Thanks to the efforts of the Faculty Women's Caucus, the Women's Studies Interdisciplinary Program was approved by Faculty Council in 1977 and offered its first courses in 1978. From the beginning the Program has been a blend of interdisciplinary and disciplinary courses designed to explore women and gender in complex interaction with the world. In 1985 Program administration was combined with the Office of Women's Programs in a cooperative agreement with the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (now the College of Liberal Arts). The change was made in order to provide the program with more visibility and a stable location. The title of the office was changed to Women's Program and Studies, and for a time it jointly reported to both the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs. Offering a bridge between the classroom and student services, the Office of Women's Programs and Studies encouraged academic and co-curricular integration.
Over the decades, curriculum expanded and evolved as the affiliate faculty grew. Faculty outside the College of Liberal Arts began to participate. Enrollments expanded. A 12-credit graduate certificate program was added in 1992. A successful curricular infusion project originally funded by the Southwest Institute for Research on Women has reshaped courses in all eight of Colorado State's academic colleges since 1984. Funds donated from the estate of a key program founder created the Patsy Boyer Women's Studies Scholarships in 2001. An on-going colloquium series drew Women's Studies scholars together from across campus until at present Women's Studies is an integral minor at Colorado State University. The Program has taught approximately 25,000-30,000 undergraduate and graduate students to date. Women's Studies' students are prepared to face the complex intersections of sex and gender, race and ethnicity, class and sexuality, in a wide range of disciplines. Post-graduation, our students are employed in professions such as education, law, politics, for profit and non-profit employment, in which their education effects the work environment they enter.
The Women's Interdisciplinary Studies Program prepares individuals for the needs and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world. The program builds awareness of the range of human experience, potential, and accomplishment. Women's Studies uniquely fills Colorado State University's central mission and contributes to intersectional, interpersonal, intercultural, and international understandings.
Contemporary career opportunities can be directly enhanced by students who have a women's studies background. In several areas such as journalism, communication, business, law, education, and human services, it is now common to choose a career that has a direct focus on women and gender.
In areas that have not traditionally focused on women and gender, an awareness of the history and culture of feminisms, women and the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexism can enhance a person's ability to cope with dilemmas and issues related to gender and sex that arise in the workplace. In addition, students in women's studies have the unique opportunity to apply insights from course work to their own lives, helping them to make more informed choices about careers, education, relationships, and community participation.
The program's objectives are: to enable students to explore academic disciplines from feminist and intersectional perspectives; to help develop an appreciation of the historic and contemporary contributions of women of a variety of cultures; to explore the ideological assumptions regarding women and gender implicit in social institutions; to create opportunities for all students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Approximately fifty three Women's Studies Affiliate Faculty, representing eighteen different departments and five different colleges, participate in activities that meet the tripartite mission of the university of teaching, research, and service.
Mission Statement and Values
The Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research (CWSGR) at Colorado State University is an interdisciplinary apex of research, academic, and teaching program in the Department of Ethnic Studies. The program is devoted to examining the positions of women and the organization of gendered relations in culture and society from both intellectual and activist perspectives. Central to our consideration of women and gender is a commitment to investigating the intersections of class, race, ethnicity, sexual identities, queer identities, non-heteronormative identities, age, ability, citizenship, empire, nation, and national origin along the social structures and power continuums of oppression, difference, and privilege. CWSGR is housed within the Department of Ethnic Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.
The CWSGR Program has a three-fold emphasis on teaching, research and outreach. Guided by the wide spectrum of feminist and other critical identity or gendered perspectives, our program aims to heighten awareness and understanding of the range of human experience, potential, and accomplishment in order to advance the goals of social justice. In the course of meeting these objectives, we seek to nurture and disseminate knowledge about women and gender that is 1) historically-informed, 2) grounded at every level of life experience, including interpersonal, household, workplace, and state arenas, 3) focused on marginalized and privileged populations, and 4) dedicated to social change. The work of CWSGR thus corresponds to the knowledge-building mandate of a research university, and to CSU's central outreach and engagement mission as a land grant institution.
- Part of the academic mission includes a Women's Studies Curriculum Infusion Project that provides mentoring on curriculum, scholarship, and teaching from a gendered and feminist perspective for faculty, staff, and advanced graduate students.
- CWSGR strives to foster service-learning opportunities with local and global communities that support women's and gender research in order to effect meaningful change in public policy and social life.
- CWSGR advocates for the diffusion of feminist scholarly and creative work across the university, as well as at the regional, national, and international academic levels.
- CWSGR is committed to the mentoring of civic-minded and socially aware students who strive to enhance the world at large.
- CWSGR encourages scholarly and creative collaborations between faculty, students and campus community members that seek to address issues of social justice and social change pertaining to gender inequities that are inclusive of multiple realities and also speak to structural and political intersectionality.