April 11, 1993 · Cavalier Daily

College to Offer Women's Studies

The College of Arts and Sciences opens its new Women's Studies program to lend emphasis to women's issues in the social sciences, as opposed to the more traditional male emphasis.


Cavalier Daily April 11 1979 - College to Offer Women's Studies (1).pdf
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John Diamond
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
College to Offer Women's Studies
After two years of planning, a Women’s Studies program will become available to students this fall.
Assoc. Sociology Prof. Jeanne C. Biggar, the program coordinator, said the program’s perspective would avoid the tendency of the social sciences to “view American society in terms of the household head.”
The problem in academia is not so much one of ignoring women but of overemphasizing men, she said.
Preparation for a Women’s Studies program began in fall 1977 when College Faculty Dean Edwin E. Floyd appointed an ad hoc committee to study the needs and possibilities for such a program.
Biggar said the committee based its work on a student petition which 2,500 students signed and on the request of third- and fourth-year women who called for a Women’s studies alternative.
The program will be a multidisciplinary concentration like the American Studies program. Course offerings in Women’s Studies will include courses from the departments of anthropology, English, French, history, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, Afro-American Affairs and sociology.
A concentration in Women’s Studies involves taking courses in at least three of the fields offered in addition to an introductory Women’s Studies course.
The program also will include several senior seminars and interdisciplinary research courses.
“Most of these courses have been in existence for six or seven years,” Biggar said. “The Women’s Studies program intends to tie them together with emphasis on the academic side of the courses.”
Women’s problems will be treated but will not be the central subject of the program, she added.
In gathering background material for the Women’s Studies program, one of two sections of the ad hoc committee examined the University for existing courses and interested students and teachers. The other surveyed women’s studies programs throughout the country.
Biggar noted Sara Lawrence College in N.Y., the University of North Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania as influential in the structuring of the University’s program.
Though the administration has not yet approved the idea, Biggar anticipates that completion of the program will include a certification on the student’s diploma.
Among the proglems facing the Women’s Studies program are lack of course offerings and participation fro the economics, government and psychology departments, Biggar said.
“We also need more trained experts in the field of women’s studies,” she said.
“I’m told that the new program may encourage some well-qualified women who might formerly have been reluctant to choose the University,” Biggar added.
Biggar said she was unsure whether the program will affect the University’s tenure policies toward women.
The administration has reacted enthusiastically to the program, Biggar said, noting that the program had been granted everything it requested except separate office space.
The program’s budget will have to be watched frugally because the College is cutting back expenditures in many areas, according to Biggar.
Date Added August 3, 2015
Date Modifed December 25, 2017
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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