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GSWS Diversity Statement

2019 GSWS Diversity Plan

 The Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program is one of the first interdisciplinary programs at William & Mary, and diversity is at the core of our mission. Our goal is to spur students to explore questions about society, the humanities, and the sciences, by challenging perspectives in which women are absent or peripheral; critically examining cultural assumptions about gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation; and providing opportunities for students to apply the knowledge they gain from the classroom as they move through the world.

In the following diversity plan, for various aspects, we assess where we are, where we would like to go, and how we plan to get there.


 Where We Are:

GSWS currently has three joint appointments and one full-time senior lecturer, each of whom brings both personal and intellectual diversity to the program in important ways.

Victoria Castillo: offers courses in transnational feminism, Latin American history, and LGBTQ studies

Claire McKinney (joint with Government): offers courses in the politics of reproduction, disability studies, and feminist political theory

Gul Ozyegin (joint with Sociology): offers courses in comparative Sociology, globalization, and Muslim cultures [In the 2019-20 academic year we have been authorized to search for a similar Core Faculty position, given Professor Ozyegin's impending retirement, and we plan to make strategic planning for diversity a key component.]

Jennifer Putzi (joint with English): offers courses on women writers, gender, and transgender studies

In addition to these appointments, there are many faculty members in other departments and programs (History, English, American Studies, Religious Studies, Modern Languages, and Biology, to name just a few) who serve on our Executive Committee or who are affiliated with GSWS. We also work closely with the Law School and the School of Education. We have been working to grow our affiliated faculty by fostering participation in our Brown Bag series, program research display in Swem Library, and other outreach efforts.

 Where We Would Like to Go and How We Plan to Get There:

 Currently, due to the small size of our core faculty, the departure of just one person (either due to a research leave or the acceptance of another position elsewhere) can significantly affect our program. Thus, growing our program is paramount to maintaining and expanding our diversity.

 Just as we did with the recent joint appointment with Government, the GSWS program should actively pursue additional joint appointments. Given the ongoing concerns with gender and sexuality related diversity within STEM, we are interested in pursuing joint appointments with the hard sciences. In this regard, we have partnered with Pscychological Sciences to request an NTE position for someone who would teach courses in the psychology of gender and sexuality. We are particularly interested in seeking an NTE who focuses on the intersection between race and gender/sexuality. If this search is approved and works out for both units, we would like to pursue a TE appointment in this field. We absolutely need a faculty member appointed in GSWS who focuses on race and gender; this is a serious gap in our coverage, particularly given the College’s emphasis on diversity.

 Another important area involves issues of media representation. Because discussions of depictions of gender and sexuality often benefit from expertise in film and media studies, we have arranged for a joint Visiting Assistant Professor with Film and Media Studies to address these growing needs. This area of analysis also often entails attention to race, nationality, class, religion, age, and ability, so it is especially important for our diversity planning. We hope to have a more permanent joint position providing coverage in the future.


 Where We Are:

 An informal analysis of recent graduating classes shows that we have a very good level of diversity with regard to sexualities, a reasonable level of diversity with regard to race and ethnicity, and a very small level of diversity with regard to gender.

 Where We Would Like to Go and How We Plan to Get There:

 By continuing to offer a wide array of courses, by promoting our program across campus, and by offering students an extremely supportive environment in which to work, we hope to attract an ever more diverse population of majors and minors. For example, we have increased our offerings to include courses in in masculinity studies in the 2019-20 academic year, and in the 2018-19 academic year we invited an expert speaker on the topic of black masculinity (Douglas Flowe) to present at an event with a sizeable student turnout.


 Where We Are

 The GSWS program through its own courses, and through crosslisted courses across campus, offers a wide array of courses relating to many types of diversity. However, there are concerns that our program could be doing a better job in integrating diversity throughout out curriculum.

 During the Fall2015/Spring2016 academic year, two of our majors, through their own initiative, collected data on 39 GSWS courses in order to assess the diversity of the authors of the assigned books in these courses. Here are a few of their findings:

 _74% of the authors were white, with 15 of these courses using only white authors

 _9% of the authors were non-Western

 _20% of the authors were LGBT or gender nonconforming

 _8 of the courses explicitly mentioned intersectionality in their descriptions

 _14 of the courses explicitly looked at minority identities

 In the spring semester of 2018, we revised our major/minor curriculum to ensure that students are encountering issues of diversity and engaging with a diverse group of writers and thinkers in their coursework. While our major/minor requirements had previously asked students to take an equal number of courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences (thereby emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of the program), we now ask students to take one course in each of the following areas: gender and race/ethnicity issues; LGBTQ issues; and gender and international issues.

The Program is also in the process of revising our GSWS 205, “Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies,” course. One of our major emphases in this revision is an emphasis on women of color and LGBTQ feminisms. We successfully implemented these changes to this syllabus in the Fall of 2018.

 One unintended consequence of the new Race, Gender, and Ethnicity (GRE) requirement for GSWS majors and minors is that we needed to systematize cross-listing to better cover our course offerings every semester and work with other departments to facilitate new course development initiatives.

As our curriculum committee has worked through the PIE process to prepare for external assessment of our success at achieving specific learning goals, we have developed a rubric about gendered analysis that explicitly mentions knowledge of  “race, class, disability, nationality, etc.” as part of our expected outcomes in the area of “gender/sexuality in context,” as well as a rubric about “intercultural knowledge and competence.”

 Where We Would Like to Go and How We Plan to Get There

We believe we do a good job of offering diversity-related courses, but given the students’ findings above, there clearly is room for improvement. We recommend taking the following actions. First, continue to collect this course reading data every few years and look for ways to diversify the readings when reasonable. Second, add a question to the GSWS course evaluation: “Did the course meet our program’s goal of critically examining cultural assumptions about gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation?” Third, we should more actively seek out crosslisted courses that deal with diversity-related issues, as the current model is for instructors to reach out to the program in order to crosslist. Finally, we would like to work toward greater consistency in our course offerings, making sure that certain topics get taught on a regular basis.


Where We Are

We believe GSWS offers a hospitable climate within our program. In addition, by carrying out events, and through our support of other events and programs, we are an important part of creating an increasingly hospitable climate with regard to diversity-related issues across campus. As examples, during the 2019-20 academic year, GSWS sponsored talks by experts on sexual harassment and workplace misogyny, such as Jodi Kantor and Nell Scovell, and on student inclusion (or exclusion) efforts that involve transgender students at the policy level with AACU President Lynn Pasquerella. We also provide funding to Mosaic House, the campus’ diversity-oriented living/learning community and support LGBT graduates through the lavender cord program.

Where We Would Like to Go and How We Plan to Get There

With regard to climate issues within our program, we would like to assess the opinions of graduating major and minors, perhaps through an end-of-the-year focus group. In such an assessment, we would ask students to be candid about ways in which we could foster an even more hospitable climate with regard to diversity. With regard to improving the overall campus climate, GSWS should increase its profile on campus by sponsoring more events and by offering advice and expertise whenever a hospitable campus climate is threatened.