Using AAUW Online Resources in the Classroom

July 26, 2013

While you think about applying for educational funding and campus leadership programs in the fall, we hope that you’ll also consider other ways that AAUW can support your campus. Our research and other resources may be the perfect addition to syllabi, class discussions, or student projects. I had a chance to catch up with a college student and an instructor about how AAUW resources can play a role in the classroom.

Samah Asfour is president of the AAUW student organization at the University of Buffalo. She will start her junior year this fall and majors in political science and global gender studies.

Michael Reis is a doctoral student in the Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development Department at the University of Minnesota, where he has also served as the primary instructor for a course on gender equity in higher education. His research interests include campus climate, culturally responsive curricula, and the use of data metrics and analytics in administrative decision-making.

When looking at AAUW resources like research reports, online articles, and public policy briefs, what’s the first thing that enters your mind?

Asfour: The resources on the AAUW website are very helpful. The first thing I noticed was the organization of the different topics … When I am researching for a class assignment I only use sources that have their topics set up in an organized manner. It makes it easier.

Reis: One of the chief challenges of designing a syllabus is determining which topics are most crucial to cover. AAUW resources can help sharpen the focus of a course by offering some perspective on what topics are currently shaping the field, allowing an instructor to easily look outside their own department, professional network, and research agenda. Because AAUW’s resources are so grounded in the experiences and challenges of its constituency, I can check my syllabus against reports and policy papers to make sure I’m covering topics that are affecting women and LGBTQ people working in and attending institutions of higher education.

Have you considered using the AAUW website before for school projects?

Asfour: Quite frankly, I have not even considered using the website prior to this because of lack of knowledge. I simply did not know that AAUW offered so much useful and reliable information and data.

Are there past instances where these resources would have come in handy — either for courses that you’ve taken or courses that you’ve taught?

Reis: For my course on gender equity, I used the report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM] when discussing pay equity and governance concerns in higher education and in STEM specifically. The report laid out the issue in a very clear and persuasive way and was a great supplement to the peer-reviewed journal articles that offered complementary research or theoretical explanations for the same topic. One of the things I like about using reports from advocacy organizations or other institutions is that it helps ground the topic in practical, real-life examples, either from the institution itself or from the lives of the people that organizations represent.

Would you consider using AAUW resources for your future syllabi?

Reis: The online directory of cases, statistics, and other examples is very rich and useful for a case-based pedagogy. As someone who teaches master’s students in particular, ones who will hold positions in student affairs or other administrative units, I think it’s important to provide them with practical examples so that they can start thinking about how they will apply their education in their future careers.

Are there any events or programs that you would use these resources for?

Asfour: Yes, I am the president of the University of Buffalo’s AAUW student organization. I will undoubtedly use AAUW’s resources to entice other college women to join our chapter and to use the online resources. I will also use AAUW’s information on the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders as a form of advertising.

Reis: When working for the Women’s Faculty Cabinet at the University of Minnesota, we held roundtables about issues affecting university women. The statistics and reports available on the AAUW website could certainly add important context for many of these topics.

Are you teaching or taking a college course this semester? You may want to think about the different AAUW resources that are available to you online. You can access research on topics like the pay gap and sexual harassment in grades 7–12 and on college campuses. Instructors may also want to use recordings of the research report panels and PowerPoint presentations on Graduating to a Pay Gap and Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success.

Students and faculty should also take advantage of the extensive Legal Advocacy Fund online resource library and public policy position papers. Online articles and blogs, spanning a wide variety of gender equity topics from economic security to reproductive rights to social justice, can easily provide a starting point for in-person and online class discussions.

Not sure where to get started? E-mail for advice and support on using AAUW in the classroom.

Paige Robnett By:   |   July 26, 2013