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Eastern's Women and Gender Studies undergoes name change


Last updated 10/1/2020 at 11:46am

CHENEY – Eastern Washington University’s Women and Gender Studies has undergone a name change while also now being offered as a major.

Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies (GWSS) replaces the program name that started as Women’s studies in 1974 and was changed to Women and Gender Studies in 2007. It is now also being offered as a major, incorporating current best models into its structure, types of courses offered and expansion of student choice while also retaining its long-standing commitment to social justice and community engagement.

“The name of a program is often the first impression with constituents and the broader community,” EWU’s Dean of College of Socials Sciences, Jonathan Anderson, said in a Sept. 28 news release announcing the changes. “Evolution of the curriculum and the new name converge in response to changing societal needs and will catalyze our program to be on the leading edge.”

The new program name and major comes after an extensive assessment of the curriculum that included a field review, surveys of current students and alumni, research of model programs nationally and an internal curriculum review. The new major offers new courses and personalized degree options to “better address student needs in these changing environments.”

In the release, the university also said the major brings the program’s sexuality/queer studies courses more into the main curriculum – something that came from students and follows national trends.

“We put ‘gender’ first in our new name because it is a more capacious category than ‘women,’” GWSS Program Director Dr. Judy Rohrer said. “We have offered queer/sexuality course for some time. We are excited to now proudly highlight these fields in our sexy new name.”

GWSS instruction is designed to help students meet their personal, professional and educational goals, according to the release, while also providing the opportunity to learn more about power and privilege, issues of justice or cultivate competency to become more desirable job candidates.


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