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FMU establishes gender studies program

            FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University has established a gender studies program, which will begin offering courses during the fall 2006 semester.

            The program is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary lens through which to examine human conditions and experiences; gender role development; and legal, political, economic, social and cultural systems.

            The gender studies program infuses insights from an array of disciplines as part of the process of examining questions thematically and developing more inclusive perspectives.

            A minor and a collateral in gender studies will be offered. The minor consists of 18 hours of courses and the collateral consists of 12 hours. Courses eligible for the gender studies minor and collateral include classes in biology, English, gender studies, history, health, psychology, and sociology. Not all courses will be offered every semester.

            FMU English professor Jennifer Kunka and health education professor Janis McWayne are co-chairs of the university’s Gender Studies Steering Committee. A coordinator for the program has not yet been named.

            “I want to commend Janis and Jennifer, and the entire Gender Studies Steering Committee, for their hard work in bringing this program to fruition,” said FMU president Fred Carter. “This program should serve to broaden students’ perspectives regarding any number of gender-related issues. Hopefully, it will also promote greater tolerance and appreciation for differing points of view. Ultimately, that’s what a quality educational program seeks to accomplish.”

            The gender studies program has already sponsored two public speeches on campus, each with a specific disciplinary focus. Last fall, Judith James from the University of South Carolina spoke about “Gender and the Literary Marketplace,” and this spring, former South Carolina State Rep. Harriet Keyserling discussed “Gender and Politics.”

            “The interdisciplinary nature of the Gender Studies Program will provide students with diverse avenues of inquiry for exploring the social, political, and historical influences of gender in our culture,” said Kunka. “The program will also better prepare FMU students for conducting gender-related research and entering a variety of careers in the humanities, sciences, and education.”

            “Gender has a profound affect on the political, economic, and social components of our culture. Actually, gender impacts all facets of our lives,” said McWayne. “Awareness and understanding of gender issues will engage students in the process of examining questions in regard to gender thematically, and motivate them to develop more inclusive, diverse and global perspectives. Comprehension of gender dynamics, biases, and patterns can improve the ways in which we live, work, and play.”

            For more information about FMU’s gender studies program, call Kunka at 843-661-1520 or McWayne at 843-661-1467.

#158 / 3-23-06
Last Published: February 14, 2007 10:57 AM
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