The Iowa Standard obtained copies of the course syllabus for each class offered in the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Iowa State University.
We’ll share some of the details from each syllabus. The first is for Rebecca Haroldson’s “Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies” class. The class was a spring course.
Right away, Haroldson lets students know her “pronouns” are she/her/hers. Later, she writes:
“Class rosters provided with each student’s legal name, but she will gladly honor requests to address students by an alternate name or gender pronoun.”
Course learning outcomes include increasing awareness of women’s history and experiences in the U.S. and around the world, analyzing feminist concepts and explanations for all forms of social inequality, understanding and questioning how family, culture and society shape them and their life experiences and describing the gender dynamics of relationships.
These outcomes are achieved “through student-driven discussion based on their engagement with critical and cultural texts by feminist scholars and activists,” the syllabus says.
Students are told that one of the premises of Women’s and Gender Studies is that “the personal is political.” It goes on to state:
“There is no reward or penalty for holding a particular set of beliefs in this class. It is however important to be clear about what we believe and why, and that we seek to understand alternative perspectives.”
Students are told their comments should be “factual, constructive and free from harassing statements.”
“You are encouraged to disagree with myself and your classmates in the course, but such disagreements need to be based upon facts and documentation, rather than prejudices and personalities.”
Materials for the course contain some “controversial topics,” it says. Those topics include violence, profane language and dealing with human sexuality.
“If these aspects are a problem for you, please reconsider taking this course,” it says.
Because of the nature of some topics, weekly material will deal explicitly with “domestic, racist, homophobic, gender-based and sexual violence.”
Students are warned against posting any course content on any website. If they do, they’ll be reported to the Dean of Students Office.
Haroldson, for what it’s worth, receives a 1.7 out of 5 on Rate My Professors.com. Just 14 percent of students who rated Haroldson said they would take her again. Here is some of what students have said about her:
“I would give her zero stars if I could. Horrible. Yikes.”
“Worst professor I’ve ever had. If you have any opinion that is not hers, be ready to be failed solely for your differences. DON’T TAKE HER CLASS.”
“Literally the worst professor ever I have ever seen. She herself doesn’t like other opinions.”
“She mainly shows documentaries and is really cold to her students.”
“Doesn’t like opinions other than hers or the textbooks.”
“Many points are deducted for original thoughts if not in agreement with her.”