WKU has a number of fabulous part-time faculty members. We want to celebrate their contribution to the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. Find below some information about their backgrounds and passion for teaching.
Jennifer Jameson is one of the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology's wonderful part-time teachers. She currently teaches a section of the undergraduate class Cultural Diversity in the US (FLK 280). Jennifer was originally from San Diego, California, and studied folklore and ethnomusicology at Indiana University as an undergraduate. Here, she has focused on developing her training in public sector folklore work, with a focus in museums. Her research interests tend to focus on material culture, folk art and assemblage, folk belief, and American traditional musics as well as those who collect and document music and musical cultures.
This is what Jennifer Jameson has to says about her experience as a teacher. "I enjoy finding ways for my students to begin to think about folklore and cultural expressive traditions in new and different ways. I aim to help them see the creativity in everyday life, and recognize that culture and aesthetics can shape and inform all that they do. I assisted Dr. Tim Evans during my first year of the program, and he gave me the opportunity to lecture in a few of his classes. This led to my receiving the first Graduate Teaching Associate position for our M.A. program in Folk Studies. I've really enjoyed being on the other side of the podium, and I've learned quite a lot from my students, as they happen to be very interesting and bright folks. In the fall, I taught a course on Urban Folklore. This spring brings new and purposeful adventures, as my Cultural Diversity in the U.S. course is participating in a service-learning program where students partner with local immigrant and refugee organizations--forming a truly dynamic cultural exchange."
Molly Bolick is another of the department's fine part-time faculty members. She also teaches a section of the undergraduate class Cultural Diversity in the US (FLK 280).
Teaching is new for Molly, but she has really taken to it. "I came to teaching this course from my experience volunteer teaching ESL at the Bowling Green International Center last spring, where I taught 25-30 adults at the Advanced Beginner Level. This was my first experience ever as a teacher, and it was an extreme learning curve! I loved it, and then last fall became a Teaching Assistant with Nadia DeLeon in her Cultural Diversity course as my assistantship with Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology. It was a great experience and I was so happy to be able to do it."
Molly has tried to make her section of Cultural Diversity her own. "In my course, I approach diversity as the way in which different Americans live their individual lives and collective experiences in a globalized world. I wanted to focus on the differences of various American experiences in everyday life, rather than more of a straight-forward history of diversity in America. I especially wanted to pay special attention to the contemporary lives of immigrant and refugee populations, the newcomer Americans. I try to make the class as discussion-based as possible and encourage story-sharing. My students are awesome so far and every day I learn something new and interesting from them. My course has been challenging for me from the beginning, from course planning, set-up, and just generally becoming aware of how to teach at the university level. One of these days, I know I will be able to successfully remember to make copies double sided before I hand them out to my class."
Service-learning is very important to Molly. She has been collaborating with Dr. Evans, Jennifer, and Nadia on the The $100 Solution™ Multicultural Service-Learning Program: "My students also have the option to participate in a Service-Learning project, where they can partner with local immigrant and refugee families in cross-cultural learning for them, and American cultural competency for the families. Students also work to employ $100 Solution projects, which are organized by the ALIVE Center, in which they apply for a grant and collaborate with families to sustainably make a difference with $100."
Nadia De Leon
A graduate of the Folk Studies graduate program, Nadia De Leon teaches Cultural Diversity in the US (FLK 280) for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology as an adjunct part-time faculty. She also coordinates campus and community partnerships, and is the Community Engagement Coordinator at the ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. In addition, she is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with emphasis in Post-Secondary Education and Organizational Leadership. If that wasn't enough, Nadia is also a professionally trained dancer, choreographer, instructor, and producer. Among her many honors and awards, in 2011 Nadia received a Women of Achievement Award in the arts category by the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission.
Nadia said: "I am an educator at heart, and I enjoy the kind of hands-on work that addresses the needs of people, not just their traditions, and helps bring about positive social change. I work to coordinate multicultural services, engaged scholarship opportunities, and community development efforts. My job and many personal endeavors keep me connected to the arts and non-profit worlds, as well as to the needs and assets of diverse communities – particularly immigrants and refugees. Being a public folklorist helps me frame my work and existence. I am interested in researching and understanding folklore, but also invested in finding ways in which a community's traditions can help sustain or improve its quality of life."
