Need some extra credits to graduate, but don’t want to resort to archery class? Or do you just want to add a little variety to your education? A wide and varied selection of minors are available to supplement any major. One lesser-known program, the gender studies minor, can complement virtually any field of study.
The gender studies minor came about when three professors began to notice students making connections among their respective classes. Jacci Stuckey Welling, professor of history, teaches a class on women in American history; Diane Chambers, professor of English, teaches a women writers class; and Marcia Everett, professor of communication arts, teaches a class about gender roles in communications.
“We want students to make connections between gender, how we’re socialized, how we communicate, in whatever major they’re in,” Welling said.
The classes together were a great start for a minor, with the addition of a gender sociology class taught by Malcolm Gold, professor of sociology. A variety of other classes round out the program, along with a senior project similar to the honors program’s thesis project.
“You bring together your specialization and look at it through. . .the lens of gender,” Welling said.
Because of the interdepartmental foundation of the program and the universal importance of gender roles, a gender studies minor would be a good fit for any program.
One student has taken the minor a step further. Nate Merritt, senior women’s, gender, and sexuality studies major and English minor, expanded the minor and turned it into an individualized major.
Merritt, who graduates this December, is currently working on his senior project.
“I’m working on a series of independently published magazines, like zines, on different issues of feminist theology,” Merritt said. “So the first issue is about. . . gender language talking about God, like using all masculine language, and why that’s problematic.”
The minor wasn’t yet in place when Merritt enrolled at Malone, but it’s one of the reasons he stayed.
“I think one of the key concepts that comes up in all of the classes is that male and female are biological, and gender is the social constructions—the gender roles, like masculine and feminine and everything in between,” Merrit said. “I think that’s something important that recurs throughout all of the different classes. . . .Looking at things critically through this lens specifically is important to me.”
Merritt wants to continue gender studies in some form in graduate school, but he said he could see the benefit of the minor for anyone, regardless of field of study.
“Anybody can gain something from it,” Meritt said. “Any of the gender studies classes will broaden your horizons, open your mind, [and] get you to think about things in different ways.”