Committee Discusses Women's Studies

Oppose Department Formation

In an open forum with students yesterday, the Faculty Committee on Women's Studies said they disapproved of the formation of a separate women's studies department or the offering of a concentration in women's studies.

Edward L. Keenan '50, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and chairman of the committee, said the Faculty charged the committee two years ago to investigate the possibilities of women's studies, defining the subject and examine ways to introduce women's studies into the curriculum.

"Early on we didn't feel the need for a department or concentration." Keenan said, adding that the committee has considered ways to integrate women's studies into the existing curriculum. He said the committee has distributed a questionnaire to Faculty members on the relevancy of women's studies to their department and has received replies favorable to the study of women's contributions in their courses.

Keenan said that a major accomplishment of the committee will be the inclusion of a women't studies page in the couse catalogue next fall which will list courses offered in the University that pertain to women's studies.

Heather McClave, an assistant professor of English and American Literature and Language, who serves on the committee, said yesterday although women's studies is an interdisciplinary study, a discipline should not be confused with a perspective.


"You're proposing teaching biology from a women's perspective, so isn't that like teaching biology the second time?" McClave asked the students.

Several students voiced objections that the women's perspective does not mean a repetition of present disciplines but evolves a different look at new material and facts hidden through other perspectives.

"You need some kind of discipline to extract the knowledge that's been hidden or lost--it's not repeating," said another student.

Several students questioned why the charge of the committee had not included the hiring of women faculty or supporting women faculty for tenure. Keenan said the committee did not discuss women faculty because they did not feel it was included in their charge.

"We didn't seize as an extra responsibility to hiring of tenured women--that's up to the individual departments," he added.

Keenan said he planned to take the student suggestions and views back to the full committee "because the point of our purpose is to find out how students feel."