About WGSS

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies


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Photo of the 2016 Senior Seminar students

WGSS logoWomen, Gender and Sexuality Studies Mission Statement

The mission of the department is to engage in teaching, research, and service activities devoted to examining the cultural, historical, social, political, and economic experiences and contributions of women of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, classes, abilities, and sexual orientations in a global context; the many ways in which gender distinctions have affected human lives, as well as the construction and intersection of gender, race, and class; feminist scholarship; and critical and theoretical analyses and reflection upon these topics.

A wide variety of feminist perspectives and feminist criticisms are employed as methodologies in this interdisciplinary field. Academically, we seek to provide our students with a solid background in knowledge about gender, race, class, and sexual orientation issues; feminist analysis; critical thinking; and oral and written communication, and actively engage students in the generation of new knowledge and areas of inquiry.

We aim to prepare students for meaningful participation and contribution in an inclusive and diverse society, to be local, national, and global citizens, and to participate effectively and contribute meaningfully in a diverse workplace.

Finally, we intend to provide a nurturing environment for the whole person – to help each student find her or his own strengths, gifts, and path, as well as to raise awareness about the way that path concerns and connects with others in local and global contexts.

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Vision Statement

Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth will build upon its strong foundation in Women’s Studies core curricula, transnational feminism, applied feminism, as well as its long-standing commitment to feminist pedagogy and engagement with the unique and internationally renowned feminist advocacy community of the Twin Ports to become a more comprehensive department, under the new name of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, recognized for its student-centered community and pedagogy, applied scholarship, and feminist activism and community engagement.

  • We will continue to teach our students the critical thinking and communication skills they need to analyze issues in feminist, gender, race, class, and sexual orientation theories so that they may generate new knowledge and further areas of inquiry.
  • We will prepare graduates for meaningful participation and contribution in a diverse society; to be local, national, and global citizens; and participate effectively and contribute meaningfully in a diverse workplace.
  • We will expand the scope of the department to address the needs and interests of a changing student body and developments in feminist scholarship
  • We will expand our interdisciplinary focus and resources.
  • We will broaden the reach of the department beyond the boundaries of UMD, both locally and transnationally.
  • We will create a department that exemplifies sustainability.
  • We will engage in feminist praxis through and organic research and creative inquiry that challenges the boundaries between scholarship, the classroom, and the world, and through collaborative partnership with the cultural, intellectual, and social justice pursuits of Duluth and surrounding communities.
  • We will provide a nurturing environment for the whole person – to help each student find their own strengths, gifts, and path, as well as to raise awareness about the way that path concerns and connects with others in local and global contexts.
  • We will continue to model the positivity and inclusivity of UMD’s Strategic Plan Goal 2 by furthering our commitment to the recognition of intersectionalities of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, nationality, and ethnicity, and the fostering of social transformation in our classrooms, research, community engagement, and departmental practices.

Student Learning Outcomes

Knowledge

Demonstrate and apply knowledge of key concepts in the discipline of Women’s Studies including women’s experience, roles and contributions historically and in present time within local, global, political, social, and economic contexts. 

Understand, articulate and apply knowledge of feminist theory, epistemologies, ethics and research methods to academic, work and service endeavors.

Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the intersections of gender with race, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, age, and nationality.

Skills/Behaviors

Formulate relevant questions for research and inquiry in the field of Women’s Studies. Conduct original research and communicate results by written, oral, and media presentation methods according to national standards.

Critically analyze material with regard to the strengths and weaknesses of supporting reasoning and evidence.  Recognize assumptions, standpoints, biases and power dimensions of an argument as well as the inclusivity and/or exclusivity of the viewpoints expressed.

Exercise feminist discourse skills with individuals and/or groups. Clearly represent and understand one’s own standpoint while making room for the standpoints and ideas of others.

Recognize and interact effectively with a variety of organizations whose work significantly impacts women.

Display professional values

Demonstrate cultural competence by applying understanding of human diversity to academic and work situations while behaving respectfully towards others and collaborating in a way that includes the gifts and perspectives of all.

Demonstrate feminist ethics and contextually locate self and others in relation to personal and political identities including gender, race, class, age, ability, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity and nationality.