How to propose a WGST course

Guidelines for proposing a Women and Gender Studies Course

The WGST Board is delighted to consider new courses, either to be counted toward the major while based in another department, to be cross-listed, or to be designated solely for our major. The proposed course should meet the following criteria: 

While the methodology of the course will reflect its disciplinary base (i.e. history courses use historical methods; psychology courses use psychology methods), the perspective the course takes on its topic should be centrally informed by questions about gender and/or women's issues, and gender and/or women's issues should be a central topic of investigation. 

Note: In the past, women's studies courses were sometimes held to a 50 percent rule, whereby half the course focus or content needed to be on or about women. We prefer to use the language of centrality, not to imply that issues of gender and/or women's studies must be the only topic of discussion in a WGST course but to stress that those issues need to be integral to the course's conception. A course that spends one three-week unit looking at women's issues and the rest of the time looking at other topics without reference to gender or women's issues would not fulfill this criterion. A course that looked at Latin American literature with gender as one of the key terms of analysis throughout the course would qualify, as would a biology course that compared the genetics of race and sex, since the genetic basis of sex would emerge in part from the contrast with the genetics of race.

If the course is to be counted toward the WGST major but not cross-listed, it need only get WGST Board approval and need not go through APC. If the course will be listed as a WGST course, whether cross-listed or free-standing, please follow the same procedure but leave time for the course to go through divisional and APC approval as well.

Submit the proposal to the Director of the WGST program during the first month of the semester preceding the term in which the course will be offered. The board will then consider proposals for semester courses at their first meeting of the semester, so that there is time to confer with the faculty member, if necessary, and to send the list of approved courses to the registrar's office for inclusion in the following semester's course offerings. 

Proposal format:
Proposals should include:

  • A description of the course that discusses and explains the ways in which the course fits the goals and methods of WGST, as described below;
  • A description of the texts and resources to be used.

Goals of WGST:

The WGST program seeks to foster critical analyses of gender. Through courses that investigate the intersections of sex, gender, sexuality, race, age, ability, and class across the disciplines, Women and Gender Studies prepares students to be critical advocates, activists, scholars, and educators for social justice in a variety of professions.

  1. To teach students how gender is fundamental to the construction of identity and the organization of human relations.
  2. To provide a critical understanding of the origins and historical development of feminist thought and gender theory, including the ways systems of dominance such as sexism and racism function and have changed.
  3. To develop student’s ability to use WGST lenses to challenge historical and cultural assumptions and claims of knowledge, and work towards influencing greater social justice in their day-to-day experiences.
  4. To provide students a familiarity with the diverse and multidisciplinary scholarship about women and gender.
  5. To ensure students’ ability to conduct effective research and critique scholarly sources through written work that demonstrates an aptitude to synthesize multi-disciplinary approaches to women gender studies.