Topeka Kansas University is seeking approval from the Kansas Board of Regents for a master's and doctoral program in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
The proposal will be before the Council of Presidents on Thursday. If approved, it will be sent to a committee of the Kansas Board of Regents. The earliest the full regents could consider it would be in December.
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.
No extra costs or financing is necessary for the program, which will be within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
KU has been working on offering a doctorate in the subject since 2008.
John Younger, director of Women, Gender and Sexual Studies at KU, said a doctorate in the area “will be a great addition to KU, to Kansas and Midwest.”