Distinguished Teaching Fellow 2020-2023
Barbara Jane Brickman is an Associate Professor of Media and Gender Studies in New College and the Department of Gender and Race Studies. Her areas of research include American Popular Culture, Youth Culture, Girls’ Studies, LGBTQ Studies, and Feminist Film Theory. She is also the founder and director of the Druid City Girls Media Program for girls in the Tuscaloosa area. Reflective of her research and community work, Dr. Brickman’s teaching focuses on cultural analysis and issues of representation and identity, with an emphasis on experiential and service-based learning. She teaches a range of courses, from large lectures to small seminars, often employing digital technologies and hands-on projects to engage varied student interests and interdisciplinary subject matter.
Working from the foundations of New College’s nearly fifty-year charge to innovate higher education, I see our students achieving significant milestones only when an active learning environment allows them to direct their own critical and creative inquiries; driven by their own individualized interests, these students thrive when given a problem to solve and when I accept that significant learning will occur outside the traditional classroom. Using a problem-focused discussion format in class as a springboard, my pedagogy then relies on independent projects based in experiential learning and significant student responsibility. Further, to encourage student independence and prepare for an active classroom, I often use digital technologies to aid in my teaching and facilitate student work, which regularly seeks to engage with an online audience. As the College’s mission is dedicated to serving others through “responsibility, justice, and ethics,” so, I find, students will invest more strongly in their work when they center their projects on community engagement practices or their ethical obligations to local and global problems—from sustainability and conservation to social inequalities and real-world innovation.