Women's and Gender Studies at UTA
A Brief History
The University of Texas at Arlington has a long history of scholarly activity in the field of Women's Studies. In 1974, UTA founded a Center for Women's Studies. This Center was established only four years after the opening of the first Women's Studies program in the country (at San Diego State University). In its first few years of operation, the UTA Center for Women's Studies raised funds for a displaced homemakers program. In 1980, the Center received a grant from the Texas Council for the Humanities to support "Woman Fair," a conference on women's issues representing a wide range of academic disciplines. A small grant from the Ford Foundation (administered by the Southwest Institute for Research on Women) was also received in 1984 for integrating Women's Studies into the U.S. history survey courses. In 1991, a Women's Studies Program was created at UTA, offering an undergraduate minor in Women's Studies.
For 17 years, the Women's Studies Program hosted Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), a conference designed to encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. For many years, we also hosted the Friends of Women's Studies Luncheon, a fundraiser that recognized and celebrated the achievements of women in our society who have blazed trails and opened new opportunities for future generations. Past speakers have included Liz Carpenter, press aide to Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson; Texas writer Prudence Macintosh; author Marion Winik; and State Senator Wendy Davis.
The Women's History Month Lecture Series has been held for 26 consecutive years (as of 2012) during the month of March. This lecture series brings local and nationally recognized scholars and performers to campus to give public lectures, performances, or presentations on women's issues. Sources of funding for the series over the years have included corporate sponsors, individual donations, and partnerships with other UTA departments.
The minor in Women's Studies was developed in 1991. During the first two years of the minor's operation, courses were offered under various existing Liberal Arts departmental prefixes. In 1993, a Women's Studies departmental prefix was approved and courses began to be cross-listed with academic departments. This was an important step in the development of the Women's Studies minor because it resulted in courses being published in the regular university course schedule under Women's Studies and in the creation of a Women's Studies textbook section in the university bookstore. Course offerings under the Women's Studies minor have expanded to include approximately 28 courses cross-listed with 14 departments. Well over 40 faculty have taught Women's Studies courses. UTA also offers a concentration in Women's Studies for the Interdisciplinary Studies undergraduate major, and an option in women's history at the undergraduate level. In addition, in 1997 we offered, for the first time, Introduction to Women's Studies (WOMS 2310), which is the only course offered exclusively by Women's Studies. From 1997 until 2009, we offered one section of WOMS 2310 each year. During the 2009-2010 academic year, we offered Introduction to Women's Studies in the fall and spring semesters, with enrollments of over 50 students in each of the semesters. We expect to continue to offer a section of WOMS 2310 each semester as the minor continues to grow in number and interest.
Fall 2011 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Women's Studies Program at UTA, as well as the moment at which the program was re-launched under the name Women's and Gender Studies Program. The coincidence of these two events indicates both the longevity and importance of the program, and its continued growth and contribution to campus life.
We also kicked off several new initiatives, such as hosting LUNAFEST: Films by, for, and about Women in Fall 2011 and The Vagina Monologues in Spring 2012. Also in Spring 2012, the first Women's and Gender Studies Student Excellence Awards were awarded to recognize outstanding student research in the fields of women's and gender studies.
Directors of the Women's Studies Program:
Kathleen Underwood, 1991-1994
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