By: CHRISTINA CLARK
Kicking off a public forum series, April Lidinsky, department head of Women’s and Gender Studies at IU South Bend, looks forward to breaking down barriers and assumptions about the field. The Women’s and Gender Studies Public Forum series for 2018-2019 kicks off on October 5, at noon, for an hour-long forum titled “Adventures in Teaching Human Sexuality to Undergraduates.” Two speakers, Anne Drake, of Academic Support Services and Laura Harlow, director of Student Conduct, will be the ones driving the discussion in Wiekamp 2260.
“We wanted to invite people to come and speak that aren’t part of our program, give more of an interdisciplinary menu,” said Lidinsky. She wanted to remind attendees that work within the field doesn’t always take a specific form, and that studies and experiences can be applied in many different ways.
Drake has been teaching a class at Saint Mary’s College for four years now focusing on relationships, intimacy and sexuality.
“I have undergraduates from all majors who attend this class, but it is originally based out of the school of Social Work and Gerontology,” she said.
Drake stresses how important a class like the one she teaches is to everyone.
“Not only do we discuss sex, but we also discuss relationships and how they exist with or without sex,” she said. “Intimacy and communication are necessary and a great part of our lives, or need to be, whether sex is involved or not.”
Harlow also brings her unique experiences and education to the forum discussion. She served as a teaching assistant to Dr. William Yarber at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute in the fall of 2009.
“At the time I was a graduate student Indiana University Bloomington in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program, and was nominated to the graduate teaching position,” she said.
Within that position, she helped facilitate small group labs after lectures where students would speak about the topics of the lecture.
“The most rewarding part of the experience was creating this safe space for students in the lab and help them navigate the topics of human sexuality,” she said.
For the Oct. 5 forum, they will bring their experiences and education to the table together for a discussion surrounding the topic.
“Bring a sack lunch. Our speakers talk for about half hour, forty minutes, then there’s an informal Q and A ,” said Lidinsky. She also added that it is a good, comfortably informal way to “practice hearing experts talk about their work.”
The following installment of the Women’s and Gender Studies Public Forum series will take place on Nov. 2, also at 12 p.m. in Wiekamp 2260, featuring the topic “Disasters are Not Equal Opportunity Events.” Brenda Phillips, Ph.D. Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will be speaking.