Women's and Gender Studies, a multidisciplinary project emphasizing diversity, serves hundreds of students each academic year. Sponsoring departments include Art, Communications, Economics, English, History, HPER, Library and Sociology. Every term we offer several sections of Introduction to Women's Studies (WST 101), a course that examines women's roles cross-culturally in the family, workplace, community, professions and popular culture. A second course, Women's Issues In Global Context (WST 201), looks at labor, reproductive rights, education, sexual identity and grassroots activism in targeted areas around the world. We also offer The Goddess in World Religions (WST 110), which explores images in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, traditional African religions and Native American traditions, looking at both iconography and literary texts to see how the Goddess as a representation of the Divine affects women's spiritual identity and the larger culture.
Women's and Gender Studies particularly attracts non-traditional students, especially returning women, women of color, and working class women – transforming their lives, making them see the world with a new lens and enabling them to develop strategies for more successful lives.
The project's twenty-five core faculty members from various departments participate in an annual series of events for Women's History Month. A faculty seminar meets three-five times each semester to discuss research, community activism, teaching methods, and women in the vanguard of arts and professions. Guest speakers frequently present their work.
TheWomen's and Gender Studies project coordinator, Darshna Katwala, is a faculty leader committed to encouraging lifelong reading and writing with a special interest in multi-cultural studies and social justice issues. Like so many of theWomen's and Gender Studies faculty members, she presents and shares her work at local and national conferences. Darshna has been the recipient of the Educator of Excellence award in teaching from the New York State English Council and has won several grant awards that have allowed her to support professional learning initiatives as well as develop community programming to help educators and students. She also serves as the Director of the Long Island Writing Project, a local site-of the National Writing Project.