Crossing the Threshold in Introductory Women’s and Gender Studies Courses: An Assessment of Student Learning
This article reports on a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) project in the introductory women’s and gender studies course, occasioned by a curricular redesign to focus the course on four threshold concepts within the field: the social construction of gender, privilege and oppression, intersectionality, and feminist praxis. The authors identify the metaphors students used to describe their learning, focus on the roles of metacognitive development and affective learning, and discuss the most difficult course concept for students: intersectionality.
Utah State University Press.
Adler-Kassner, L., Majewski, J. & Koshnick, D. (2012). The value of troublesome knowledge: Transfer and threshold
concepts in writing and history. Composition Forum, 26.
Ambrose, S., Bridges, M., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M., Norman, M., & Mayer, R. (2010). How learning works: Seven
research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Calder, L. (2006). Uncoverage: Toward a signature pedagogy for the history survey. The Journal of American
History, 92, 1358-1370.
Felten, P. (2013). Principles of good practice in SoTL. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 1(1), 121-
Hassel, H., & Nelson, N. (2012). A signature feminist pedagogy: Connection and transformation in Women’s
Studies. In N. Chick, A. Haynie, and R. Gurung (Eds)., Exploring more signature pedagogies: Approaches
to teaching disciplinary habits of mind. (pp. 145-155). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Haswell, R. (2005). NCTE/CCCC’s recent war on scholarship. Written Communication, 22, 198-223.
Hofer, A., Townsend L., & Brunetti, K. (2012). Troublesome concepts and information literacy: Investigating
threshold concepts for IL instruction. Libraries and the Academy, 12(4), 387-405.
Humphrey, R., & Simpson, B. (2012). Writes of passage: Writing up qualitative data as a threshold concept in
doctoral research. Teaching in Higher Education, 17(6), 735-746.
Hutchings, P. (Eds.). (2000). Opening lines: Approaches to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Menlo Park,
CA: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Land, R, Rattray, J., & Vivian, P. (2014). Learning in the liminal space: A semiotic approach to threshold concepts.
Higher Education, 67, 199-217.
Launius, C., & Hassel, H. (2013). Coverage, content, concepts: Textbooks for introductory courses in women’s and
gender studies. Rev. of Eighteen Textbooks. Feminist Collections. A Quarterly of Women’s Studies Resources. 34(1, Winter 2013). 8-16.
Launius, C., & Hassel, H. (2015). Threshold concepts in Women’s and Gender Studies: Ways of thinking, seeing, and knowing. New York, NY: Routledge
Levin, A. (2007) Questions for a new century: Women's studies and integrative learning. A report to the national
women's studies association. National Women’s Studies Association, College Park, MD: NWSA, 2007.
Meyer, J. H.F., & Land, R. (2005). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Epistemological
considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning. Higher Education, 49, 373-388.
Meyer, J.H.F., & Land, R. (2006). Threshold concepts: Issues of liminality. In J. H.F. Meyer and R. Land. (Eds),
Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. (pp.19-32). New York, NY: Routledge.
Pace, D., & Middendorf, J., Eds. (2004). Decoding the disciplines: Helping students learning disciplinary ways of thinking. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Simoes, S., & Gray, S. (2008). Combining academic service-learning and information literacy: A new framework for
an introductory women's studies course. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at EMU, 2(8)
Solnit, R. (2013, January). A rape a minute, a thousand corpses a year. Mother Jones. Retrieved from
Copyright (c) 2017 Holly Hassel
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.