Educ 309: Race Class and Educational Policy

Syllabus for Fall 2019


In this upper-level undergraduate seminar, our primary goal is to work as a team to strengthen our skills in basic qualitative and quantitative research on race, class, and educational policy. We will closely read studies by other authors, then design and conduct our own small-scale research projects, and publicly present our findings. Our theme for Fall 2019 is “Researching Trinity and Hartford.”

Our Research Projects

We will conduct interviews with a stratified random sample of Trinity students to ask:

  1. How do perceptions and experiences of Hartford vary among first-year Trinity students of different racial, social class, and gender backgrounds?

  2. How do perceptions and experiences of race and social class at Trinity vary among first-year students of different backgrounds?

In addition, for the Community Learning component of this course, we will attend Hartford neighborhood group meetings to share the results of a recent door-to-door survey on how community residents perceive and experience Trinity College, and listen to how participants respond to this study.


Students must bring a copy of this book, print or digital, for a close reading of the text in class and discussion with the author:

Anthony Abraham Jack, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students (Harvard University Press, 2019),

Photocopies of additional readings will be made available to students for $10 fee.

Each student must bring a laptop to each class session for writing, editing, and data analysis. Contact me if you need to borrow a spare laptop.


Tues Sept 3

  • Introduction to syllabus and our research projects
  • Review Trinity Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research ethics Instructor will complete one IRB application for the class research project, listing each student as a researcher.
  • Complete CITI online research ethics training, if you have not already done so, and email me certificate by Sunday Sept 7th. See detailed instructions and follow option A or B, but A is preferable for future research you may conduct.
  • Write short essay 0 and submit for blind review (practice): Why are you here, and what do you wish to learn? Do NOT include your name anywhere in the file, so that I may evaluate your work anonymously. Save your essay in MS Word format, insert your favorite cartoon character (instead of your ID) into the filename (example: Tweetybird-essay0.docx), and upload your responses for blind review to

Thur Sept 5

Tues Sept 10: How Do We Define Race and Social Class?

Thur Sept 12: How Have Others Researched Race and Class at Trinity?

  • Read how students in my students in my “Color and Money” First-Year Seminar on Race and Social Class at Trinity College conducted this Sophomore Interview Project in Fall 2011, 2013, 2015. What ideas does it spark in your minds about how we will conduct our study?
  • Read and reflect on anonymous responses to short essay #0: Why are you here, and what do you wish to learn?
  • Assign: Write short essay #1, no more than 500 words, and submit for blind review by Sunday Sept 15th 6pm. Do NOT include your name anywhere in the file, so that I may evaluate your work anonymously. Save your essay in MS Word format, insert your Trinity ID number into the filename (example: 1234567-essay1.docx), and upload your responses for blind review to
    • Imagine a room with all of the people above who are defining and discussing race and/or social class. What kinds of conversations might they have? How would you imagine some of them agreeing or disagreeing with one another? Write an essay that clearly demonstrates your understanding of at least 3 of the 4 authors: Omi & Winant, Kendi, Sanneh, Lareau. Make sure you clearly show your understanding of at least one of their major points, and support it with at least one quote for each author.
    • For this assignment, you can simply insert parentheses and page numbers, with no formal bibliography. Example…. According to Kendi, “…….” (p.5).
    • You can choose to write a traditional expository essay For sentence starters, see the
    • OR you can write in dialogue format, like a play.
      • Example: Ibram, Kelef,and Annette walk into a bar…..
        • Annette: Hey, Ibram, I’ve been meaning to ask you, “….[insert quote….” (p. 67)

Tues Sept 17: How Did Anthony Jack Research Race and Class?

Thur Sept 19: How Does The Privileged Poor Connect with Trinity

Tues Sept 24: How Will We Research Trinity Students on Hartford?

  • Read Ardyn Allessie, Lucy Pereira, and John Anderson, “Differences Among First-Year Students’ Perceptions of Hartford,” Anth 301 Methods, Trinity College, December 2017.
  • Discussion facilitators Alicia and Miley
  • Refine our research design and practice interview guide
  • Prepare discussion questions for Anthony Jack’s visit

Thur Sept 26: How Does Trinity Respond to Anthony Jack’s Research?

  • Q&A session in class with guest Anthony Jack, by all
  • Describe our research design for his feedback, led by facilitator Caila and Eleanor and Amber
  • Attend Anthony Jack’s Common Hour lecture, 12:15-1:15pm, Washington Room, introduction by Amber and Mabel
  • Write short essay #3 and submit for blind review by Sunday Sept 29th at 6pm on question to come*

Tues Oct 1: How Do Hartford Residents View Trinity?

