Professors cancel the Women Studies survey

by Alicia Jennings | 7/6/94 5:00am

The Women's Studies program canceled plans last term for a survey to study diversity in Dartmouth classrooms after the program's directors decided the survey would not provide accurate information.

The survey, scheduled to be given last winter, was funded by the Bildner Endowment. The money from will now be used to fund a previously planned series of workshops examining multicultural issues in the classroom.

The Women's Studies Program planned to use the survey to examine multicultural and diversity issues in the classroom and included workshops organized by the three authors, according to Spanish Professor Diana Taylor, co-chair of the Women's Studies Program.

English Professor Ivy Schweitzer is the program's other co-chair.

The three authors of the survey were Taylor, Schweitzer and Women's Studies Coordinator Anne Brooks.

"It turned out to be a terrible survey," Taylor said. "It was not giving useful answers for enhancing multicultural curriculum."

The authors of the survey hoped to pinpoint areas of concern about diversity in the classroom, Taylor said. The authors also planned to compare the diversity of the Women's Studies curriculum with other disciplines.

Taylor said the scale used to gauge student response was inaccurate and the survey was "repetitive" because of its comparative nature.

The survey asked students various questions and they could choose answers on a scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree."

The authors spent the Fall term revising the survey, but decided to cancel the survey in Winter term because of its flaws, Taylor said.

The three authors received a grant from the Bildner Endowment to examine how the program could create a more multicultural and inclusive curriculum, Taylor said.

Although the survey has been abandoned, the group is still working to schedule one workshop in the fall, Schweitzer said.

Brooks was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The workshop will focus on how to discuss, teach and design a course to include multicultural issues, she said.

Taylor said the group is hoping to schedule a second workshop during the Spring term.

Schweitzer said the Women's Studies Program has invited several speakers who have previously lectured at Dartmouth to run the workshops for the Women Studies Program's faculty members.

Possible speakers include Jean Wu, Rosemary Curb and Marsha Darling, Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer said the survey could be reworked depending on the interests and expertise of the selected workshop leader.

Although the one- or two-day workshop will be open only to the faculty of the Women's Studies Program, Taylor said the authors hope to have other events in conjunction with the workshops. Ideas for these events include lectures and panels for interested students, administrators and faculty from other departments.

Taylor said she hopes the workshop program will continue in the spring with wider participation and grow each year.

She said the program will expose interested professors to the importance of multicultural issues.

Schweitzer said the workshops would give professors the tools to develop multicultural curriculum. She said the authors hope for those professors to pass on the information to their colleagues.

The Women's Studies Department applied for the Bildner grant in 1993, but the money was not spent because of scheduling problems.

The Bildner Grant was awarded to the College to fund projects examining inter-group relations.

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