Women’s Studies program welcomes new director

The enthusiastic faculty is what has allowed the Women’s Studies program to continue to blossom into a beloved minor for male and female students alike, said Catherine Seltzer, new director of the program.

“The program has just been really strong for a number of years,” she said. “So in a lot of ways we’re continuing with that tradition that makes the program an exciting place to be.”

Catherine Seltzer, new director of women's studies at SIUE. photo courtesy of Women's Studies Program.

What makes the program so popular is that it tailors to a variety of different majors. Whether a student is pre-law, nursing, humanities-based or any particular type of major, the program is making sure it addresses each student’s concerns, she said.

In addition to growing through tradition, Seltzer said the program will be creating more community outreach programs, more internships and more activist opportunities for students, particularly concerning the women’s studies minor.

They will also be unveiling a new website and blog that will include more interactive elements than the previous online presence, she said.

“We’ve use our website as a way of disseminating information in the past but now we want to make it a site of conversation and activism too,” Seltzer said. “In the next few weeks we will be debuting our new blog where we post anything relevant to people interested in women’s studies and anyone interested in issues of gender and pop culture.”

Seltzer said the introductory women’s studies course fills up quickly despite how some students may think differently about women’s studies itself. The class allows students to see the world a little differently and makes them think, and those students tell their friends about how much they like the course and therefore the program continues to draw in many students every semester.

“I think that women’s studies is one of those things that allows for progress, so sometimes it has  a reputation of being sort of binary in its thinking; to privilege women over men or something along those lines,” Seltzer said. “That’s not what women’s studies is about at all. It’s about exposing those hierarchies as they exist and allowing for a progress towards equality and inviting everyone to participate in that progress.”

The program is exciting for the male and female students, she said, and both genders become enthusiastic in and about those classes.

Another strong suit the department will be continuing is its faculty lecture series, which have been successful since the start. The event calendar for the fall semester will be posted once the new website becomes available.

The first women’s studies event, co-sponsored by the SIUE Peace Studies Program, will be at 3 p.m. Thursday, September 1, in Peck Hall 1405. Abigail Disney, producer of the PBS series titled Women, War & Peace, will be showing a screening and answering questions after the event.

Among other events, the program will also be hosting Coffee With Cool Women, a lectures series performed by the faculty within the program. More information will be available in the future.


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