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GWSS 485 A: Issues For Ethnic Minorities And Women In Science And Engineering

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:00pm - 2:20pm
PAB B109
Angela Ginorio

Syllabus Description:


Prof. Angela B. Ginorio,  Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies

  • Office:  Padelford B110-P       Phone:  206-685-2238       Email:
  • Office Hours:  M 2:30 - 4 p.m. and by appointment

Prof. Marjorie A. Olmstead,  Physics

  • Office:  Physics-Astronomy B433 Phone: 206-685-3031  Email:
  • Office Hours:  Wednesday 11 am - 12:00 n. and by appointment

Course Description and Goals

The seminar will be co-lead by a social scientist (Ginorio) and a physical scientist (Olmstead). There will be occasional guest experts. This course requires active participation in all aspects of the class.

The goals for this class through all class activities are to:

  • inform students of issues faced by women and ethnic minorities in science and engineering nationally and locally
  • introduce students to expert women and ethnic minority practitioners of natural and physical science as well as social science who study issues faced by women and ethnic minorities in science and engineering
  • provide a national as well as local context for these issues so that students can critically evaluate the framing of the issues as well as the effectiveness of the solutions proposed so far
  • prepare students to address these issues in the context of their own discipline and institution

Course Requirements and Grading

This is a readingwriting, and discussion course. 

These are the major requirements:

3 credit students:

  • participating in class discussion (with evidence of having completed the readings) and submission of daily feedback on class and readings (20% of final grade)
  • leading/facilitating a class presentation, and a report on this presentation (28% of final grade, partly by peer evaluation)
  • preparing four short reports (52% of final grade)

5 credit students:

  • The above requirements (renormalized to total 60% of the final grade).
  • research project, by approval of instructor (40% of final grade)

In addition, all students are required to use e-mail and Canvas. Announcements of readings and other assignments will be made through these electronic means.  Class participation may also occur using the class Discussion Board.

A minimum of two weeks before their in-class presentation, students must consult with Prof. Ginorio and/or Prof. Olmstead. Reading assignments for the class must be approved by the instructors before they are submitted to the class.  An abstract of the presentation and a list of the reading assignments must be turned in electronically to Canvas one week prior to the in-class presentation.  For each reading assignment, students should submit either a weblink or a pdf file for posting on the passworded portion of the course web site.

Timeliness and presentation of materials are important. Materials to be posted on the web (text, html, MSWord, or pdf) and short reports (pdf preferred) should be submitted electronically .  Final papers must be submitted in both hard copy to Prof. Ginorio's office and electronically.  For team presentations, it will be assumed that all members of the group will be receiving the same grade on the in-class component unless a different agreement is proposed at the time that the proposal for the presentation is submitted  Electronic submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. on the due date.  Grades on late assignments will be reduced 10% per day. 

If you are ill, please keep your germs at home and contact the professors by email for information on making up missed work.

Except for exceptional circumstances, no incompletes will be granted.


There is no required textbook for this course. Readings for this class will be selected by the instructors, the invited speakers, and/or the students responsible for a particular presentation. Readings (or links to these readings) will be posted on Canvas.  If you have suggestions for readings, please send them to the instructors.

Readings should be completed BEFORE the date of the presentation for which they are assigned.  A portion of your class participation grade will be assessed on how you integrate information from the readings into the class discussion.  Also, it will enable much better use of class time.



  • Class Participation (20 points)
    • regular participation in class discussions, showing evidence of completing the readings and integrating presented information.
    • completion of short surveys on most interesting elements in readings and class discussion
      [due two days after each class]
    • an evaluation of each student presentation
      [due two days after the presentation]

Submitted and Graded as a group:

    • (4 pts) one-page summary or abstract of the presentation, including an annotated list of readings that the class should review before the presentation, to be posted on class web page
      [due one week before the presentation; electronic submission]
    • (4 pts) copy of powerpoint slides and/or other presentation materials
      [due two days after the presentation; electronic submission]
    • (8 pts) peer evaluations submitted by those outside your group

Submitted and Graded Individually

    • (12 pts) three page report on the class presentation / topic of the presentation. Groups should divide the topic among themselves for the information to be summarized in the reports. 
      [due one week after the presentation; electronic submission]
    • Short Reports (52 points)
      • (13 pts) Report on Status (numerical statistics and individual)
        [due Thursday, Oct 16, 5 pm; electronic submission]
      • (13 pts) Report on UW Intervention Program
        [due Thursday 13 November, 5 pm; electronic submission]
      • (13 pts) Personal Reflection on Climate Issues
        [due Thursday 20 November, 5 pm; electronic submission]
      • (13 pts) Report on Policy Issue in Memo Format
        [proposal due Thursday, 20 November; draft due Wed, 26 November, beginning of class; final version due Monday, 8 December, 5:00 pm; electronic submission]


    • Final project (67 points)
      • proposal for project (maximum one page)
        due Monday 10 November, either electronic or hard-copy submission
      • full project (18-25 pages)
        [due Monday 08 December, 5 pm; hard-copy and electronic submission.] 
        Students taking course for W-credit must submit first drafts by Monday, 17 November


Any student who wishes to request academic accommodations should contact the instructors during the first week of classes so that we can make alternative arrangements.       

If you have a letter from Disability Resources for Students, indicating that you require academic accommodations, please present the letter (or have DRS send email) to one of the instructors. For more information:

Disability Resources for Students, 011 Mary Gates Hall, 543-8924 (V/TDD).

If you are a student athlete or musician, and need accommodations for your practice and play schedule,
please contact one of the instructors within the first week of classes, and bring a letter from your coach or conductor.

Accommodations for instructor

When writing to the instructor by e-mail about the course, please use “# of course” as the first item in the subject line: RE: 451/485.  Please copy both instructors ( and for general course issues.  If your communication is urgent, mark it so. 

Prof. Ginorio is partially deaf, and uses hearing aids – like all assistive devices, these do not always work.             



Catalog Description: 
Addresses issues faced by women and ethnic minorities in physical sciences and engineering. Focuses on participation, barriers to participation, and solutions to those issues for women and ethnic minorities in physical sciences and engineering. Offered: jointly with PHYS 451.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 2:54pm