Syllabus: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Professor West and Professor Maison

August 5th-9th, 2019 MTWRF 2-5pm

Tucker 217

GOVT 150: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Course Description

This course offers an overview of the importance ofwomen in positions of leadership and why there are so few women in positions of power in order to understand the impact of traditional gender roles and passive normatives on societal dynamics. By discussing traditional gender roles and perceptions of women, we can understand why women in leadership positions are so scarce and how societal perceptions of femininity challenge the traditional masculine model of leadership. In order to analyze the importance in upsetting the normative expectation of leadership, we will cover the 100th year anniversary of coeducation at the College of William and Mary and the importance of the first woman President, Katherine Rowe on future possibilities for younger generations of females.


Content Learning objectives

By the end of this course you should have a working understanding of:

  1. The impact of gender roles on the glass ceiling and the facilitation of negative stigmas/lack of representation
  2. What the impact of President Rowe’s inauguration means to the William & Mary community and how it challenges the normative expectations of male leadership
  3. Perceptions of women in power and how it challenges the perceived traditional style of leadership
  4. The roles women have in society and how these roles mean different qualities and experiences


Skill Objectives

The purpose of a COLL 150 course is to engage in deep discussions and analyses of articles, data, and other forms of research. By the end of this class, you should have learned and improved skills such as

  1. Conducting analysis and research on discussion topics while relating them to current events
  2. Analyzing the importance of the first female president of William and Mary and the implications it has on future change and growth in the context of 100 years of coeducation
  3. Discussing in an academic context conversations about the perceptions of women and how this impacts the small amount of women in leadership positions
  4. Writing critical responses to class topics while making clear and concise arguments based on scholarly research


Articles and Assignments

This course will consist of multimedia homework assignments that are expected to be completed before class in order to be prepared for classroom discussion and a general knowledge of class topics.






  • Topic for the day: Wrap up and Final Assessment
  • HW DUE: FINAL ASSESSMENT. Research a Woman in a leadership position and prepare a 2-3 page excerpt on her experiences, job qualifications, and her role in breaking the glass ceiling. This woman can be a either a politician, activist, businesswoman, or anything other person in a widely known form of power. Contact professor with questions or proposals. Due by Sunday, August 11th at 11:59pm



This class is focused on the understanding and comprehension of class materials, thus the assessments will be based solely on class participation in discussions, one in-class presentation, and two writing assignments. The in-class presentation will be based on a student researched Ted-Talk that is presented to class. The two writing assignments will be 1) a beginning response paper in relation to President Rowe and the class and 2) the final assessment which is a 2-3 pagepaper on a Woman in leadership of your choice. These assessments are designed to examine your knowledge in skills in applying the topics we have learned in class in a broader scope.