Breaking the Prejudice Habit: A Virginia Ball Center Seminar

In this seminar, we will study the problem of prejudice in depth. To do so, we will examine recent social science research and consult with our community partners about strategies to reduce prejudice. The seminar participants will interview people who have experienced prejudice as well as activists who are working to eradicate prejudice. We will then create videos, podcasts, educational materials and/or an ebook that address how people can confront prejudice in their everyday lives.

This Virginia Ball Center Seminar is open to all Ball State students of any major.
Application: Word-format PDF-format


What is the Virginia Ball Center?

The Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry provides distinctive, rigorous, and transformative immersive learning experiences. These experiences enable members of the Ball State University community to participate in open inquiry, creative investigations, collaborative research, innovative problem solving, and active learning outside the confines of the conventional classroom. Each experience is designed so that faculty and students can:

  • explore the connections among the arts, humanities, science, and technology
  • create a product that illustrates collaborative research and interdisciplinary study
  • present their product to the community in a public forum

Preliminary Syllabus

Week One

  • Monday: Orientation (e.g., icebreaker, overview of seminar goals and objectives)
  • Wednesday-Friday: Trip to Indianapolis and Cincinnati
    • Indianapolis Sites: Crispus Attucks Museum and Madam CJ Walker Museum
    • Cincinnati Sites: Harriet Beecher Stowe House and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
    • In Cincinnati: Meeting with local leaders about how they addressed past the city's recent racial problems.

Week Two

  • Core Reading Set One
    • Overview of stereotyping and prejudice literature (Whitley & Kite, The psychology of prejudice and discrimination, Chapters 1 & 3)
    • Preparatory readings selected by Jeff Mio
  • Speaker: Jay Zimmerman, Conflict Management
  • Speaker: Fritz Dolak, Copyright issues
  • Students identify areas of personal interest
  • Words of advice from previous VBC student participants.

Week Three

  • Invited 1-day workshop, Jeff Mio, California State Polytechnic Institution. Topic: Developing multicultural competence.
  • Core Reading Set Two
    • Selected readings from Rothenberg, Race, class, and gender in the United States.
    • Preparatory readings selected by Linda Tropp.
  • Students identify and interview local community activists

Week Four

  • Invited 1-day workshop, Linda Tropp, University of Massachusetts,
  • Speaker, Charles Payne, Assistant Provost for Diversity
  • Core Reading Set Three
    • Whitley & Kite, The psychology of prejudice and discrimination, Chapter 10, 11, & 14.
    • Group privilege (Johnson, Power, privilege, and difference)
  • Students research on areas of interest.
    • Students identify and read relevant social science research
    • Students outline research that will be basis for their work
    • Meet with community sponsors for feedback/direction about topic of interest

Week Five Through Ten: Project Development

Create educational materials that meld current events with social science research. A model is the award winning Ad Council campaign, designed to discourage adolescents' use of the slur “That's so gay.” This ad campaign, developed by the Arnold Agency, in partnership with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, uses short, funny, and engaging messages to persuade people to stop equating “gay” with “stupid.” Students will focus on one of these (or similar) projects that meet the course goals:

  • Develop the video content by melding current events with social science research and create the videos with user-friendly desktop software.
  • Locate and/or create materials for teachers of all levels that address how to effectively help students reduce prejudice.
  • Write and produce 1-2 podcasts, based on the social science literature on stereotyping and prejudice.
  • Develop an e-book based on course materials and interviews with people who have experienced prejudice and discrimination.

Weeks Eleven through Thirteen

  • Final preparation for Showcases

Week Fourteen

  • Showcase presentations