Seas Reading Response

The Seas article and the theory of ecology reminded me a lot of actor-network theory and affect theory in Anthropology. Actor-network theory is a social theory influenced by the hard sciences; an interaction of agency within a network (objects, animals, people, etc. are all agents in this). Actors are agents, and networks are structure and interactions etc. Affect theory is the theory that visceral forces that influence our thinking and judgements even though they are non-cognitive and and noncorporeal. Affect theory especially problemetizes anthropology and discussions of autonomy. I know the Seas piece was not really about the theories, but since I studied these first, my understanding of the piece is through them, and my understanding of ecological theory is again filtered through my understanding of these two anthropological theories.

That being said, I trying to understand the ecologies or networks between my group, the Lifetime Fitness staff, and the administration would really be beneficial to us. We have already been trying to navigate the ecology surrounding our issue, even if we’ve not been calling it that. There are aspects to the administrative side of the class that we had not previously known, such as the CPC review. We are trying to figure out all the angels we can use to approach the subject, so that we can formulate a much more informed argument. In being able to  navigate the different ecologies and let your argument evolve based on what you find, the interactions you’ve had, and so on, we would then have much stronger and effective rhetoric.

Also, previous articles already made it clear that we should be careful in how we communicate with our stakeholder(s). Seas reinforced that idea of careful comminication. For Seas though, the communication was not so much about not offending your stakeholder and more about increasing the effectiveness of your rhetoric; although in reality not offending your stakeholder and increasing the effectiveness of you rhetoric work towards achieving the same goal.

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Questions for Serenity

Serenity is a Transy alum and former faculty, so she could give us some perspective on how Lifetime Fitness has already progressed. For that reason, my questions are really about Lifetime Fitness.

  1. What was Lifetime Fitness like when you were enrolled here? What were the focuses of the class? and if you can remember, what were the course objectives?
  2. What were your thoughts/feelings/experiences with the course?
  3. How do you think other students were perceiving the course?
  4. The course was recently under review, do you know anything about what changes were made then? Do you know what issues were addressed in the review?

Questions for Teddy

We read two pieces for today, one from Cassie Barnhardt and one be Georgianna Martin.

  • In the Barnhardt piece, she said that tactics usually resonate more when they create disruption. Based on what you’ve seen and done, to what extent is this true?
  • The Maxine piece said that no matter the level that student activism occurs, activists are visible. I found this statement to be a little questionable anyways because I feel like it’s worded to seem like an absolute. Anyways, have you found that activists are always visible, or are there times you’ve felt invisible as an activist?

May 3 Response

Student activism can take many forms, but it seems, based on the Kezar & Maxey piece, the Heller article, and some other news articles, student activism today typically takes form in protests, rallies, marches, etc. Of course, this media representation could be because these forms of student activism are the loudest and the most visible. Casey Smith, a correspondent for USA Today wrote an article much like the other two, where they reviewed several different universities and highlighted the kinds of activism they saw. Smith interviewed Angus Johnston, a professor at City University in New York. Johnston said, “In the last two to four years, we’ve seen protests on campuses where there haven’t been in a very long time, we’ve seen marches and rallies at traditional activist campuses drawing in a lot more students than they have in the past.” (Smith). I think that Smith, through Johnston, makes a pretty important point with this; student activism is on the rise.

After this introduction, Smith explores various campuses and details the forms of activism seen. However, the examples given aren’t always a protest or a march as student activism can take other forms. For example, activists at Kent State started a student organization for sexual assault awareness; Ball State has a Progressive Student Alliance (another institution approved student activist organization) that is an activists group that fights for student raised issues;  students at the University of New Mexico formed an activist group to demand more Native American recognition and rights.

I think the important thing to note about each of these examples is that while they are trying to make a change, they are doing so in such a way that they are still playing by the rules of their respective institutions. I’m not sure that creating an organization would help with my groups project, but the willingness to negotiate, to participate in the institutional structure is definitely something that could be beneficial. And while some of these examples of student activism may not be so applicable to the Lifetime Fitness reform, I think they’d be interesting for other groups to look into as they continue their research. Also, the Smith article started out talking about protests, and I think that definitely would not be helpful to m groups project. Protests don’t happen a lot at Transy, and I think it’d be overkill to try and start one. Even if the Lifetime Fitness issue is ignored by administration and never brought back under review, I highly doubt this is big enough that students here be rally around a protest.

Smith, Casey. “Is This the Golden Age of College Student Activism?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 23 Mar. 2017. Web. 03 May 2017.

May 2nd Reading Response

Kezar and Maxey:

The article had one quote in the beginning that said, “The activism of the 1960s demonstrated the potential of activism to foster a sense of democratic participation and to help students explore ways to shape local, regional, and national politics as well as social norms,” (31). This quote really hit me because I feel like that sense of democratic participation is what is missing on our campus. I feel like so many of our projects are dealing with this is one way or another, but if the article is to be believed, this class is something that can help foster that sense of democratic participation.

