Jan Thomas specializes in health and gender issues. Before coming to Kenyon in 1996, Thomas worked as a counselor, educator, and administrator at women's health centers in Chicago and Denver and operated her own health counseling practice in Denver. Thomas teaches courses on gender, health and illness, social movements, and research methods. She is particularly interested in service-learning and connecting the life of the College with the life of the greater Gambier community.

The focus of Thomas' scholarly work has been primarily in the area of women's health. She has published articles on the legacies of feminist women's health centers, midwifery and childbirth. Most recently, she has been engaged in collaborative research projects on maternity care in the U.S. and Sweden.

Thomas spent her sabbatical (2005-2006) in Stockholm, Sweden. She also co-directed a study abroad program for ten years, which took students to Sweden and Finland for two weeks in the summer to learn about the health and social welfare systems. Thomas is currently serving as an associate provost at Kenyon. She has served as chair of the Department of Sociology and the chair of women's and gender studies. Her most recent sabbatical was spent teaching at Colorado College.


1995 — Doctor of Philosophy from Univ Colorado Boulder

1982 — Master of Arts from Univ Chicago

1980 — Bachelor of Science from Cornell College

Courses Recently Taught

Internships offer students hands-on experience in a possible career field of interest, the opportunity to focus career goals and aspirations, and exposure to the wider world outside of classroom. This course serves two purposes: to aid students in the identification and pursuit of internship opportunities and to offer students the opportunity to formally connect the internship with wider academic interests.\n\nStudents registering for this course will work collaboratively with a Career Development Office advisor and a faculty advisor as identified by the student. Working collaboratively with a Career Development Office advisor, students will produce high quality resumes and cover letters. Students will also discuss networking and practice interview skills. Upon completion of their pre-work, students will get a form signed by the CDO advisor prior to the start of the internship. An audit notation will be placed on the student’s record upon submission of the form to the registrar’s office. International students will work directly with the Center for Global Engagement to complete the course requirements.\n\nStudents must obtain an internship opportunity (60 hour minimum) within the first three weeks of class. In order to earn 0.13 units (credit/no credit) of credit, the student must complete all required activities including the final reflection paper and conversation with the faculty advisor. Students must submit the signed completion form to the registrar’s office at the end of the semester. Students may complete three internships and receive up to 0.52 units of credit either under EXPL 205 or EXPL 206. An audit notation will be placed on the student’s record upon submission of the form to the registrar’s office.

This course provides the academic preparation for students to become a Health Coach with the Community Care Network (CCN) at Knox Community Hospital. Health Coaches are members of the CCN team that promote holistic physical, mental and social wellness through in-home visits with members of the community. Any student interested in becoming a Health Coach must take this course.\nCourse content focuses on population health, diseases that can lead to chronic illness, and psychosocial aspects of health and illness. Activities in this course will include interactive lectures, group discussions and presentations focusing on the conceptual and practical issues surrounding community healthcare. Case studies (actual de-identified patient scenarios) will be key tools in preparing students to become Health Coaches charged with the education and motivation of at-risk patients during in-home visits. The overarching goal of the program is to empower these patients to take an active role in their own wellness by promoting positive behaviors.\nAfter successful completion of this class, it is expected, although not mandatory, that students will participate in the Health Coaches program during the following semester(s). In teams of two, Health Coaches will be assigned their own clients and will collaborate with the hospital healthcare team to promote healthy lifestyle changes. Prerequisite: sophomore standing and permission of instructor to ensure students are prepared to become health coaches following the class.

The major who wishes to participate in the honors program must have an overall GPA of 3.33 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. The candidate in honors will complete all requirements for the major, the Senior Capstone, two semesters of independent study and will design and complete a research project. This project should integrate feminist theory and methodologies as well as the student’s chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary cluster. Each honors student will prepare an annotated bibliography on her or his chosen project midway through the fall semester. After approval, the senior honors project will be undertaken in consultation with a project advisor. Students are encouraged to think boldly and innovatively about the kinds of projects they undertake and about how those projects interact with and benefit their communities. Senior honors projects might include gender-focused sociological or historical studies undertaken locally; exhibitions, productions or installations of gender-exploratory art, music or theater; or political, social and/or environmental service-oriented or activist work. Students will be closely mentored throughout their projects and, in the spring, will be evaluated by an external evaluator and by faculty in the program and in relevant disciplines. The evaluators will assess the strength of the students’ overall work, as well as the strength of their self-designed, project-appropriate public presentations of that work. Permission of instructor and department chair required.