As I read the Opinion published in the Thursday, Oct. 13 issue “Discovering Difference” I couldn’t help but smile. Teaching students Social Justice and Diversity are incredibly important. You may or may not know that many of the courses that are currently taught on these topics are offered in the Women’s Studies Program and the new social justice leadership minor. In case you haven’t studied with us, Women’s Studies is not the study of women only. It’s the study of multiple axes of identity and oppression central to social justice work such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and class. Our courses combine politics, history, anthropology, medicine and law to create deep meaningful examinations of culture. We use feminist approaches to talk about equality and we do it really well. Many of our classes cover at least one discovery requirement. For example our Spring 2017 courses WS 505.1 Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies, WS 505.2 Weight Matters: An Intro to Fat Studies and WS 444 Race Matters are all Inquiry and Historical Perspectives courses.
Women’s Studies is also home to the new social justice leadership minor. This minor engages students in an exploration of policies, power dynamics, institutions, and structures that promote and hinder equity and processes of change required for social justice. Both WS and the social justice leadership minor are multi-disciplinary. There are also classes throughout the university that you can take to complete the minor.
In the recent “On the Spot” article with Dean Bostic, she discusses pathways to getting employment after college. Women’s Studies is committed to experiential and engaged learning opportunities which help students explore the world through internships and research assistant opportunities. Students are encouraged to take the theories they’ve learned in the classroom and use them in real life. Our students are gaining skills through these internships that translate into work experience and networking for their job search after college.
Thus, while the current Discovery requirements don’t include a Social Justice requirement now, the classes exist. We hope many TNH readers will join us this spring to continue your Social Justice education.
If you have questions or would like information, please email us at SJLMinor@unh.edu and firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our office 203 Huddleston Hall.
– Julia Pond