Program Governance

Since the offering of Appalachian State University’s first Women’s Studies course twenty-five years ago, Women’s Studies has grown as an academic discipline. A majority of colleges and universities in the U.S. have Women’s Studies programs and offer undergraduate majors and minors, and the number of graduate programs in Women’s Studies continues to increase. Feminist scholarship has made and continues to make ground-breaking contributions to methodologies and knowledge in literary studies, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, art, history, the sciences, economics, among others, and there are numerous scholarly journals devoted to interdisciplinary and disciplinary-specific feminist research.

Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary field that develops and promotes feminist analyses of gender as it is shaped by race, class, ethnicity, sexuality, age, and ability. Given the fact that curriculum and methodologies in traditional academic disciplines continue to marginalize and/or ignore the experiences and contributions of women, Women’s Studies’ focus on women’s experiences as grounds for feminist theorizing continues to be its unique and necessary contribution to scholarship in all disciplines and to liberal education. Women’s Studies at Appalachian State University aims to reflect developments in feminist scholarship in its programming and curriculum.

Women’s Studies Program Advisory Committee

Participation on the Women’s Studies Program Advisory Committee at Appalachian State University is open to all faculty, staff, and students who are interested and active in feminist scholarship, organizations, and/or activist projects. This committee will be active in decisions regarding programming (films, conferences, speakers, Women’s History Month activities, etc.).

Women’s Studies Faculty

Faculty who wish to become members of the Women's Studies Faculty must send a copy of their curriculum vitae (updated every five years) to the Women's Studies Director and possess at least two of the following qualifications (as evidenced on the CV): (1) activity in feminist scholarship through peer-reviewed publishing (including dissertations), presentation of papers at peer-reviewed conferences, and/or activity in feminist critiqued performance arts and feminist juried exhibitions, (2) significant teaching experience teaching courses with women’s studies content, (3) significant participation in disciplinary-specific and/or interdisciplinary feminist professional organizations or caucuses, (4) a graduate degree in Women's Studies, significant graduate coursework in Women's Studies, (or the equivalent (given the absence of graduate courses in Women's Studies until relatively recently), and (5) participation in seminars and institutes designed to promote feminist scholarship and/or pedagogy (such as the National Endowment for the Humanities). Additionally, feminist contribution to community service, including publication in local and regional periodicals, volunteer work with local feminist organizations, workshop planning and implementation, etc. will be considered as enhancing the applicant's formal academic credentials as evidenced on the CV.

In almost all cases, WS courses are taught by members of the WS faculty. However, in exceptional cases individuals (such as visiting instructors, adjuncts, or graduate students in the WS Graduate Certificate Program) who meet the criteria for WS faculty status can be approved by the WS Director to offer a WS course(s) for a maximum of one academic year. Subsequently, in order to continue teaching courses that count for the WS major, minor, and/or graduate certificate, these individuals must apply formally for WS faculty status and, if approved, their courses would be eligible for consideration for WS credit.

Women’s Studies Department Personnel Committee (DPC)

The WS DPC will be made up of three eligible tenured WS faculty members plus one tenured alternate and one eligible nontenured WS faculty member plus one nontenured alternate, with the Director of WS presiding as a non-voting member at all DPC meetings. Members of the WS DPC will serve one-year terms. All members of the WS faculty who are eligible to vote and serve as a member of a DPC as outlined in the University Faculty Handbook are eligible to serve on the WS DPC. Those same people are eligible to vote in the WS DPC election.

The WS DPC election will take place each spring semester at the final WS faculty meeting of the academic year. Members of the WS faculty will be notified at least two weeks in advance by electronic mail of the WS faculty meeting at which the DPC election will take place. As per University Faculty Handbook rules, members of the DPC must be elected by a quorum of the eligible voters. Since participation in WS is in large part voluntary, WS defines a quorum for purposes of voting on membership of the DPC as follows: Those members of the Women’s Studies Faculty present for the DPC vote at the final spring meeting advertised in advance as the time and place of a vote to elect members of the DPC..

The WS DPC will meet to consider the eligibility of persons seeking to teach WS courses who are not credentialed in another academic unit. In addition, the WS DPC will consider all applications for WS Faculty status using the criteria outlined above under “Women’s Studies Faculty,”

Women's Studies Executive Committee

The WS Faculty will elect three to five WS Faculty members to serve on a Women's Studies Executive Committee, which will advise the Director of Women's Studies and help articulate the mission of the Program in various institutional contexts. Members of this committee shall se
rve a two-year term, with one to two members being elected each year. Members can serve a maximum of two terms.

Curriculum Committee

The Women’s Studies Curriculum Committee will review and make decisions about proposals for courses in Women’s Studies. Decisions about curriculum will be made by a rotating committee of five Women’s Studies faculty who are appointed yearly by the Director. Faculty proposing courses in Women’s Studies should address in their course proposals at least two of the following: (1) substantial knowledge and integration of relevant feminist scholarship, (2) awareness and integration of feminist pedagogy, (3) consideration of the interrelatedness of gender, race, class, ability, and sexuality.

In almost all cases, WS courses are taught by members of the WS faculty. However, in exceptional cases individuals (such as visiting instructors, adjuncts, or graduate students in the WS Graduate Certificate Program) who meet the criteria for WS faculty status can be approved by the WS Director to offer a WS course(s) for a maximum of one academic year. Subsequently, in order to continue teaching courses that count for the WS major, minor, and/or graduate certificate, these individuals must apply formally for WS faculty status and, if approved, their courses would be eligible for consideration for WS credit.

Graduate Curriculum

Graduate courses on women's and gender issues taught by members of the Women's Studies Faculty will be listed by the WS Program for graduate students seeking elective credit toward the Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, so long as there is no objection from the faculty member's home department. The WS Curriculum Committee, or the WS faculty as a whole, will vote on the inclusion of the graduate course for the WS Graduate Certificate based on the course description, syllabus, or any other relevant information.

Electronic Voting

The Women’s Studies program allows electronic voting for matters of Program business, excluding actions of the DPC and of Search committees and/or any other actions involving confidential personnel matters. Electronic voting is not intended to replace meetings of the faculty. Rather, it is intended to allow for wider participation of faculty members in the business of the Program. In cases in which matters of Program policy, governance, or curriculum reform (new programs or significant revisions to existing programs) are being considered, there will be a meeting of the Program faculty prior to any voting, to allow for a full discussion of the issue. Following such a meeting, minutes will be provided to members before the electronic voting begins. Voting will continue for a period of 5 days. Quorum for electronic voting will consist of those members who cast ballots. In most votes, a simple majority of votes cast is required for the motion to pass. For elections, a plurality is required for a member to be deemed elected. In the case of elections, run-off elections may be held in the case of a tie vote.

Adopted: Spring, 2001, Amended Spring 2005, Amended Fall 2007, Amended Fall 2009, Amended Spring 2011
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

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