What Other Departments Could Learn from My Favourite KPU Course

(Samantha Mayes)

You won’t often see me racing down the narrow and crowded halls of KPU, itching to get a front row seat in class. I’m more of a “stroll in 10 minutes late with a venti chai latte and a dumbfounded look on my face as the instructor collects papers” type of student.

The fall 2016 semester changed all that. In a way, COMM 3100 “Media and Diversity” with Katie Warfield rebirthed me as a student. From the first week of class to the last, I found myself in constant conversation about the course, the material, the often heated in-class debates; everything about the course was so intoxicating.

I learned about my own intersectionality as a black, Muslim female and what that means in the times we’re living in. I battled with the notion that these identities I hold are not linear, but round and encompassing. I learned what it fully means to be autonomous, and how often autonomy is stripped from young women and girls through gender oppression.

We discussed feminist theory, engaged in discourse analysis, and debated patriarchy and matriarchy as social constructs, all the while having our minds fucking blown. Full disclosure— I’m a journalism and communications major, but I swear I’m not playing favorites.

Katie’s approach to teaching is what pulled me in the most. She let us govern ourselves and direct the conversation. It wasn’t uncommon for the class to veer off in an entirely different direction from the planned class discussion, and every time we did we found ourselves in unchartered territories, often having existential crises about anything and everything.

There was no stale regurgitating of PowerPoint notes. We had real, raw conversations about representation in the media and the importance of positive representation of marginalized peoples.

This class surpassed any expectations I could have had for a rockstar course. Other departments could stand to learn a thing or two from it. First and foremost: Honey, please, if you’re just going to read off the PowerPoint slides, I might as well stay home in my fleece pj’s and watch Rick and Morty, because I can do that myself.

Secondly, for love of God, engage us. Test our ability to be critical thinkers and prepare us for life outside of the classroom.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, encourage us. More than anything, this class gave me confidence as an intellectual. If you’re a journalism and communication major or minor, or even if you’re just looking for an elective to pick up, I highly recommend this course.


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