The final class of the major gives students the opportunity to produce their own interdisciplinary research project around compelling issues in feminist studies and provides a cohort experience for each graduating class. Students are assessed in terms of their reflections on the major, which both assesses their grasp of this interdisciplinary field and helps the faculty to understand the students’ evaluation of the major as a whole. Students also produce a portfolio to allow them to produce a final project not just for the course but for the Women’s Studies major.
Some years, the course requires a portfolio. The portfolio includes a meditative statement (4-5 pages) demonstrating critical thinking about the materials in the portfolio indicating a theoretical intent. Other components of the portfolio (10-15 pages or their equivalent) include: a syllabus for a GSFS course, a new or revised academic paper that takes intellectual shape around the issues covered in this course, an oral history, a performance piece, a media project, or a critical travelogue. In the early part of the course, students meet with the professor prior to submitting a prospectus outlining plans for the portfolio.
In addition to the portfolio, students participate in both class discussion and campus events aimed at deepening understanding of GSFS as an interdisciplinary field. They work in collaborative teams to prepare questions and lead class discussion as part of the participation component of the course. This allows them to assess collectively on their values, attitudes, and beliefs as they have been influenced by their interdisciplinary work in GSFS. Some professors teaching the course require community service thus activating the more practical response to the academic sphere of the major and demonstrating how they have achieved skills in effective problem solving. By assessing the shortfalls of these techniques through reading critical literature that alerts the students and the faculty to potential pitfalls, the problem solving framework is often revealed to be problematic in itself.
- Performances: A drag competition, highlighting understanding of gender performance, is held every year and judged by graduate students and associates of the Program. The relative sophisticated understanding of contemporary theories of performance is gauged through the student performance and their own narrative about how they understand the function of their performance.
- Honors Thesis: Some students pursue an Honors Thesis, which includes input from and assessment by many members of the faculty. Students make public presentations of their work before graduation each year. Professors from multiple disciplinary backgrounds read the work and assess whether it is both responsible to the disciplinary protocols, and whether the range of approaches is adequate to the topic.
- Presentation to Alumni Undergraduates: Alongside graduate students and faculty members, students have presented to the alumnae of GSFS for the last few years on GSFS today.
- Faculty Assessment of Interdisciplinary Skills: Because each faculty member has different disciplinary training, an assessment of the skills of the student as they pass though the major allows us to evaluate the relative success of earlier disciplinary and interdisciplinary training and responsibility. This includes ratings of student skills by experts in a variety of fields and in interdisciplinary terms.
Reports Regarding Assessment Findings
In order to respect confidentiality, advisors do not share discussions with students, but, when there is a perceived problem, will assess papers from a variety of GSFS courses to assess the various skills of critical thinking, writing, historical and theoretical understanding through the deployment and critical evaluation of materials discussed. The advisor along with the DUS and the DUS assistant will encourage students to retain a portfolio of their papers from all Women’s Studies courses to reflect on and ultimately to represent the trajectory of the careers so students receive feedback at every turn.