Archive for Thursday, November 18, 2010

Regents approve advanced degrees in women, gender and sexuality studies at KU

November 18, 2010

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— Higher education officials on Thursday approved an advanced degree unit in women's studies at Kansas University that they said will cost the state nothing extra.

“We are extending opportunities to our students without incurring any additional costs,” said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer.

The Women, Gender and Sexuality studies program will establish a master's degree and doctorate degree in the fall of 2011.

Ann Cudd, associate dean with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the program will be handled by existing faculty.

Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt said tough economic times have forced schools to look within to enhance programs without requiring more resources.

“It's a great example of the kind of innovation that we expect and always get,” she said.

Officials say demand for such studies has increased in academic, governmental and non-profit sectors that work on human rights, and in the private sector, as businesses look to improve the workforce climate.

An external review team met with faculty, students and staff in May and concluded there is demand for the program and KU is ready to take it on.

“That this faculty is highly qualified for implementing a doctoral program in women's, gender and sexuality studies is beyond doubt,” said the review team, which included leading professors from women's studies programs at the University of Michigan, University of Maryland and Emory University.

“We have no doubt that the time is right, the resources are adequate, and faculty and administrators' support for this program all promise a successful program,” the review team said.

“Women's studies is one of the most swiftly growing fields of inquiry to emerge in the past 40 years, generating one of the most significant and influential shifts in academic thought in recent memory,” the team said.

Among Big 12 universities, only Texas has a master's program in women and gender studies.

Despite the program enhancement at no additional cost, Sherrer predicted the regents will get flak from people who will claim it will cost the state more.

“This will be a wonderful opportunity for those who don't like higher education. Happy railing to all of you,” he said.

Comments

KU_cynic 4 years, 7 months ago

Happy to rail away, and it's not because I don't like higher ed.

The inherent inconsistencies are glaring in this WGS graduate program (I suggest the pronunciation of wogs, although other may favor wags, wigs, or wugs).

First, this program is essential: "“Women's studies is one of the most swiftly growing fields of inquiry to emerge in the past 40 years, generating one of the most significant and influential shifts in academic thought in recent memory.” Yet, "Among Big 12 universities, only Texas has a master's program in women and gender studies." Yep, it's so seismic that nobody else beyond the richest institution in the Big XII is doing it, that's how seismic it is. Brilliant!

Second, it won't cost anything. Faculty will teach masters classes and PhD classes that presumably don't exist now (because there are no students), yet there's no opportunity cost to their efforts? How can that be? The answer may be that students will take WGS classes cross-registered in history/sociology/American studies/navel gazing studies/etc. This will make permanent the fashionable inroads such tripe has made into these standard disciplines, and there will be fewer offerings of broader interest.

Yep, this will be great. The regents can go to the legislature and ask for more funds, with this as a salient example of priorities. Brilliant legislature public relations strategy, Brilliant!

parrothead8 4 years, 7 months ago

Because only one school in KU's ATHLETIC conference has a Master's program in Women's Studies, it's a dumb idea for KU to have one? It's as if you think an athletic conference is the center of the universe or something. Most leading academic institutions have Women's Studies programs. Don't we want KU to be a better school?

And you presume that there are no graduate students for these classes now because they don't exist? Isn't that kind of the whole point of approving the degree program? That's like saying there are no gumballs in a place where there are no gumball machines. The undergraduate classes in WGS are popular, but then students go on to other institutions because they can't get the advanced degree they want at KU. People want gumballs. Put in the gumball machine.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

Agreed, KU_cynic.

Not the best use of limited funds at KU.

It will automatically be the #2 WGS MS program in the Big 12, though!

deec 4 years, 7 months ago

Men's History Degree: putting toilet seats down Men's History Master's: asking for directions Men's History PhD.: lasting more than eight seconds

justoneperson 4 years, 7 months ago

They currently have a graduate certificate, which offers some graduate level courses, so yes, there are faculty in place that teach upper-division (both undergraduate and graduate level) courses in this field.

By its nature being on the cutting edge or expanding in a growing field is that it is growing and it fills a gap, so there won't necessarily be programs across the country (or in the Big 12) in this area.

The students are there, and the certificate program has made headway in generating enrollments. No brainer.

Godot 4 years, 7 months ago

I am either speechless, clueless, or both. Wigs? Waj!

bearded_gnome 4 years, 7 months ago

“That this faculty is highly qualified for implementing a doctoral program in women's, gender and sexuality studies is beyond doubt,” said the review team,

---translation: we have a bunch of fulltime paid faculty on part-time duty and they already have room in their busy schedules ... lol.

Womyn's studies=victimology. some Gender studies=victimology.

do we really want more Kansas resources devoted to teaching victimology/rage?

ivalueamerica 4 years, 7 months ago

i can only think of about 2 other people on this board whose opinion would count less on this issue than your's.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 7 months ago

meanwhile pay issues supposedly drain off people: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/nov...

while we have underutilized staff often teaching victimology.
thanks. got it.

booyalab 4 years, 7 months ago

" 'This will be a wonderful opportunity for those who don't like higher education. Happy railing to all of you,” he said."

Few things have set women back further than the women's studies degree.

Nobody respects a foofy degree like women's studies. I'm a woman and I don't respect it. If a woman wants to prove that she can be as intellectual and ambitious as a man, she should become a scientist, entrepeneur, historian or philosopher, not spend 4 years learning about pop culture through a feminist lens, without even knowing what a critical lens is.

booyalab 4 years, 7 months ago

I have to add, because I just anticipated one supposed counterargument to my last post. I know someone will say "But we have to empower women to be scientists and entrepeneurs and philosophers, etc! Women's studies teaches women that they can be scientists or that they can teach other women to be scientists."

Bull! A given woman didn't choose the science path because she wasn't "empowered" or didn't study enough women. It's because She Wasn't Interested In Science. Knowledge seekers are internally motivated. Of course, most women studies majors wouldn't realize that, considering they are emotion-seekers. So I'm glad to be of service.

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