Women’s Studies changes

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  • The Women's and Gender Studies program will launch in fall 2009.
  • The program is a revision of the current Women's Studies program.
  • WGST will offer a major and a minor, and the major can be taken by itself or with another major.
  • The WGST program features a revised introductory course and a new capstone course.

Marquette's current Women's Studies program will be upgraded next school year, featuring a broader curriculum that organizers hope will appeal to more students-both male and female.

The new Women's and Gender Studies program will launch in fall 2009, according to University News Briefs.

The WGST program will include many current university courses that relate to women and gender studies, said Nancy Snow, associate professor of philosophy and co-director of the revised program.

"We tried to make it as inclusive as possible," Snow said. "We hope the new program will appeal to a broader student base."

The WGST program, housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, is open to all students, Snow said. The interdisciplinary program will have courses ranging from English and nursing to psychology and economics.

WGST will offer a major and a minor. The major can be taken alone or with another major, Snow said.

Diane Hoeveler, professor of English, has stepped down as director of the current Women's Studies program.

The new program will include a revised introductory course and a new capstone course, said Amelia Zurcher, associate professor of English and co-director of the program with Snow.

Zurcher said she will modify ARSC 140: Perspectives on Women in Society, the current introductory course of the Women's Studies program. The new introductory course, WGST 140, will prepare students for the variety of courses they will take in the remainder of the program.

The capstone course for the WGST major will have a portfolio component in which students synthesize their work up to that point in the program, Zurcher said. It will also feature a community service project. The capstone course will not be offered next year because students will not have advanced far enough in the program to take it, Zurcher said.

Students enrolled in the Women's Studies program can remain on their current academic track and graduate with a degree in Women's Studies, Zurcher said. However, they also have the option to enroll in the WGST program.

A desire for increased enrollment in the Women's Studies program was one driving force behind its revision, Zurcher said. There is currently one student with a major in Women's Studies.

The other significant reason for altering the program was to change with the times and to align Marquette's program with those of other universities, Zurcher said. She said the committee in charge of revising the Women's Studies program researched schools such as Loyola University Chicago and Saint Louis University.

"Gender studies has boomed in the last decade," Zurcher said. "We needed to update the program and take account of the changes."

Ally Davis, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she plans to enroll in the Women's and Gender Studies program to complement her Political Science major.

After graduation, Davis is considering working with Women for Women International, a nonprofit organization that helps women in war-ravaged countries.

Davis said women's issues are important, such as equal pay for equal work. However, she said studying both genders is beneficial.

"Looking at both (genders) makes it easier to compare and bridge both sides," Davis said.

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