by Gloria Diaz
Since an enthusiastic meeting of the minds last year, a group of University of La Verne faculty is taking steps toward creating a women’s studies program here.
Zandra Wagoner, general education program director, has spearheaded the campaign to develop the interdisciplinary program.
“A women’s/gender studies program would enrich our academic community,” Wagoner said. “Women and gender studies programs have been instrumental in questioning the current gender system that has resulted in the worldwide marginalization and oppression of women and sexual minorities.”
After an exploratory meeting in April, three committees were formed to proceed with the development of a possible major and/or minor. The committees deal with curriculum, financial concerns and program name.
The curriculum committee has to decide what existing courses would fit into the program and if any new courses need to be started. Naming the program also requires a high level of focus because the program needs to have a name with the exact focus of the program. Financial resource availability is looked at by the finance committee, which checks to see if any additional money from the Board of Trustees is needed, or if the program would need to apply for grants.
“No reputable institution does not have (a women’s/gender studies program),” said Eric Grekowicz, assistant professor of English. “This would advance ULV to where national institutions are.”
Grekowicz expressed interest in starting a women’s/gender studies program after he came to ULV. He said he was struck by the absence of such a program. Grekowicz had taught at such colleges as the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan State University and the University of Alaska, all of which have such programs in place.
But what is a program without the interests of the students?
Erick Vasquez, senior, and Rosa Arcadia, junior, were approached by Wagoner to develop a student committee for input on the program. Currently, the two are working on putting the committee together.
“Women’s studies course will benefit the success of the ULV student because both men and women would get a chance to see the role of women in society,” Arcadia said.
Wagoner said she does not have a specific date for the start of the program, but would like to see it within the next two years.
She also said that it depends on what needs to be done, some planning areas might take longer to develop than others.
“A women’s/gender studies program would also encourage and support campus-wide interest in gender issues, creating awareness and facilitating campus diversity and community,” Wagoner said.