Lake Erie College launches new minor in gender, sexuality & women’s studies

Academics,

In a move resonating with the College’s founding as an all-women’s institution, Lake Erie College is launching a new interdisciplinary minor in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. Interested students may begin coursework for the minor this fall.

Developed by faculty from disciplines including communication, English, sport management, history, and art, the new academic track will explore historical, cultural, and ideological issues relating to gender and sexuality in a variety of contexts.

With critical thinking and writing skills at its core, the curriculum addresses the significance of gender construction and reproduction inside structures of inequality and power. Ultimately, the minor aims to provide students with an understanding of social partitioning and lost or silenced minority perspectives that they can then apply to their own experiences.

“We are becoming ever more aware of the ways in which gender, sexuality, and intersectionality influence our everyday lives,” said Dr. Jennifer A. Swartz-Levine, associate professor of English and Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “This new minor will enable our students to examine these issues while studying with professors who have a wide variety of expertise in this area.”

Faculty behind the minor include Dr. Amanda Curtis, assistant professor of sport management; Dr. Nichole Kathol, assistant professor of communication; Dr. Darlene Hall, associate professor of history; Dr. Swartz-Levine; and Dr. Nancy Prudic, professor of visual arts. Collectively, the faculty noted a gap in the College’s academic offerings that they felt studies in gender, sexuality and women’s issues would fill.

Drs. Kathol and Curtis, who spearheaded the creation of the new minor, stress its relevance and importance to the education offered at Lake Erie College.

“Given our storied history as a women’s seminary, we feel it is vital to expose and educate students about the gender issues they will encounter every day of their lives,” they said. “This program fits within our tradition of liberal arts as it compliments a number of majors on campus and will expand the options our students have to critically engage with these issues.”

Courses within the minor include Gender & Sexuality in Sport, The History of Women, Media and Diversity, Gender and Communication, Women’s Literature, Human Sexuality, and Gender Roles, altogether totaling 15 credit hours of requirements.

Across these courses, students will study everything from cultural expectations in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe to the representation of race, class and gender in media culture, women’s experiences in US sport, and socialization processes that assign expectations and behaviors by sex. Faculty expertise in Victorian literature, feminist visual representations, women’s physicality and more will provide valuable lenses through which students will approach these issues.

Speaking from their personal experiences, the faculty behind the minor note the transformative power of feminist thought. “My roles as a student and future educator transformed as the intersections of race, gender, and rhetoric came more clearly into focus,” said Dr. Kathol. “With this new minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies, we aim to create similar personal and institutional transformations at Lake Erie College.”

For more information on the gender, sexuality and women’s studies minor starting at Lake Erie College this fall, contact Dr. Curtis at acurtis@lec.edu, Dr. Kathol at nkathol@lec.edu, or Dr. Hall at dhall@lec.edu.

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