AASU Adds Gender and Women's Studies Major

(Savannah, GA-February 22, 2007) Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) will begin offering a bachelor's degree in gender and women's studies (GWST) beginning in the fall of 2007. The existing program currently offers a minor and a certificate. AASU is one of only three public universities in Georgia to offer a Bachelor's of Arts degree in the field.

Gender and Women's Studies draws upon various perspectives of human experience in areas as diverse as literature, history, art, political science, sociology, and psychology. GWST students will be required to take upper-level classes in both the arts and humanities, and in the social and behavioral sciences and/or health professions. Additionally, a required junior/senior seminar will emphasize a service-learning element.

"Since the approval of the minor and graduate and undergraduate certificates in women's studies in 2000, student demand for GWST classes has been strong," said Teresa Winterhalter, program director.

The enthusiasm on campus for the major became evident in the fall of 2000; when 150 students enrolled in GWST-related courses were surveyed. Nearly 60 percent of them expressed an interest in pursuing a major in GWST if a program were to become available.

In the fall of 2005, a GWST track was added to the Master of Arts in Liberal and Professional Studies.

"The addition of the major is the latest development in the growth of the Gender and Women's Studies program at AASU," said Winterhalter.

The demand for graduates with a background in the study of gender and women's issues is growing. Professionals in the field are required to develop and implement programs designed to address problems of violence against women, illiteracy, and inadequate healthcare.

Outside the classroom, there has also been a demand for annual women's studies conferences on the part of AASU students and faculty. In the past five years, more than 800 students, faculty, and members of the community have participated in these conferences.

"The breadth of focus under Gender and Women's Studies is not available in many traditional undergraduate degrees," said Winterhalter.

The faculty in the GWST program at AASU reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the program and includes professors from the social sciences, history, literature, film, and health sciences.

AASU's female student population of 68.8 percent reflects a cultural need for the major. At the same time, registration in current and past GWST courses also reflects that male students have a keen interest in this intellectual field. Overall there is a growing demand for programs that foster students' intellectual understanding of their responsibilities as global citizens.

For more information, please contact Teresa Winterhalter at 912.921.5632 or winterte@mail.armstrong.edu.