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"Empowering students to challenge stereotypes about gender and sexuality, to understand feminist and queer perspectives, and to work actively for diverse gender and sexuality justice."

WGS Department Overview

The study of women has been part of the GVSU curriculum since 1973 with courses both in the College of Arts and Sciences and in William James College. The minor in Women's Studies was approved in 1986 and the first Women's Studies Minor graduated in 1988. In 1997, the Program was significantly revised to include the study of "Gender." In Fall of 2013 a new minor in LGBTQ Studies was launched. As of 2014-2015, WGS has grown from a minor of approximately 22 students to a minor of 62 students to a major with two minors and 146 total students (Banner, Fall 2014). Faculty from across the University teach in the WGS Program, which is housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies.


The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies will be a community of excellent faculty and students who share a vision of diverse gender justice, providing a theory-based and broadly engaged curriculum that focuses on transforming the campus and the larger community. We will foster a learning environment where students are liberated from the oppression of gender stereotypes and are prepared to re-envision their individual and social environments and where faculty and students engage in rigorous scholarship as a foundation for teaching, learning, vocation, and civic life. WGS will be recognized as a nexus for feminist and gender issues for the campus and the West Michigan region.


  • Building communities that ensure gender justice
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and research
  • Liberal education and academic excellence in learning, teaching, and research
  • Rigorous scholarship by faculty and students as a foundation for teaching, learning, vocation, and civic life
  • Diverse, innovative and effective teaching
  • Assessment as a means to evaluate and improve student learning
  • Culture of collegiality and collaboration
  • Diversity, civic discourse, and democratic communities
  • Experiential learning
  • International perspectives and experiences