Women's Studies Program changes name | Women's & Gender Studies

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June 18, 2014

Women's Studies Program changes name

What's in a name? Women's and Gender Studies Program is the new name of the UNT program formerly known as Women's Studies. Director Sandra Spencer, left, says the addition of the word "gender" shows that the program examines a range of factors impacting the identity of women as well as men, such as race, class, ethnicity and sexuality.

"Our program is 'coming of age.' The name reflects the national trend. Sixty percent of other universities already have programs that include this focus," she says. "It also underscores how UNT's student body has changed, with more men choosing to minor in the program and take classes that study issues related to women and gender."

With the exception of changes to course titles, Spencer anticipates the existing curriculum will basically stay the same and continue to offer critical perspectives and communication skills on a variety of gender-related topics. In this regard the name change is catching up to UNT's scholarship.

Program coordinator Pauline Raffestin says the new name might make the program more appealing.

"It's an indication that the issues we address are diverse and inclusive," she says.

This diversity will be showcased in the 2014-15 academic year through a new lecture series featuring the research of UNT faculty members currently affiliated with the program. Approximately 35 faculty members teach more than 60 gender-related classes. Subjects represent a wide range of disciplines including journalism, psychology, English, philosophy and anthropology.

"Many UNT faculty are researching fascinating topics related to gender," says Raffestin. "Students are inspired by their classes, and the lecture series will be a great way to share their work with the UNT- and greater Denton community."

A new logo and kick-off celebration event also are in the works and will be announced in the fall along with lecture line-up details.