Student learn, expand knowledge of sexuality through Linfield course

Megan Ditore, For the Review

People are who they are, each person has their own values, if they don’t take time to explore and expand on issues, they may make decisions that they wouldn’t have intended.

The Human Sexuality course taught by Professor of health education, Dawn Graff Haight is an overview of human sexuality topics as they relate to health. It covers components of healthy sexuality, influences on sexuality and the like. With an emphasis on gender, sociocultural factors, and sexual orientation, the three credit course is designed to expand the thinking of each student.

In this class students explore a wide range of human sexuality topics, including sexual structure and function, historical and cultural influences, gender role development, love and relationships and more.

Students become aware of the nature of human sexuality and the role that it plays in human health, they are also able to clarify personal attitudes and values regarding sexuality.

“The goals are the framework which create the context, it covers a little anatomy, a lot about social influences, sexual communication, how to express and be sexually healthy and responsible human beings” said Dawn Graff Haight.

One of her most important goals is to educate students to know enough about sexuality to make healthy decisions.

Dawn is a professor of Heal Education and the former chair of the Department of Health, Human Performance and Athletics; she has been on faculty since 1996.

She started her professional career as a public school health teacher in the early 70s, and first started teaching human sexuality to elementary students as part of her teaching responsibilities.

Later, after obtaining her Ph.D., she began teaching a much more comprehensive sexuality course for college age students, first at Eastern Montana College, and then at Portland State University. When she arrived at Linfield College, she inherited the Human Sexuality course from Scott Carnahan who had been the previous instructor.

The course has changed over the years she said, due to new technology, today she is able to teach the class with fewer lectures and more engagement into what the topic is.

She said that it was most important to have “good information” meaning science based information to understand how our bodies work. She said, “all of us have opinions, and we are all entitled to our own but she wants students to be able to base theirs on facts.”

“The class is about you” she said, it is a practical class to which you can learn where you fit. A former student of hers said to her, “I didn’t realize who I was until I sat in class last year.”