The Reflective Woman (TRW) is an interdisciplinary course that develops academic skills using various frameworks from liberal arts disciplines. Emphasis is on developing critical thinking and reflective judgment (that is, the ability to see the relationship between evidence and belief, accept knowledge as contextual, compare and contrast evidence, and make judgments), along with effective communication skills and cultural analysis. Required common readings and assignments are designed so that every student grapples with multiple viewpoints and ways of knowing, feminist perspectives, and essential aspects of our Catholic identity. Sections of TRW are taught by faculty across all disciplines – both liberal arts and professional. Some sections are taught by Student Affairs staff with a minimum of a Master’s Degree. All instructors receive training in both the teaching of writing intensive courses and the required elements of TRW.
Required Class Elements
Student Learning Goals for TRW
As the first course in the Core Curriculum, The Reflective Woman launches liberal arts learning for students at St. Kate’s and incorporates aspects of the Goals of a Liberal Arts Education at SCU. Constructed around the belief that a common experience builds a stronger learning community and highlights our unique institutional mission, the goals of TRW are for each student to:
- Develop critical thinking and reflective judgment using various perspectives from the liberal arts traditions, while clarifying her own values.
- Identify and assume her role as an active member of the SCU community of scholars and learners and understand her responsibility to work toward justice as a member of various communities, as we all are citizens of a larger global community.
- Develop effective communication skills in writing, speaking, and artistic modes of expression, and develop and put into practice interpersonal, group, and cross-cultural communication skills and listening skills.
- Develop academic skills by accepting personal responsibility for her own learning, engaging in meaningful and effective group work, developing research skills (both technical and conceptual), improving college-level reading skills, and exhibiting personal and academic integrity.
- Learn to engage campus resources effectively, including the library, learning centers, computing services, faculty, staff and other students, information sources and student services
- Begin to develop the foundations and skills for lifelong learning: all purposeful learning activity, undertaken on an ongoing basis with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence
Common assignments and experiences:
- The Catherine Core Reader – required readings are noted in the Syllabus Checklist
- Critical Reflections – informal writing that works to develop critical reading skills (8-12 assigned)
- Formal Writing Assignments – including the “interview paper” and the “structured controversy” or research paper
Other Common Assignments – described in the Syllabus Checklist.
- Artistic Expression of Self Library instruction
- Information Literacy/Library Instruction
- Exploring Truth through the Arts
- Exploring Community Membership
- Public or Community Art Activity
- Core Convocation – attendance required at one Core Convocation
- GSJ Justice Symposium – attendance required (Day students attend the event on the 2nd to the last Thursday of the semester and Evening/Weekend/Online students view the presentations of the Core Projects D2L site).
Inclusion of writing intensive requirements:
As the first of four required Writing Intensive courses, all TRW sections must adhere to the requirements for WI courses, including:
- Writing is significant portion of grade (at least 30%)
- Students engage in a variety of writing types (formal and informal, short and long)
- 10-15 pages of graded formal writing
- Attention is given to the writing process
- Required drafts with peer review and instructor feedback
- The Bedford Handbook is used
- Requirement of the use of a document style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).
Common Assessment Elements:
- Pre and Post Writing Assessment Essays (see prompt provided by the Director of Writing Intensive Programs)
- Portfolio of all work in the course, including critical reflections; formal papers with drafts, feedback and grades; final reflection; course syllabus.
- Final Reflection: All TRW students are required to submit a final reflection paper covering the following questions
Materials for Core Instructors
Liberal Arts Goals in TRW – mapping St. Kate's liberal arts goals to TRW
Reflective Judgment Model – outlines stages of development of complex reasoning skills for adolescents and adults. The model considers how individual values, conceptualizations and assumptions influence personal reasoning in complex issues.
Service-Learning in Core – report from Core Workshop presented by Community Work and Learning about service-learning and the core curriculum.
Teaching Evaluation Forms
Student Perceptions of Teaching Effectiveness - PART I (TRW & GSJ) Includes 17 required and 3 optional GSJ questions for faculty evaluation form.
Evaluation of Teaching/Learning Process - PART II (TRW and GSJ)
Evaluation of Teaching/Learning Process - Part III (TRW only)
What Happens at the End of the TRW Course
Send the Core Office an electronic copy of your syllabus, assignments, and course schedule. During the last class, students are required to do the faculty/course evaluations. Evaluations are administered online unless an instructor specifically requests the paper version. Copies of all student final reflections papers are sent to the Core Office. (Copies should include your comments to the students, student's name removed and your name removed if included on the paper.)
Instructors receive an email from the Core Office towards the end of the term reminding them of what needs to be sent in, what will be coming to them, and other miscellaneous important information. Please watch for emails from the Core Office.