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Creating and sustaining a community of scholar-activists who: understand systems of gender and sexuality; generate and apply intersectional feminist and queer perspectives; challenge structural inequalities; and work for social justice.

WGS Department Overview

The study of women has been part of the GVSU curriculum since 1973 when courses were taught 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 expanded to include the study of gender. Women and Gender Studies became a major in 2006. In fall of 2013, a new minor in LGBTQ Studies was launched. With the study of sexuality added to curriculum, the program name was changed to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGS) in 2015. The WGS Department is housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies.


The Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department 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 through rigorous scholarship as a foundation for teaching, learning, vocation, and civic life.


  • 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 and high-impact learning
  • International perspectives and experiences

Department Support for Trans+ Students, Staff, and Faculty

On October 21st, 2018, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the Trump Administration, has proposed reinterpreting our nation’s civil rights law in a way that removes recognition and protection of an estimated 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender, intersex, non-binary, or gender non-conforming. The proposal would define gender as either male or female, unchangeable, “determined by genitalia at birth,” and to be reinforced by "genetic testing." Below is the statement on behalf of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at Grand Valley State University, in response to this memo.

Department Support for Trans, Two Spirit, Intersex, Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming Students, Staff, and Faculty

Brooks College