Detailed Faculty Activity Report: Jeanne Curran, October 16, 2000

In no more than four (4) typewritten pages using 12-point type and one-inch margins, provide information on your activities, contributions, and accomplishments in the following areas, for the period covered by this report.

  1. Teaching & Contributions to Student Development/Other Primary Work Assignment
    1. Courses Taught and Enrollment by Term:
      • Fall 1999:
        • Soc. 220-01, Statistics: 30
        • Soc. 328-01, Agencies: 56
        • Soc. 367-01, Sociology of Law: 40
        • Soc. 368-01, Criminology: 48
      • Spring 2000:
        • Soc. 220-01, Statistics: 52
        • Soc. 369-02, Juvenile Dellinquency: 50
        • Soc. 395-01, Women and Crime: 32
        • Soc. 395-03, Love 1A: 75

    2. Student Evaluations of Teaching
    3. My student evaluations, on the PTR evaluations, were mostly in the top two categories, with rare dissatisfaction. But students' personal comments and expressions of joy and of frustration helped me see that I was treating students as though they were all alike, fungible. In 1999-2000 I began in earnest to experiment with removing structural violence from my teaching, which means that I tried to treat students as people, as co-learners instead of adversaries. This imposed new constraints on my thinking: if students did not perform effectively, I considered the possibility that they did not know what I wanted of them, but were willing to perform, if they could understand how. Students so well understood and appreciated this approach that they amazed me by the extent to which they responded. One student kept shaking her head in amazement at how much more she reads without structural violence, and how much more fun it is.

      A Wisconsin student wrote in late Spring to tell me of her new job after graduating from University of Wisconsin, Parkside, even though we had never met face-to-face before the Western Social Science Meetings in San Diego. She still stays in touch, as do my own students.

    4. Changes in Teaching Approach
    5. To accomplish these changes in teaching style, I used my recent research on structural violence. Structural violence has no specific perpetrator and is generally effected bureaucratically through the invariant application of rules. The concept of structural violence in teaching came to me, when a colleague announced cryptically in a peacemaking criminology session, "It is structurally violent to be absent." Well, yes, but how much more that applied to school as I had come to know it. We are structurally violent when we fail to acknowledge the interdependence of the student's and the teacher's perspective.

      In 1999-2000 I used the Dear Habermas Website to explore new means of interactivity that I hoped would lead both me and students to be more effectively "present," and help us both into more genuine collegial efforts. Through our collective efforts, we took a dozen students to annual meetings of the Western Social Science Association in San Diego, and were invited back this year. We discovered the delight of short quizzes given for your own assessment, not used to "judge" and affix a grade to students. It took me the better part of 1999-2000, but at this point the students and I can pretty much agree on effective ways to learn and to let your teacher know that you have learned, including writing in large classes. Putting my research into practice has made a tremendous difference: my teaching is far more satisfying.

    6. Advising, Supervision, and Similar Activities.
    7. Because I realized that I could not be structurally violent with students I knew, I spent much more time in 1999-2000 in my office, communicating with students. One of the ways I evaluate their learning is by talking to them about what we are learning. I was amazed at how little students were used to talking to us. To make myself more accessible, I began to schedule small workshops, planning sessions, and keep to my office three days a week, when not in class. Students came. We re-instated Project Ask, through which students are invited to ask for help. This culminated with formal review sessions for qualifying exams with our graduate students.

      The extra contact time also led to Field Trips around all of Los Angeles County, to museums, to theaters, to galleries, to libraries, and to sharing our families and friends on week ends. And to written reports online of those field trips, which often led us to engage in community art projects, now waiting to be displayed at school. Now I know little brothers, children, husbands, girl friends, mothers and grandchildren of many of my students. That makes me much more conscious of the structural violence of bureaucratic rules, for I know my students as real people.

  2. Scholarly/Creative Activities and Professional Development/Practice 
    1. Dear Habermas Website:
    2. Expansion of the Website to include Dwight Roth at Hesston College, Charles Notess with a forum for Senior Adudlts in Colorado, and Hal Pepinsky at Indiana University, in addition to Susan Takata at the University of Wisconisn, Parkside. This preliminary expansion has permitted us to explore ways to effectively include our students in broader academic discourse.

      That other teachers, at many levels, from around the country, are joining us, suggests that we are indeed discovering new channels for networking academic discourse. With the site we are learning to use the precious time we have in face-to-face interaction for shared discussions, rather than lectures, and to use our writing to enhance the face-to-face time we manage.

    3. Professional Papers Presented:
    4. Turning the Undergraduate Moot Court Experience from Adversarial to Collaborative in a Fourteen-Year Funded Program, American Political Science Association Meetings. Washington D.C. This paper was accepted in Spring 2000, and gave me the opportunity to study more closely the connection between Moot Court and Peacemaking Approaches to Adversarialism.

      Papers were also presented at the American Society of Criminology, The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Western Social Sciences Association, and the American Sociological Association Meetings in 1999-2000. We took a dozen students from CSUDH and UWP with us. Susan Takata and I find that at this stage of our career, it matters more to introduce our students to the professional associations and to create a climate that supports their participation.

    5. Work in Progress
    6. Justice Studies Association. Was elected to the Executive Council, and designed and put up their new Web Page.

  3. University & Community Service
    1. Department Committees/Service
      • Served on AKD in 1999-2000.
      • Served on the curricular committee.
      • Served on the Women's Center Committee

    2. College, University, Systemwide Committees/Service
      • Served on the Women's Studies Committee
      • Worked with the Women's Resource Center to bring a Town Hall Forum to students in May 2000.
      • Attend and support the functions of the Black Faculty and Staff.

    3. Professional Service Activities
      • Created and maintained the listserv for Women in Crime Section of American Society of Criminology.
      • Worked cooperatively in Spring 2000 with Political Scientists on Moot Court.
      • On Executive Council of Justice Studies Association.

    4. Community Service Activities
      • Set up cooperative site with Charlie Notess, retired professor of sociology, who teaches workshops for senior adults in Colorado. Am setting up procedures for him to test workshops with our students.
      • Work with local museums to produce effective workshops for our students on field trips.

    I do wish to be considered for a Faculty Merit Increase (FMI).
    Do you want your Faculty Activity Report placed in your Personnel Action File?   Yes  
    Do you want your FMI decision notice placed in your Personnel Action File?  Yes  

    Faculty Member's Signature                         Date