During the fall of 2007, Kecia McBride conducted a seminar, Expectation of Excellence, at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry (VBC). The 17 students in the VBC course, in collaboration with their community partners, Burris Laboratory School and the Indiana High School Athletic Association, developed a documentary film that explored “the cultural impact and social history of Title IX legislation” (equity in athletics) by focusing in on the nationally prominent local girls’ volleyball team, the Burris Lady Owls. McBride says that she is “so incredibly proud of the final version of the film.” She continues, “I should clarify, however, that this has nothing at all to do with my work; the students did everything, shot every frame, wrote every word, played every note. I was the person who held things together and kept an eye on the big picture. But they did an absolutely amazing job, especially considering the fact that they only had 15 weeks to finish.” McBride feels that her experiences at the VBC have contributed to her development as a teacher and a scholar. Expectation of Excellence helped her “to rethink the ways in which it is possible to interact with undergraduate students. It is exciting also to see how hard students can push themselves, given the right environment; my expectations of what students can achieve will be even higher, because I know what can happen.”
The project at the VBC also gave McBride an opportunity to explore her longtime interests in gender theory and film theory in new ways. Additionally, she hopes to continue to produce scholarship on pedagogy and active learning. Expectation of Excellence has benefited both the university and the community. McBride comments, “I’m happy with the small ways in which my project bridged the town/gown divide. My students were able to go into parts of Muncie they never would have seen otherwise, and we had great attendance at the gala and the other public screening from both community members and Ball State folks.”
Additionally, McBride sees the project as contributing to the ways in which scholars and students of the humanities are writing themselves “into the tech narrative of the 21st century.” She says that it’s beneficial “to have a project from the humanities that has a basis in technology.”
Her VBC seminar had a strong foundation in new technologies: the documentary film itself was shot entirely in HD, and her students compiled class materials in a wiki and a blog. View the trailer for the documentary film that McBride and her students produced.
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