The Women’s Studies (WST) Program at Central Michigan University (CMU) was established in 1975 as an interdisciplinary academic undergraduate minor open to all students. Initially, students electing the minor chose courses in the Departments of Anthropology, Business Law, English, Health Education, History, Philosophy, Physical Education, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Religion. Independent Study was also available. The program also sponsored campus programs, speakers, films, brownbag lunches, conferences, and various get-togethers.
In 1992, the Women’s Studies Program embarked on a special CMU Centennial Project, She Made A Difference. The project resulted in an exhibit and a brochure documenting CMU women leaders, and the important impact they had upon CMU. A Women’s Studies governance council was established in 1994, as was the annual essay contest which includes an award for the winner. Over time the coordinator’s position developed into a director’s position.
In 2011 Women’s Studies continues to offer an interdisciplinary approach to women’s studies, and, since 1999, a Major as well as a Minor degree. Its goal is to “foster understanding of the ways in which social patterning of female and male roles impacts on human behavior and on the accumulation of knowledge.” To accomplish this, the program focuses on how gender, ethnicity, class, and nationality intersect to understand power and oppression as well as the struggle for international justice. The faculty helps students connect feminist theories with advocacy and social justice. Additionally, the program sponsors events including Take Back the Night each spring, Women’s History / Herstory month events, various speakers, Soup and Substance discussions, films, and exhibits.
A Student Association for Women’s Issues meets regularly to discuss issues of concern to women students at CMU and to provide a forum for women’s studies students to share their research. (This information is from the collection.)