August 16, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Message from the Director | The Journey to Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Dr. Cynthia Anderson, portrait

Dr. Cynthia Anderson

By Dr. Cynthia Anderson
Professor and Director of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Greetings Alum and Friends!

Who We Are

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Ohio University is a community of scholars who examine gender and sexuality and their intersection with race, ethnicity, nationality, class, disability, and other elements of diversity. The WGSS curriculum introduces students to a wide range of theoretical and practical perspectives on the influence and meaning of gender in the human experience across time and cultures. The program promotes interdisciplinary teaching and research about gender and sexuality across myriad social and cultural contexts; it builds ties among scholars, providing a vital locus of feminist and queer scholarship and activism on campus, in the community, and beyond.

Our Past

The program formally began in 1979 as an interdisciplinary program offering undergraduate certificates in Women’s Studies. Graduate certificates were first offered in 1987. In 2002, the program established its first tenure-track faculty line, a split position shared with the English Department. Building on the popularity of its undergraduate and graduate certificates, in 2005 the program launched a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In 2008, the program’s name was changed to Women’s and Gender Studies, so that the unit’s name might reflect more clearly its mission and the research and teaching pursued by its faculty. This mirrored similar name changes to programs nationwide.

The Honors Program yielded its first senior thesis in 2010, and several more have followed. In addition, WGS created an Honor’s Tutorial College degree in 2011: currently one student is enrolled.

In 2014, the program once again changed its name: in short order, the newly minted Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program added a certificate in LGBTQ Studies.

Our Present

Today, the WGSS program houses a major and four certificate programs: the undergraduate WGSS certificate, the undergraduate LGBTQ certificate, the graduate WGSS certificate, and the newly formed online graduate certificate in Gender, Sexualities and Health. We deliver WGSS 1000 to an average of 1,100 students each year as well as serving 21 majors and more than 60 certificate students. Our interdisciplinary programming includes a rich variety of individual courses, many of which focus on global feminisms, sexuality studies, and cultural analysis. In addition to core WGSS courses, students choose from more than 70 elective courses, taught by more than 100 affiliated faculty from 28 departments.

Since 2009, 28 students have received undergraduate degrees in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. We have awarded 157 undergraduate certificates in WGSS and 116 graduate certificates.

WGSS offers a fellowship in honor of Barbara E. Allushuski, an alumna who established a foundation account to strengthen the tradition of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Ohio University, as well as to provide opportunities for career and leadership development. The fellowship provides $1,000 in research support for two outstanding graduate students each academic year. Allushuski Fellows are invited to be part of a community of scholars and activists focused on gender justice.

Today, WGSS has five joint-appointed faculty: Cynthia Anderson (Director), Eve Ng, Nicole Reynolds, Myrna Perez Sheldon, and Risa Whitson, and three full-time faculty: Kim Little, (Associate Director), Loran Marsan, and Patty Stokes. We are supported by a part-time administrative assist, Shai Pina. We are located at 31 S. Court St., next to Bagel Street Deli. Stop by and visit next time you’re in town!

Our Future

After graduation, students have gone on to graduate programs at such prestigious universities as Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, and UCLA. Other alumni are working in academia, law, LGBTQ health education, culture and arts education, sexual assault survivor advocacy, social work, mental health professions, immigrant and child advocacy, media, and more.

Fall semester is under way. We are excited to welcome new majors and certificate seekers! We look forward welcoming many of you back to our annual “Reunion and Roundtables” homecoming event on Oct. 19, 2018.

We would love to hear from you! There are many opportunities to stay involved with WGSS. Please drop us an email with your current contact information and updates.

One Comment

  1. So happy to see how this program has grown. I received a certificate in Women’s Studies in 1982 (Waneta K. Buddelmeyer then). So much of what I learned informs my life today and I sometimes take for granted that women of all ages did not have the benefit of learning the history, politics and culture taught by the program. Here’s to continued prosperity!

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