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Women’s Studies at BYU

I am posting a letter that was sent recently to all Women’s Studies minors at Brigham Young University because I think it will be of interest to many of my readers. Those of you who have spent more than five minutes with me know that I am passionate about women in the arts and women in contemporary society and that my teaching and research centers around these issues. While I mourned the loss of the Women’s Research Institute (WRI) in the fall of 2009, I was fortunate enough to be part of the re-chartering of Women’s Studies at BYU and am now part of its executive council. I am especially enthused that a class that I have been teaching under various course numbers and guises is now an official course that will be taught once a year–ARTHC 301: Women in Art, c. 1750 to the present.

For those of you who knew about the WRI and its demise–spread the word that Women’s Studies at BYU is like a phoenix rising from the ashes and I am confident that it will become a more vital and significant entity on campus than ever before.

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Dear Women’s Studies Minors:

I [Dr. Valerie Hegstrom] recently received a list of your names, and so I take this opportunity to introduce myself and the members of the new Women’s Studies executive committee. Academic Vice President John Tanner appointed me to serve as the Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program on February 1 this year, and I am very pleased to work with you in this important minor. My teaching and research often deal with Early Modern Spanish and Portuguese women writers. If you want, you can read more about me here. So far, we have five other Women’s Studies faculty members serving on the WS executive committee. Ana Birkhead, a faculty member of the College of Nursing, specializes in Women’s Health issues, especially in Latin America. Amy Harris, from the History department, works on women, gender, and family history in the British Isles. Jamie Horrocks deals with gender issues in her work on Victorian Literature. The research of Heather Belnap Jensen focuses on women in the art world of post-Revolutionary France. Anca Sprenger teaches and researches both French and Romanian literature and culture, and has particular interests in the French-Canadian author Gabrielle Roy. As a committee, we are working together to update the WS curriculum, create learning outcomes, make information about the minor and classes more accessible to you, and plan conferences, guest speakers, and activities to enrich your academic experience. Additionally, seventeen other faculty members from across campus have applied to affiliate with the WS program.

Women’s Studies Brochure and Website A new brochure about the WS minor will soon be printed. It contains information about the program, the minor requirements, mentoring, advisement, and our new global perspective. I will let you know when the brochure is available to you and any of your friends who might be interested in the WS minor. The Humanities Technology and Research Support Center has begun to update our WS website. The website will get a whole new look, and you will be able to find information about affiliated faculty members, current and upcoming courses, advisement, scholarships, news and events, getting involved, campus resources, and more. Some of these website changes should be in place by the end of this semester.

Scholarships for Women Students in Social Sciences We are pleased to announce two scholarships for 2011-12. Applications (available here) are due Tuesday, April 5, 2011. Please apply or tell your friends about these opportunities.

The Ella Carpenter Jensen Fellowship

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must be female, and officially pursuing a graduate degree in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at Brigham Young University.USE: Funds may be used for tuition, or to fund a research project leading to a thesis or dissertation.AMOUNT: Up to $2000.LENGTH OF AWARD: One year (starting in Fall 2011). May be renewable, depending on progress.APPLICATION DEADLINE: 5 April 2011.


The Beverley Nalder Scholarship

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must be undergraduate single mothers majoring in the behavioral sciences at Brigham Young University.USE: Funds may be used for tuition and books.AMOUNT: Up to $1500.LENGTH OF AWARD: Two semesters, 2011-12. May be renewable.APPLICATION DEADLINE: 5 April 2011.

For more information and application materials see http://womensstudies.byu.edu/

For more information about the Beverley Nalder Scholarship see  http://magazine.byu.edu/viewarticle.php?a=2541

Women’s Studies Student Academic Association A few of you have been working diligently with us to write a charter for a student academic association in connection with the WS minor. Once the charter is complete and approved by the Associate Academic Vice President’s office, we will be able to begin planning and announcing association activities. We are considering establishing a chapter of the National Women’s Studies Honor Society here at BYU. If you are interested in helping out, getting involved, or you have suggestions and ideas about the student association and/or honor society, please contact us at byuwomensstudies@gmail.com.

Conference on Women’s Creativity We have begun work on a WS conference on Women’s Creativity (women writers, painters, composers, scientists, business women in developing nations, etc.) to be held during fall semester 2011. The conference will include papers by faculty from across campus and other Utah universities, as well as an invited keynote speaker. We hope you will want to get involved in preparations and the on-site tasks necessary to make this conference happen, as well as to attend sessions to meet and learn from the conference presenters. If you would like to help make the conference happen, please contact us at byuwomensstudies@gmail.com. Watch for updates during the summer months on our website: womensstudies.byu.edu.

Upcoming Classes In the coming months, we will make some exciting changes to the WS curriculum, and we hard at work on program and course outcomes. We plan to add a capstone experience to the minor, and develop some more WS courses in the Humanities, including a new course on European women writers in translation. We also enthusiastically announce a new WS religion course–WS 390R: Mormon Women’s History–taught by Rachel Cope. Professor Cope will offer the course for the first time during winter semester 2012. Don’t miss this fascinating new course! Here is a list of courses available in spring term that will count toward the WS minor. We will make a similar list for summer and fall available very soon.

Spring Term 2011 WS Courses:

Course # Course Title Meeting Time Room # Instructor
WS 222 Intro to Women’s Studies 12-2:30 MW B32 JFSB Melissa Jones
Comms 481 Gender, Race & Class in Media 1-3:30 TTh 250 BRMB John Davies
Hist 319 The Family in Europe 8-10:45 TTh B40 JFSB Amy Harris
Psych 306, section 1 Psychology of Gender 8:20-10:50 TTh 343 MARB J Nelson
Psych 306, section 2 Psychology of Gender 5-7:25 pm TTh 427 SLC (Salt Lake) K White
SFL 471 Family, Work & Relationships 7:30-10 pm TTh 413 SLC (Salt Lake) J Julian
Soc 323 Racial & Minority-Group Relations 10-11:50 MWF B30 JFSB H Bahr

Questions about the Minor? The Humanities College Advisement Center can answer many of your questions about minor requirements and applying for graduation. My current office hours are 2:00-2:50 p.m. MW (3148 JFSB), and I am also available at other times by appointment. You are also welcome to visit the Women’s office (1065 JFSB). The office phone number is 801-422-2276. The current office hours are 10 am – 1 pm MW, 4 – 5 pm TTh, and 9 am – 1 pm F, and my assistant, Annette, will be happy to help you with questions about the program. Our office also has a small library of books and journals related to WS–come browse the books to get ideas as you finish your term papers.
Congratulations to our graduates! Five of our WS minors and one of our WS teaching assistants are graduating this month! If you see Cindy, Hillary Anne, Lindsie, Rebekah, Shannon, or Ellen, be sure to wish them well.

I wish you great success as you finish your coursework and exams this semester, and I look forward to working with you in the coming months!

Professor Valerie Hegstrom

Coordinator of Women’s Studies

Brigham Young University

Conversation Topic: What would you like to see developed in BYU’s Women’s Studies program?


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