Women’s and Gender Studies

Director, Gretchen Cohenour

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program critically examines the place of women and gender in culture and society.  It is an interdisciplinary program that combines the analytic tools from different disciplines, incorporating both practical and theoretical approaches to understanding the role of gender in our lives.  Women’s issues and gender issues encompass and modify all areas of knowledge; subjects like race, class, and sexuality are crucial aspects of the WGS experience, so the WGS Program is multicultural as well as interdisciplinary.  Course offerings also provide students with opportunities to integrate experiences from a variety of different fields of study.  The WGS minor provides an education in gender issues that responds to an increasing demand for such expertise in many professions and offers strong preparation for further study in a variety of postgraduate fields and job markets.  WGS courses offer students a strong foundation for involvement in social justice issues.  The Women’s and Gender Studies minor is open to all undergraduates enrolled at Averett University.

The minor will consist of two core classes:

Course Credits
WGS200: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies 3
WGS300: Literature and Research 3
WGS electives 12
Total 18

No more than two electives may be taken for WGS credit from any single department.  At least 9 of the 12 elective hours must be at the 300-400 level.

Research Project:

Students must include some specialized research and/or an internship as part of their WGS minor.  They may do so by completing a Capstone or Senior Seminar course in their respective majors: however, a WGS critical lens must be applied to the research project or internship to receive WGS credit.  The WGS Director and faculty member overseeing the student’s research in his or her major would need to approve the approach.  A syllabi for the Capstone or Seminar course will be created and overseen by the mentoring faculty member and a copy of it provided to the WGS Director in advance of the start of the student’s research.

If the student wishes for an internship to satisfy a requirement in the major or a general education requirement, significant attention must still be paid to having a WGS component of the project.  The student must obtain written approval in advance from the WGS Director and the professor teaching/overseeing the non-WGS requirement the student wishes to satisfy. 

Upon completion of the WGS minor, students should be able to:

Assessment of Minor:

In order to ensure integrity of the WGS minor, student mastery of these skills and content areas must be demonstrated beyond simply passing WGS listed classes.  Therefore, students must submit a WGS Portfolio to the WGS Director.  The Portfolio must consist of three essays of no less than 5 pages (not including works cited), each written for at least three different WGS classes, the research project from WGS300, and a 1,500-2,000 word self-reflective essay must introduce the Portfolio.  It will be submitted by each student upon the completion of minor coursework and no later than the eighth week of his or her final semester.

Number Title Credits Description
WGS200 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies 3 This course provides an introduction to the dynamic, interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies.  By incorporating both contemporary and historical feminist material, the class will explore various definitions, movements, theories, applications, debates, intersections, waves, practices, contradictions and critical issues embedded within feminist and gender focused discourses.
WGS300 Literature and Research 3 This course introduces students to representative works by and about women from historical, social, and literary perspectives.  Students read different literary forms and identify motifs, themes, and patterns in that literature.  Additionally, students learn historical, philosophical, religious, and cultural information to help increase understanding and appreciation of the works in context of Gender Studies generally.  Projects will be completed throughout the course that help students explore and apply how gender roles develop and change.
WGS332 Gender Roles 3 The purpose of this class is to examine the biological, psychological, and sociocultural explanations for the acquisition of gender.  The student will also investigate how the cultural expectations of gender effect not only communication, but also the institutions of our society including the media, family, church, school, economy, military, sports, health care, law and government.  How much time spent on any one area will depend, in part, on the interests of those enrolled.  Student input is vital to make this class as interesting and successful as possible.  Gender is, by nature, an interdisciplinary topic.  The instructor is a sociologist by training and that is the perspective that will dominate the class.  However, the readings represent a variety of viewpoints.