GWS in Academia
Over the past generation, gender has emerged as one of the most vital areas of research and teaching in higher education. Most professional associations in the liberal arts and sciences now have special divisions or sections devoted to the study of women, gender, and sexuality. In fields such as history, literature, psychology, and sociology, to name just a few, scholarship on gender has experienced explosive growth, and the curriculum in liberal arts and sciences departments has expanded to include courses on gender at every level of study.
Firmly rooted in the Liberal Arts & Sciences, a GWS major has as its central objective to provide students with an interdisciplinary perspective on the role of gender in society and culture. A GWS major will offer undergraduates an understanding of the many economic and policy implications of gender roles and sexual behavior both in the United States and across the globe. As an interdisciplinary major, it especially offers the opportunity to look at a critical contemporary issue through the multiple perspectives of the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
The GWS Program at UIC has both wide and deep connections within a range of departments in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Many departments and programs have undergraduate courses cross-listed with GWS. As a result, students who major or minor in Gender & Women’s Studies get their first introduction to another discipline, like history, through the GWS Program. As existing departments update their curricula, the growth of gender studies is reflected in their revised programs of study.
These ties also exist at the level of graduate education, since GWS offers a graduate concentration to students in graduate programs. Currently, over 13 departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as programs in Education, Social Work, and Nursing, offer their students the option of a GWS graduate concentration; individual students from an additional seven programs - Urban Planning, Disability Studies, and Kinesiology among them - have successfully petitioned to do the concentration.
The many joint appointments that characterize the GWS faculty lines have created particularly strong links with departments such as history, English, psychology, anthropology, political science, and Latin American and Latino Studies. In addition to cooperative ventures in curriculum with them, these ties often lead to jointly-planned and sponsored non-curricular programming. Moreover, the growth of gender studies as an area of research is reflected in many recent hires across the university; a strong GWS Program is an inducement to these faculty to come to UIC. GWS contributes to the work of many departments in Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the work of many of UIC’s professional schools.