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March 18, 2019

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Psychology professor to discuss trigger warnings

In October university Colloquium

Dr. Deanna Barthlow-Potkanowicz, assistant professor of psychology and co-coordinator of the Women’s Studies minor, will present the Colloquium, “Trigger Warnings in the Classroom: Seeking a Balance Between ‘Coddling’ and ‘Caring,’” at 4 p.m. on Oct. 19 in Centennial Hall’s Stutzman Lecture Hall. 

The concept of trigger warnings has gained national attention over the past five years.  A trigger warning in a college classroom is an advance notice that some students might find a topic potentially sensitive or distressing, such as a discussion of eating disorders, sexual assault or other emotionally triggering situations. 

Their use has become the topic of debate on some university campuses. Some see the warnings as an appropriate tool and part of providing accommodations so that students can effectively engage in the classroom. Others, especially outside of higher education, have framed the warnings as “coddling” today’s college students.

Dr. Barthlow-Potkanowicz’s talk will focus on the history of trigger warnings, advantages and disadvantages of their use, and practical recommendations for professors at small, liberal arts colleges like Bluffton University.

This event is free and open to the public.