  • Read Megan Brown and Mabel Silva, “Trinity’s Relationship with the Neighborhood: Results from a Community Resident Survey,” September 2019, to come*
  • Assign short essay #4, which requires participating in one of the following Neighborhood Revitalization Zone meetings to listen to feedback on the report above
    • Tues Oct 8th at 6pm, Maple Ave NRZ, St. Augustine Church, with students __
    • Thurs Oct 10th at 6pm, Southwest/Behind the Rocks NRZ, Free Center, 460 New Britain Ave, with students _____
    • Tues Oct 15th at 5:30pm, Frog Hollow NRZ, 70 Vernon St, with students ___
    • one more TBA, with students __
  • Begin interviews with your assigned students, and complete 4 transcripts by end of Trinity Days, Oct 15th.

Thur Oct 3: How to Transcribe and Mask Interviews

  • Read instructor’s guide to transcribing and masking interviews*
  • Read sample interview transcripts from FYSM Color and Money

Tues Oct 8: How to Interpret One Interview

  • Read FYSM Color & Money interview interpretations

Thur Oct 10: How to Interpret Patterns Across Multiple Interviews

  • Read FYSM Color & Money packets from past interviews
  • Assign Individual essay on interpreting patterns across our interviews, no more than 2000 words, due ___

Tues Oct 15

  • No class: Trinity Day

Thur Oct 17: Finding Patterns Across Our Interviews

  • workshop in class

Tues Oct 22: Making Persuasive Arguments with Supporting Evidence

  • workshop in class

Thur Oct 24

  • Secondary source readings to compare with our findings, TBA

Tues Oct 29

  • Secondary source readings to compare with our findings, TBA

Thur Oct 31: Presenting our findings

  • Public presentation of research findings for guest evaluators. Final preparations during class, and presentation during Common Hour 12:15-1:15pm.

Tues Nov 5

  • Assign short essay #5: each student will identify a short reading on topic related to this seminar, and write essay about why it matters, with discussion questions, for Nov 19, Nov 21, Dec 3

Thur Nov 7

  • No class: Instructor’s conference in Washington DC
  • Instead, class will meet for dinner at instructor’s home in September, and attend October NRZ meeting
  • Begin reading Jack Dougherty and contributors, On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs (Book-in-progress, under contract with Amherst College Press),

Tues Nov 12: How have race and class barriers evolved in metropolitan Hartford over time?

  • On The Line, Preface and Chapters 1-3
  • Discussion facilitators _____
  • Assign individual writing you can use, due before our last class on Dec 5th. Prepare a research proposal for your senior thesis or a Community Learning Research Fellows project application, or a personal statement for your application to graduate school, actual or aspirational. Your writing must build on research experiences and insights from Educ 309 in some way. No more than 1500 words. See these resources:

Thur Nov 14: How have activists challenged metro Hartford housing and schooling barriers over time?

  • On The Line, Chapters 4-5
  • Discussion facilitators _____
  • Short essay #6 (anonymous) with constructive criticism about On The Line, due Sunday Nov 17th at 6pm.

Tues Nov 19

  • Discuss readings recommended by students, with their short essays and discussion questions, by ___

    Thur Nov 21

  • Discuss readings recommended by students, with their short essays and discussion questions, by ___

Tues Nov 26

  • No class. Instead, schedule individual or small-group meetings with instructor to plan your future research proposal or graduate school statement, due at last class

Thur Nov 28

  • No class: Thanksgiving

Tues Dec 3

  • Discuss readings recommended by students, with their short essays and discussion questions, by ____

Thur Dec 5

  • Share and reflect on individual final essays
  • Peer evaluation of overall contribution to learning


Students may access their individual scores on the password-protected Moodle site Your work will be evaluated based on:

  • Short essays on readings, no more than 500 words: 6 x 5 each = 30 points
  • Transcripts of assigned student interviews: 4 x 2.5 each = 10 points
  • Individual essay on interpreting patterns across interviews, no more than 2000 words = 20 points
  • Research team presentation, evaluated by guest (10) and instructor (10) = 20 points
  • Individual future research proposal or grad school statement, under 1500 words = 10 points
  • Peer evaluation of overall contribution to learning = 10 points

Total = 100 points

Late assignments will receive a 10 percent penalty for every 12 hours overdue, with exceptions granted only for verified medical or family emergencies. In this course, unsatisfactory work (below 70%) falls in the D or F range, adequate work (70-79%) in the C range, good work (80-89%) in the B range, and outstanding work (90 to 100%) in the A range. Each range is divided into equal thirds for minus (-), regular, and plus (+) letter grades. For example, 80 to 83.33% = B-, 83.34 to 86.67 = B, and 86.68 to 89.99 = B+. Students are expected to engage in academic honesty in all forms of work for this course. You are responsible for understanding and following the Intellectual Honesty policy (around page 20) of the Trinity Student Handbook.

Trinity College is committed to creating an inclusive and accessible learning environment consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have approval for academic accommodations, please notify faculty during the first two weeks of the semester or a minimum of 10 days prior to needing your accommodations. Please be sure to meet with me privately to discuss implementation. If you do not have approved accommodations, but have a disability requiring academic accommodations, or have questions about applying, please contact Lori Clapis, Coordinator of Accessibility Resources at 860-297-4025 or at

Please notify me during the first week of the course if you require any scheduling accommodations for religious observances.