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Women's and Gender Studies

Mission Statement

The Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) Program is a multidisciplinary program that brings together scholars and scholarship on women and gender from across the university. Through the eighty courses it offers as well as related programs for faculty and students, the Program provides an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the social and cultural constructions of gender that shape the experiences of women and men in society. With its roots in social justice movements of the last three decades, the methods and goals of Women’s and Gender Studies support the University’s mission of education informed by both ethical and intellectual values. With a faculty drawn from most of the traditional disciplines, the program seeks to foster collegiality and intellectual community across academic and co-curricular departments that encourage collaborative efforts among faculty, students, and staff. The program seeks to provide a solid foundation in women’s and gender studies at the undergraduate level that can facilitate more detailed study at the graduate level or development of a career involving gender justice concerns, and to prepare students as citizens and leaders in diverse workplaces and communities. In addition to educating undergraduates in traditional classroom environments, the program pursues its goals by providing opportunities for civic engagement through internships, supporting faculty scholarship on gender issues across the disciplines, and presenting diverse co-curricular programming for the university.


Goals & Objectives for Student Learning

Goal #1: Students will learn to understand gender as an element of social, political, economic and legal structures as well as individual identities, critically interrogating understandings of gender divisions as natural or socially constructed.


  1. Define sex and gender.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the social construction of gender.
  3. Apply feminist theory to analysis of diverse topics.

Goal #2: Students will examine women’s and men’s historical and contemporary experiences from the perspective of gender analysis, with an understanding of the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, age, nationality, and other critical variables.


  1. Identify gender as differently constructed through intersecting identities of race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, age, nationality, and other critical variables without being prompted.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge about gender issues as they affect diverse populations.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of important events, legislation, and court rulings which had a major impact on the treatment and experiences of diverse groups.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of oppression and privilege based on gender as it intersects with race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, class, nation, and other critical variables.

Goal #3: Students will gain facility with disciplinary and interdisciplinary women’s and gender studies approaches and methods.


  1. Practice application of women’s and gender studies approaches in projects for various courses.
  2. Complete research, papers, oral presentations, and other projects in a variety of disciplines, and/or using interdisciplinary approaches.
  3. Demonstrate facility with appropriate women’s and gender studies approaches in a capstone project.

Goal #4: Students will learn to value both leadership and participation in gender and related social justice issues in the community and a globalizing world. 


  1. Understand the role of activism, historically and presently, in the service of gender justice and related issues.
  2. Demonstrate awareness of collaborative efforts to advance gender justice and related issues in the public, nongovernmental, and private sectors.