The mission of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies is to empower students as advocates and agents of social justice for their communities, workplaces, and the wider world. Using feminist and queer theoretical perspectives, WGS courses attend to factors of social difference, such as gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, ability, religion, and nationality. By critically analyzing cultural assumptions, social norms, and the systems that structure societies, Women’s and Gender Studies aims not only to produce new knowledge, but also to question and reshape what counts as knowledge. Central to our focus is how ideas and practices about gender and sexuality mold identities, institutions, nations, and global exchanges.
Women’s and Gender Studies courses pair academic rigor with civic engagement and range in scope from the local to the transnational. As an interdisciplinary liberal arts field, WGS provides students with a framework for developing and integrating a broad range of skills in the social sciences and humanities. These skills include effective oral and written communication, strategic approaches to research, critical analysis of documents and data, research strategies, interpretation of cultures and discourses, and the application of ethical thought.