time for women and minority (defined here as racial and ethnic groups that are not in the majority race) entrepreneurs. Women and minorities are starting businesses at a faster rate than the population at large. However, more often than anything else, women and minorities are often ignored in curriculum development which focuses on Entrepreneurship. This focus on women and minorities is important, since these groups are often in lower paying industries, experience high failure rates, and often start ventures that do not grow. This course will have students focus on how we understand race, gender, or ethnicity in light of these trends, especially when being a minority or woman has historically been identified as a barrier to business success? This course will look at these factors and their influences and impacts on the entrepreneurial revolution here in the US and around the world. Everyone operating in today’s global marketplace must become aware of the nature of the marketplace and all the components and participants in that marketplace. Thus potential employees, would be managers and future entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to design and implement strategies to circumvent current restraints for minority and women entrepreneurs. Unfortunately a comprehensive look at the world today is often undermined by the limited emphasis on various curriculum areas—curriculum areas that need to contain a diverse perspective.
Fanny SöderbäckAssistant Professor of Philosophy
Course Title: Philosophy and Gender
Abstract: This course will examine the relationship between, and the making of, (biological) sex and (socially constructed) gender. It will tackle the question of how we are and become sexual beings, and critically explore the fluid boundary between the biological and the social. Are there, we will ask, essential differences between women and men; ones that we should embrace rather than reject? Or are differences between the genders merely an effect of patriarchal society, making the goal of feminism to eradicate such differences? If gender is made, can it be unmade? Are there two or multiple genders? Is our gender located in the body or is it psychological? The course would further awareness of diversity in multiple ways. First, it would make students more informed of the fact that philosophy as a discipline need not be abstract and “pure” in nature, and need not assume male subjectivity as the only viable philosophical position. In that same vein, students will be made aware that, while philosophy undoubtedly is a male dominated discipline, there are indeed female philosophers and they have had a huge impact on recent philosophical debates about seemingly abstract notions such as subjectivity, time and space, freedom, the mind-body dualism, or finitude. Finally, the course will offer frameworks for thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality in ways that inevitably will have positive impact on students’ awareness about sexism, homophobia, and other forms of structural oppression against women and gender variant folks.

Keith WilhiteAssistant Professor of English
Course Title: Literature and the Law
Abstract: Despite their apparent differences, the disciplines of literature and the law both rely on the power of language to organize, interpret, and articulate the intricacies of human affairs. Moreover, legal and literary discourses both share in the pursuit of justice, whether that justice be construed in historical, theoretical, or poetic terms. This proposed course will offer Siena students a chance to analyze and discuss literature’s engagement with questions of morality, ethics, individual responsibility, and relations of power in the modern and contemporary era. In an effort to promote a greater awareness of diversity, the course will prioritize marginalized or minority voices, investigating the ways in which the values, policies, and practices of justice are realized or, more often, under-realized across different strata of society. Through our course readings, students will investigate spaces that the law protects, regulates and, at times, neglects—such as Native American reservations, inner-city neighborhoods, and prison systems. Other readings will take up questions pertaining to women’s reproductive rights, the right to sexual privacy, and the censorship of “obscene” literary works.Finally, we will examine international voices that address issues of citizenship, ethnic identity, war crimes, indefinite detention, and reconciliation. Drawing on this wide assortment of topics, students will explore how literature constructs and questions concepts of justice and injustice, right and wrong, truth and falsehood across a range of historical periods and in diverse cultural contexts.