Service-Learning Spotlight on Dr. Richelle Schrock

Richelle Schrock, faculty coordinator of this year’s Sagan National Colloquium, gives a hug to speaker Gloria Steinem before Steinem’s October 8 lecture. (Photo by Sara Tincher)

Richelle Schrock, Ph.D., the director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, came to Ohio Wesleyan in the Fall of 2008, and has quickly become a very active and involved member of the campus and community. Dr. Schrock says she has been “impressed with our students and their interest in social justice issues.” She has been able to connect to the campus passion for community service and has brought this focus into the classroom. Dr. Schrock’s research interests include Global Feminisms and Feminist Ethnography, and she is particularly interested in how women work together across cultural divides for social change. Professor Schrock taught a Sagan Course last spring called Gender and Immigrant Experience in which the class took on the responsibility of helping to resettle a Somali refugee family that had just moved to Columbus after living in a refugee camp in Kenya for almost twenty years. The students in Dr. Schrock’s course collected all of the material goods the family would need for the first few months of their lives in the United States.

Students enrolled in assistant professor Richelle Schrock’s Gender and Immigrant Experience class visited the Columbus Zoo in the spring with members of the Somali family that they helped to settle. (Photo courtesy of Opportunity Knocks)

Through the course, Professor Schrock was able to combine her research interests with teaching. “My dissertation research focused on the Somali community in Columbus, so this was an excellent opportunity both for me and for the students. The Somali community is almost entirely Muslim, so the course helped students to examine the complexities of Muslim American identity in the post-9/11 era.”

Gretchen Curry, a junior who took Dr. Schrock’s Gender and Immigrant Experience class, was impressed by Dr. Schrock’s commitment to the course, saying, “Dr. Schrock invested more personal time helping this family get established than she would ever let on. Her dedication to this family was admirable to say the least.”

As the director of the Sagan National Colloquium, Dr. Schrock explains that she wanted to highlight OWU’s growing focus on educating future leaders to meet the demands of a global society. Students who participate in the Fall lecture series as well as the Spring 2011 Sagan Fellows travel-learning courses will take away a more comprehensive understanding of what active citizenship means in the context of globalization. Dr. Schrock says, “I was very excited to have Gloria Steinem as one of our Sagan speakers and the response to her lecture was phenomenal. Students, staff, faculty members, and Delaware community members remarked to me that they felt privileged to have her visit campus and found her lecture informative and inspiring.”

Professor Schrock, though relatively new to Ohio Wesleyan, says she has found a home here, in a community with a growing emphasis on service-learning and social justice: “OWU is a place where students are engaged, motivated, and passionate about addressing the multitude of challenges we face in the 21st century and that is why I am proud to call it home.”

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