Spring 2012 Semester Begins

I am beginning my second semester of graduate school. I begin this semester working toward a graduate certificate in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies as well as a graduate certificate in Cognitive Science. I have submitted applications to the departments of sociology and counseling to apply for their master’s level programs.

I have the following courses this semester:

Introduction to Cognitive Science [ITCS6216]
Mark Faust
This course presents multiple perspectives on the study of intelligent systems. Broad coverage of such topics as philosophy of mind; human memory processes; reasoning and problem solving; artificial intelligence; language processing (human and machine); neural structures and processes and vision. Also includes is participation in the cognitive science seminar. — 3 hours



Principles of Human-Computer Interaction [ITIS6400]
Dr. Celine E. Latulipe
Prerequisite: Full graduate standing, or permission of
department. This course will be an introduction to
Human-computer Interaction practice and research. The
course will include topics on the perceptual, cognitive, and
social characteristics of people, as well as methods for
learning more about people and their use of computing
systems. We will cover the process of interface design,
methods of design, and ways to evaluate and improve a
design. The course will also highlight a number of current
and cutting-edge research topics in Human- Computer
Interaction. The course will be a balance of design,
sociological/psychological, and information systems
elements. — 3 hours



Lesbian and Gay Identity and Social Movements [WGST3050]
Dr. Theresa L. Rhodes
Lesbian and Gay Identity Development and Social Movement is a class in Women’s and Gender Studies focused on both the individual identity development processes for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people and on the definitional development of the lesbian and gay social movement. The class will explore differences in identity development for different sexual minority categories, will explore from a historical perspective the different strategies and definitions of the lesbian and gay social movement, and will explore various influences on both individual identities and on the social movement. Certain salient concepts will also be explored for their impact on identity development and on the priorities of the gay and lesbian social movement, for example, homophobia and heterosexism as a source of prejudice and oppression towards LGBT individuals. — 3 hours



Queer Theory [WGST5050]
Dr. Katherine S. Stephenson
Introduction to key issues in Queer Theory, a field of studies that questions and redefines the identity politics of early Lesbian and Gay Studies. Queer Theory investigates the socially constructed nature of identity and sexuality and critiques normalizing ways of knowing and being. — 3 hours



Of those four classes, I have 2 of them, WGST 3050 and WGST 5050, with Chris.  This semester seems as though it will be lighter than the Fall 2011 semester, as I have courses with less reading and less writing than last semester. Queer theory will likely be very much reading and writing intensive, but the two courses from the College of Computing and Informatics are not structured to require the same level of performance that I have become accustomed to from graduate level courses from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For this semester I anticipate having to complete one project, two papers and three presentations. I have a group project assigned in Human-Computer Interaction, papers in Queer Theory and Cognitive Science (although, shorter than any from last semester) and presentations in HCI (for the project), Cognitive Science and the LGBT Identity course.

I have to select topics for myself in Queer Theory and Cognitive Science for the papers, but HCI does not have that type of requirement. It is a group project in which the topic will essentially select itself once my group and I select a target group or type of expert to interview and begin developing a solution to a problem in their workflow.  HCI is very much hands-on compared to my other classes, which is sort of refreshing.

Just like last semester I have an undergrad class that counts for nothing, but should be fun. I am taking the LGBT Identity class basically because I had the spare hours and Chris is taking it. Chris decided at the last minute to add the class in place of another class that he wasn’t very enthusiastic about, and since it is a continuation of the course we took last semester I decided it might be interesting to take it as well. The impact of the additional course on my workload is basically negligible, especially since compared to my original schedule this course takes the place of a graduate level sociological research course.

This brings me to another decision I made regarding my schedule. Originally I was intending to have a 4th course on my graduate schedule, a tutorial in sociology course based on an undergraduate topics course. As I became more serious about the sociology program I realized that I really did not want to burn my second tutorial course until I am actually in the program and have a more narrowed area of focus that I want to use for my thesis. Tutorials are supposed to be great at refining those ideas, so I’m going to hold my other 3 hours of tutorial for that purpose. After deciding to not take the tutorial this semester I moved to Issues in Social Research. I am interested in the course material, but I realized after registering for the course that the entire roster of the course, other than myself, is the current cohort of MA Sociology students, so I have decided to hold off until I am in the program for that course as well, and take it with my entering cohort (assuming I’m admitted).

I am looking forward to an exciting semester. There is a lot of work to be done, but it is nothing that I can’t handle, and I am confident in that this semester. Last semester things were a little bumpy at the beginning and a little stressful at the end, but I know what to expect this time, and I am confident in my own abilities.

Posted from Charlotte, North Carolina, United States.