A Closer Look Into: Women's and Gender Studies Program

What students can learn about this program provided at Kean

Features > A Closer Look Into: Women's and Gender Studies Program
A Closer Look Into: Women's and Gender Studies Program

The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to learn and explore the issues within gender inequality.

Petruce Jean-Charles, Editor

Kean University is home to more than 100 undergraduate programs that allow its students to develop and obtain knowledge in many areas. 

Some areas include:

  • Art Education
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Women's and Gender Studies

Women's and Gender Studies is a program that focuses on investigating gender in the lives of all people, especially women. It also broadens viewpoints by allowing students to understand the issues that affect women and others who deal with gender inequality. 

Sara Compion, the department director spoke of the importance and education students can development within this program. 

"This program used to only pertain to women but with this recent climate, we have just changed this program to women's and gender studies so that it is more inclusive and understanding of gender and sexuality as a fluid concept. Just like any of the minors on campus it is 18 credits, where students can take ID 1300 Introduction to Women's Studies. Then students can choose other courses from the five sections like literature, history, philosophy, public administration, political science, sociology and more," said Compion. 

Compion notes that this minor helps students because it is a tool for them to take classes that fall under their free electives. 

"What's nice about mixing and meshing is that you can focus your major in an area that is of some interest to you. For example, a nursing major can focus on gender and sexuality for their patients in the future," said Compion.

When speaking of the requirements needed, Compion wants students to understand that anyone can pick up this program as a minor. 

"I think most students will find that they are taking most of these courses, so they will want to take this program to build on that," said Compion. "It let's the student say 'oh, I can take this as a minor'."

Compion understands that in order for students to be involved in this program there must be a way to create a substantive community for them.

"We have equality for all, an LGBTQ club on campus, and we also have a few lecturers that teach gender and sexuality issues. On top of that, we have students who are interested in learning about this and they take these courses, which is sort of a disconnect between them. It would be nice to take this program beyond being a minor by broadening the discussion of gender around our campus."

Compion then mentioned a new coordinator Consuelo Bonillas, who teaches many of the courses in the women's and gender studies program. 

Alongside these courses she is very involved in women's health issues in this community, where she has been involved in a teen pregnancy project for five years. Bonillas continues to engage in projects that will help get access to health for those in need in New Jersey.  

This course is also a study that seeks to enrich both academically and personally to provide insight on relevant topics in today's workplace, families, communities and the larger society.  

Other than places that are affected by gender inequality, it also includes an exploration of how gender intertwines with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality and culture. 

Students can take fascinating courses from a range of social science and humanities disciplines and are encouraged to come into this program with an open mind. 

Additionally this program provides: 

  • Guest speakers
  • Film showings and festival
  • Scholarships
  • Student presentations
  • Poetry and art events
  • Trips
  • Social gatherings

These events spark student-led initiatives and participation and through this participation, students are able to bring awareness of issues within gender equality to the campus. 

Students have the option to concentrate in Women's and Gender Studies by taking an 18 credit minor in conjunction with any major degree program. 

This program does not only focus on undergraduate students, but makes sure to prepare its graduate students with a good background of this topic for graduate school and the professional world. 

Along with learning about issues in this world, this program allows students to develop analytical skills, critical thinking and a gender-oriented perspective on social problems. 

Some social problems dealing with gender include:

  • Childhood diseases
  • Sexual violence
  • Slave labor
  • Poverty

Students are also given the opportunities to participate in career networking, research, professional conferences and development in the women's studies program.

Compion wants students to be aware of the issues that are going on in our country and globally because there are many gender-related subjects that need to be addressed.

For anymore questions about this program and how to become involved in these studies students can visit the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and email at interdisciplinary@kean.edu or scompion@kean.edu.

about the author
Petruce Jean Charles - Web

Petruce Jean-Charles, Editor

Petruce Jean-Charles is a senior majoring in communication with a concentration in journalism. In Spring 2017 she joined The Cougar's Byte staff. She is goal-driven and dedicated to accomplishing her goals, where she wishes to work for successful companies like Huffington Post or The Washington Post. In her free time, she enjoys listening to different artists and watching new horror and thriller movies.