Service-learning is dear to Nadia's heart and informs her teaching philosophy. Since the Spring of 2011, Nadia's sections of Cultural Diversity in the U.S., along with Dr. Evan's, Molly's, and Jennifer's, have been conducting The $100 Solution™ service-learning projects to benefit and learn from immigrant and refugee families. The projects were coordinated in partnership with the Bowling Green International Center, The Center for Development, Acculturation and Resolution Services (CEDARS), and the WKU ALIVE Center for Community Partnerships. This semester is the biggest it has ever been with four sections involved, 17 families and 85 students!
Of the project, Nadia said, "The goal of the project was to create meaningful interaction between the students and the families. All the student projects and experiences were a success. The student service-learning projects helped meet some of the needs of the partner families as well as learning objectives for the students."
Here is one student's reaction to the project, which relefects many of the students' reactions: "This project made each of us feel uncomfortable at times, and it made each of us feel frustrated, but most importantly, by the end of it all it made each of us feel like we had made a difference. We have taken away such joy from helping our partner and setting the building block for future refugees. This project has taught us to accept others regardless of the differences we may have, for everyone has things in common. And it has also cleared up many misconceptions we've had about people from other cultures."
Dr. Christopher Antonsen
Christopher Antonsen began teaching in 1989 as a part-time faculty member at WKU while working on his M.A. in Folk Studies. While he pursued his Ph.D. at Ohio State University, he continued teaching literature and folklore courses. Also while at OSU, he and fellow folklorist Larry Doyle founded the AFS Graduate Student Section.
In 2001, Chris returned to WKU as a full-time professor teaching Cultural Diversity in the U.S., Urban Folklore, Ethnographic Research Methods, Folk Narrative, and Folklore Genres. He was also the founding faculty advisor for the WKU Folklore Club and an active member of the Women's Studies faculty.
Two years later, Chris began teaching web-delivered courses for WKU. He says that he loves teaching online courses, which require much more intensive forms of preparation and "class time" management. His approach to teaching Cultural Diversity "boils down to a specific focus on the nature and mechanics of culture itself. Exploring types of difference, then, functions to reveal and reinforce the fundamental understanding that all people are cultural beings and, as such, interpret the world around them according to the beliefs and priorities of cultures that influence them."
In 2009, Chris left Bowling Green and switched to teaching online classes for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology part-time. In addition, he now teaches middle school literature and composition full time at Countryside School in Champaign, Illinois, his wife's and his home town. Little did he realize it before taking that job, but he absolutely loves teaching and spending time with learners at that age. As one should be able to expect, though, he slyly (and often not so slyly) works folklore into his middle school literature curriculum. Folklore is, after all, everywhere.
Born and raised in Louisville, Alice Shaughnessy-Begay is a graduate of the WKU Folk Studies graduate program, where she focused on Health Belief Systems and Folk Medicine. She now teaches the undergraduate class Cultural Diversity in the US for the Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology as an adjunct part-time faculty.
Teaching Cultural Diversity in the US offers Alice the opportunity to engage students in the commonwealth of cultures in the U.S. She says that she arranges her classrooms to create a talking circle, allowing students direct engagement with each other. Her teaching approach also includes class activities outside the classroom, saying that "The $100 Solution service learning project is an exciting addition to the study of cultural diversity at WKU." One of the challenges that Alice faces is keeping her students focused during her evening classes, "I wish I could serve supper with this course; most students complain of being hungry."
Her work for WKU is not the only thing that fills Alice's time. Alice is a registered nurse and works in a rural health clinic in western Kentucky. With her husband, she co-owns a non-emergency medical ground transportation company on the Navajo Nation. She says that living and working among the Navajo people has been a wonderful experience and has enhanced her understanding of identity and worldview. In addition to her other jobs, Shaughnessy-Begay is also a speaker for the Kentucky Humanities Counsel, a freelance writer for The Record Newspaper in Grayson County, a member of the Kentucky Women in Agriculture, a Master Gardener for the state of Kentucky, and writes creative non-fiction and fiction.