Photo of women's march on campus in 2022

Photo of Women's March at UNC Charlotte in 2022

UNC Charlotte's Women's and Gender Studies (WGST) department encompasses the education of various topics pertaining to the advocacy of female accomplishments, the studies and history of gender, and the history and language of feminism.

Students are invited to declare their minor in Women's and Gender Studies, through which they will gain opportunities to broaden their knowledge on gendered experiences and explore the topic of activism in the community.

The WGST department strives to "explore the ways that gender influences social structures and individual experiences around the world" and to "confirm gender as a category of analysis that includes women, men, transgender, and gender non-conforming people," as according to the University website. The department works to uphold these goals by offering diverse and inclusive course options to UNC Charlotte students. 

Associate Professor Dr. Sonya Ramsey explains the varying student involvement in the WGST department. Students enrolled in WGST classes range from "those unfamiliar with women's studies who take introductory classes to others who seek upper-level courses that examine academic subjects related to their own identities and self-interests," said Ramsey. The department's curriculum encompasses a variety of subjects that apply to various fields of study, making the content applicable to many students. Ramsey said there are over 250 students enrolled in WGST department courses. The content could include women's leadership development, queer studies, the intersections of race, sport, and masculinity, and gender and healthcare." The undergraduate program website lists the WGST-related course options available. 

Ramsey's role within the WGST department is to uphold the responsibility of strategic operations planning, curriculum development and management, event and program planning, and University and public outreach and media relations. In addition, the efforts of herself and other faculty members support the WGST department and its students through creating events and generating materials. 

Aware of consistently changing times, the WGST department makes a conscious effort to provide a curriculum that "examines the role and impact of gender and sexuality on the human experience," said Ramsey. The department, recognizing how gender varies throughout time, "emphasizes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, with faculty employing a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches," as stated on their homepage.

Relevant and evolving topics remain the focus of WGST courses and their department as a whole. Ramsey explains how curricula development is vital to the progressiveness of this department by detailing how department curriculum highlights sensitive topics by ensuring they are "consistent with the standards of an academic setting, while also creating an accepting environment for students who have experienced discrimination and other forms of trauma or just wish to explore sensitive issues in a welcoming academic setting."

In celebration of Women's History Month, the WGST department proceeds with its regular proclamation of historical achievements by women. Ramsey states, "almost every month could be deemed Women's History month by [the] program," enforcing their ongoing dedication to affirming female achievements.

The department proudly co-sponsored a virtual event earlier in the month with the Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at UNC Greensboro called "Making Our Way: Women's and Gender Studies' Perspectives on Chaotic Times." This event, held on Wednesday, March 23 at 6 p.m., intended to establish how the WGST department helps individuals navigate such "chaotic" times while offering support to anyone in need. 

Ramsey describes the WGST department's upcoming goals, listing several organizations they plan to aid as well as their upcoming efficacy assessments by the University alongside the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The department is to support core organizations, including the Gender Excellence: Where Academics Meets Activism (GenX) First-Year Learning Community, the WGST minor, the Early Entry WGST Graduate Certificate Program for undergraduates and the Graduate Certificate Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. 

UNC Charlotte's undergraduate program website states the minor's goal is to "develop students' understanding of the ways gender has shaped lived experience in the past, present, and around the world." Charlotte students are granted knowledge and skill-sets per the minor, which assist in finding employment opportunities specifically in "business, healthcare, education, government, and the nonprofit sector." The attributes required to complete the minor are listed on the University Catalog, detailing the need for a minimum of 18 credit hours in "approved courses." Grade requirements alongside further, more detailed information are also described for students in the catalog.

Any UNC Charlotte students interested in furthering their experiences with the WGST department have the opportunity to take part in an active internship. The University offers resources on this internship, detailed on their website. The internship program is said to "integrate academics with activism," allowing participants to apply their education to a real-world setting. Eligibility, requirements, placement details and application information, are also available on the website. Ramsey also serves as a resource to address students' and WGST faculty's concerns or issues, should any arise.

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