As I was reading the article, I noted that the information that was written on page 32 was almost exactly like what we have don in class so far; however, as I continued my reading, this text as a whole seemed to describe what all we have been doing in class, and what I’m assuming we will do in the future. This text kind of gave my an idea of what steps we should take next and as we continue to work toward our goals. It also provided some insight in how to garner support of both people affected and the stakeholders. I think also, one of the more important parts of this text was that it gave me a stronger sense of the faculty side of student activism, both as stakeholders or as a faculty member involved in the project.

Lastly, in one of the examples, one of the professors had an anecdote about it taking ten years to complete a project. What this tells me is that even if my groups project is not completely resolved by the end of May Term, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed. A project can take a long time, and we could very well do a lot in simply getting the conversation started between the students, the Lifetime Fitness instructors, and administration.

Heller:

The Heller article was rather long, so I’m going to condense this down to some lesson that I learned while reading this article.

  1. It’s important to consider others’ ideas and listen to what other people want. We want to make a system that works for everybody, so we should tr as best we can to listen to everybody. (Bautista section).
  2. We should be careful in how we approach the faculty, and we should be understanding of their perspectives; after all, we are wanting to value multiple perspectives in our project anyways. This I just pulled from multiple professors not quite understanding what their students wanted.
  3. Millennials focus a lot on intersectionality, and our Lifetime Fitness reform is no different in that respect. We should make sure to show we understand intersectionality and show why it is important. I think also that making the Lifetime Fitness curriculum a little more intersection would help it better achieve liberal arts ideals.
  4. Don’t be nonnegotiable. It is not useful, and it’s standoffish. It may get a conversation started, but it will do little more. This goes back to being understanding and having a respectful approach. (Inspired by Krislov part).

Stakeholder Investigation

1. Stakeholders

  • Lifetime Fitness Instructors
  • Ashley Hill- The Director of Student Wellbeing
  • Dean Covert- Dean of Students
  • Dean Bryan- Dean of University/ Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • Dean Cairo- Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
  • Erin Foglesong- Administrative Assistant/ Health and Wellness Health Educator
  • Dr. Holly Sheilley- Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life
  • Parvis Zartoshty- Executive Assistant to the VP of Enrollment and Student Life
  • Nick Reuss- Head Athletic Trainer

2. Divisions and Hierarchies

  • Academic: Dean Bryan –> Dean Cairo –> Lifetime Fitness Instructors
  • Student Life: Dean Covert –> Ashley Hill, Erin Foglesong
  • Athletics: Holly Sheilley –> Nick Reuss, Parvis Zartoshty

3. How the Stakeholders Will React

I honestly don’t know how they’ll react to this. However, some of them, such as Dean Bryan, Dean Covert, and Holly Sheilley may be a little more difficult to get in touch with. The Lifetime Fitness instructors may not react well to this, so we’d have to be careful in how we present to them.

4. Concerns Stakeholders May Have

They may be concerned that students will not learn a “healthy” lifestyle if we change the the class and how it is taught.

5. Risks of the Stakeholders

I guess there is a risk that the Lifetime Fitness instructors will not like what we have to say, and if our project is approved, they may not consent to go along with it. That would create some issues for sure, and since a lot of the instructors are part-time or adjunct, they really would not have enough job security to go against the wishes of the administration.

6. Risks to Myself

I have not taken Lifetime yet, so I risk offending a possible future instructor. That is the only real issue I may face in this project.

Pitch Proposal

I would like to focus on improving Transylvania’s relationship with the immediate community during this May Term. We tend to stereotype and ignore the community surrounding campus, and it is highly problematic to have “Community Engagements” or “Engagement Through the Arts” programs when we are still not really engaged. Transy is a point of privilege in the eyes of surrounding neighborhoods, and in only engaging with other privileged groups, we only limit ourselves and further the gap between us and our neighbors. Not to mention, Transylvania tries to buy land surrounding in efforts to “clean up” the neighborhoods. This institution is taking part in gentrification, and it is time to stop that and create more positive relations with our closest neighbors.

This issue would not be completely resolved by the end of May Term because it is the type of thing that could always be improved; however, a lot of the issue here is that a lot of people don’t really know that this is happening. Or people know, but it’s an issue that has been easy to ignore. With that being said, a big part of solving this is drawing attention to it, making people aware of how they are stereotyping, and being stereotyped. We need to figure out more ways for us to be more open to the community, while still keeping safe.

This project would give students the opportunity to meet new people and learn new perspectives. It would not only help Transy’s community but also the community surrounding us.