For almost 30 years the Department of Women’s Studies has shaped the way K-State students learn and practice their professions. Women’s Studies has shaped education and community relations at K-State and in the State of Kansas. As a discipline, Women’s Studies is committed to researching and understanding women and gender; to addressing the injustices of gender, race, class and global hierarchies; and to bringing about structural and cultural social change that benefits everyone. As a Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, Women’s Studies offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, and all are interdisciplinary and university-wide. Women’s Studies has a major in Women’s Studies, a minor in Women’s Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. This year Women’s Studies started a Queer Studies minor, which also is an interdisciplinary, university-wide degree. Women’s Studies also impacts students who are enrolled at other institutions of higher learning. Women’s Studies has the potential to reach every undergrad and grad student in every discipline and program area in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as to reach every undergrad and grad student in all the University’s colleges.
The Department currently has seven full-time core Women’s Studies faculty, 1 grad student instructor, and over 50 affiliated faculty members from 18 disciplines, ranging from Horticulture to Modern Languages to Social Work. The affiliated faculty members teach courses that Women’s Studies students can count as electives towards their Women’s Studies or Queer Studies degrees; all these cross-listed courses have substantial course content that relates to Women’s Studies and its learning outcomes. Affiliated faculty members also participate in governance and planning for the interdisciplinary Women’s Studies program. Women’s Studies’ wide reach has enabled the Department to impact thousands of students, faculty members, the College, the University, and the communities that our land-grant university serves.
In particular, we teach about 10 to 12 classes of “Introduction to Women’s Studies” every semester. Most of these “Intro” classes are taught in face-to-face classrooms during the day. Some classes are taught in the evenings and online via the University’s College that is known as the Global Campus. The face-to-face sections of “Introduction to Women’s Studies,” which offer General Education credits, typically have about 30 to 35 students. This class alone reaches over 600 students every year.
Every semester we also offer about eight interdisciplinary Women’s Studies classes that are core curriculum classes and elective classes. For example, one required core class is “Feminist Thought”. Every semester we also offer a variety of interdisciplinary electives, which include courses like “African Feminisms,” “Latina’s Life Stories,” and “Women and Violence”. “Queer Studies: Concepts, History and Politics” will be offered for the first time in spring, 2015.
Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary department that connects academic study with community study. Most of our interdisciplinary and cross-listed classes involve students in the investigation of social issues and problems that impact the campus, communities, the U.S. and other countries, and the world. Some of our interdisciplinary and cross-listed classes engage students in analyzing possible solutions, developing new ways to address problems, and learning how to carry out solutions. Women’s Studies also offers an internship class to undergraduates and graduate students who want to have an extended, practical experience learning in a community-based, statewide, or global organization. This internship prepares students for the job market as it gives provides research skills that are needed for graduate-level academics and professional work.
This year we are looking forward to engaging more KSU students and more community members in Women’s Studies. If you have any ideas about how to help us connect with more students and how we can work with more service organizations in the community, let us know. And please join us as we work to serve the people of Kansas!
— by Torry Dickinson