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Dr. Joan Ferrante Professor of Sociology


Dr. Joan Ferrante, Professor of Sociology

"My teaching method absolutely hinges on hearing how students process, question, challenge, and even ignore the ideas I present. I make a point of watching and listening to students and other audiences (in all their diversities) as they work to process those ideas."


Degrees Held:

  • Ph.D. – University of Cincinnati, 1984
  • M.A. – University of Cincinnati, 1978

Career Highlights:

My career highlight is founding and directing the Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories Project (see www.TheMCRCProject.org).

Links to share:

https://www.thenortherner.com/arts-and-life/2017/09/30/review-mourning-the-creation-of-racial-categories/

http://www.nkytribune.com/2017/10/nku-students-bring-talent-and-insight-to-documentary-exploring-the-social-construct-of-race/

https://www.mourningthecreationofracialcategoriesproject.org/trailer1/

http://local12.com/news/newsmakers/newsmakers-october-1-2017

In which online degree program do you teach?

B.S. in Sociology

Which classes do you teach online?

Race, Social Psychology, Introduction to Sociology

What do you want students in your courses to learn? What is the learning outcome or objective?

The biggest lesson of any sociology course is that "things are not what they seem."
Also, humans are ultimately social creatures—no one is free of the past or independent of others. Our social relationships shape who we are—our thinking, identities, and life chances.

Why did you start teaching?

I have been teaching for 30 years and I have loved every minute of it.

What advice would you give to those considering this online program?

Keep up with the assignments. Do not do them at the last minute.

What qualities make someone particularly successful when teaching sociology?

I think the most important quality is that professors of sociology understand that learning is a two-way street—professors and students learn from each other. Briefly, this is how it works for me: I strive to facilitate ah-ha moments—life-altering, perspective-disrupting moments when students recognize that things are not what they seem. When I fail to deliver such moments and find students uninterested, confused, or resistant, I am prompted to revise how I am delivering the information. My struggle to revise delivers clarity for me (an ah-ha experience). In fact, my teaching method absolutely hinges on hearing how students process, question, challenge, and even ignore the ideas I present. I make a point of watching and listening to students and other audiences (in all their diversities) as they work to process those ideas. When listeners fully grasp and enthusiastically apply those ideas, they affirm the power of an idea to transcend generations, class, gender, racial classifications, and so on.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

“The Social Animal” by David Brooks

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students may not know about you.

I have been thinking about race since 1996 and I have finally found a way to make an impact on how people think and behave with the help of NKU students in the creative and performing arts.


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