EMU will have a new minor in the books this fall semester. Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary minor under the history department consisting of 17 to 18 credits that incorporate gender in each course.
The minor pulls from many disciplines such as history, sociology, literature, theology, and popular culture and arts.
Some of the courses involved in the minor are Family in Social Context, Restorative Justice and Trauma Awareness, Pop Culture and Mass Communication, Cultural Anthropology, History of Women, and Race and Gender.
Different specialty courses such as Women and Islam have become available although at this time limited resources have prevented the establishment of new classes for this minor.
The Washington Scholars program is recommended for this minor. However, Seminary by the Sea is also being offered as an option. Seminary by the Sea takes place in Oceanwood, Maine, where students can earn three credits for either psychology or English by working with two faculty from Eastern University: Dr. Landi Turner and Rebecca Gidjunis.
Students create their own personal project and present their findings at the end of the seminar. The total cost of the trip is $2,075; and opportunities for financial aid are available.
The idea for a Gender Studies minor has been continually proposed since the ‘90s, but it did not gain momentum until this summer. A committee of various faculty members with interest in forming the minor decided the courses and requirements.
Mary Sprunger, Chair of the History department, and Kim Schmidt, Director of the Washington Community Scholars Center, are co-advisers for the minor.
Deanna Durham, Assistant Professor in the Applied Social Sciences department; Jennifer Ulrich, Technical Service Librarian; Kirsten Beachy, Assistant Professor of Visual and Communication Arts; Ann Schaeffer, instructor in the Nursing department; Peter Dula, Chair of the Bible and Religion department; and Paulette Moore, Associate Professor of Visual and Communication Arts all form the committee for the Gender Studies minor.
Sprunger believes the Gender Studies minor was long overdue.
“Having a Gender Studies minor provides a vehicle for promoting gender issues on campus,” she said. She revealed that there are no plans for a Gender Studies major right now, but “Who knows what the future may hold,” she concluded.
Mila Litchfield, a junior who is very enthusiastic about the gender studies minor, says that she first suggested that a gender studies minor for EMU would be a good idea during a project in her first year in which she had to outline a plan for re-establishing a women/gender studies club.
“I feel really lucky to have an official minor supporting what I want to work on. I appreciate that the minor is multidisciplinary and am looking forward to taking classes on a range of subjects, but having them connect through the common lens of gender studies,” she said.
While the minor does have a focus in women’s studies, it is open for men and women to take. So far there have been about 8 people who have expressed interest in the minor.
Devon Fore, Staff Writer