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Trine offering Women's Studies
University hopes to teach course each spring
April 15, 2010--Trine University has added Introduction to Women’s Studies to its course offerings. The class is in session now and will be offered again next spring.
An interdisciplinary exploration of the psycho-social construction of a woman’s gender identity, it analyzes gender roles and feminist theory by examining how social, cultural, economic, political, geographic and institutional pressures come together to define what it is to be a woman in contemporary times.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Finley said the course offering resulted from the work of a broad-based women’s focus group, ranging from students to professionals, which examined ways to change and enrich campus diversity. “They looked at a lot of things, and one of them was to offer a women’s studies course,” Finley said. “We got it going this semester to engage students and create a campus culture that is embracing and appealing to women. Fifty years ago, we may have had five or less women on our campus. Growth in our sororities, academics, athletics and activities creates an environment in which women can grow and thrive.”
Marlene Sweet, a professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Psychology & Social Sciences, shares teaching duties with English professor Brandy DePriest in a first-time class of 20 women and eight men.
“Brandy and I were very pleased when we saw 28 students enrolled in the class for spring semester 2010, which is atypical for a newly launched course,” Sweet said.
“From my perspective, Introduction to Women’s Studies is an opportunity for a more panoramic view of the roots of humankind. Many American history books refer to the feminist movement in the U.S., but fall short of detailing the very real struggles of numerous heroines. They examine various racial-ethnic cultures/societies, particularly those who have impacted the United States, yet little delineation for overall human rights is made by gender. History is generally told from a male perspective, as we live in a patriarchal society. I believe that women and men can both draw strength and learn from the private and public battles of historical and contemporary women.”
DePriest also described the course in terms of interrelated historical and social issues. “It isn’t just about women; the civil rights movement runs hand-in-hand with the women’s movement,” she said. “We also address issues dealing with class and economic status, as well as religious freedom, among others. It’s a whole basket of things that cannot really be separated from each other. We love to get students thinking about the connection between how things were for the generations before us, and how these same issues are relevant or not today.”
Instructors hope to continue offering the course each spring.