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Diversity & Community Studies


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Dr. Jane Olmsted
(SRSC 515, 525, & 590)
Personal Webpage
jane.olmsted@wku.edu

I'm the coordinator and advisor of the Social Responsibility & Sustainable Communities Master's program, and department head of Diversity & Community Studies, which houses the SRSC, along with African American Studies, the Center for Citizenship & Social Justice, Gender & Women’s Studies.

The SRSC is a partial cohort program, which means that most of our students move through the degree requirements together (some may take longer due to life circumstances). The core courses emphasize our three themes—social justice, sustainability, and community studies—and the electives allow students to emphasize areas of interest—gender, community studies, leadership, the environment, and (crucially) sustainability as it relates to social networks and long-range, ethically sound thinking.

It's conventional wisdom that "online courses can't replace f2f courses." Maybe, but online courses offer many benefits—if they're done right. I enjoy the range of students we get in our online programs—from all over the country and with widely divergent backgrounds and interests. Our discussions are challenging and stimulating. As someone trained in literary studies, I've also been impressed with how well our written discussions proceed—reflection, response, questioning, disagreeing, changing—it's very rewarding.

I earned a Ph.D. in English, with a minor in feminist studies, at the University of Minnesota, in 1996. My scholarly work has focused on African American and Native American literature, with an emphasis on race and gender, and I have articles in Contemporary Literature and African American Review, and another about Langston Hughes' fiction that originally appeared in Black Orpheus and was reprinted in Short Story Criticism. My colleague Elizabeth Oakes and I founded and edited the Kentucky Feminist Writers Series, which led to three volumes, of poetry, fiction, and life writing: Writing Who We Are, Telling Stories and I to I.

I love my profession and believe strongly that social change is best served by people with a sound education, with a keen understanding of how gender, race, class, and other elements of difference shape us as individuals and the worlds in which we live. My poetry collection, Seeking the Other Side, was published by Fleur de Lis Press in 2015. I keep a blog at http:www.janeolmsted/wordpress.com.

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 Last Modified 2/1/18