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Crosslisting Courses in Women's Studies

This file contains a query that first appeared on WMST-L in March 1992
about criteria for crosslisting courses with Women's Studies, and
responses offered to that query and to later calls for crosslisting 
policies.  [The file was last updated in March 2001.] Many e-mail
addresses and institutional affiliations have changed over the
years, but the policies themselves should still be useful.] For
more WMST-L files available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.


Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1992 09:21:32 EDT
Subject: We are new at this!
I am an assistant professor of sociology at Morehead State University
in eastern Kentucky.  Currently, MSU faculty and staff (or a small group
of them) are designing a minor program in Women's Studies.  It is our first
attempt at constructing a program outside the mainstream.  We are
experienceing some concern about how to decide which courses will be
crosslisted in the Women's Studies program.
Some members of the committee advocate including any course which
currently has "woman" in the title.  Others are more concerned about
content and want to decided whether a course will be included on the
basis of the instructor submitting a syllabus and course outline for
committee approval.  There is also some concern about alienating those
faculty whose courses are *not* included.  ("I don't want to be in
the business of excluding")
There has to be a solution with which we will all be comfortable.
How have other institutions solved this problem?
Please reply privately to
Donna Phillips
VOICE   (606)783-2153
         Morehead State University
         Morehead, KY   40351

Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1992 15:04:57 EST
From: jpotuche@CC.GETTYSBURG.EDU
Subject: RE:We are new at this!
This is a response to Donna Phillips's query.  I'm posting it to the list
rather than sending it to Donna privately, because I think this is a
common tension in women's studies programs and attempts at solution are
of general interest:
   At Gettysburg College, we went through quite a lot of struggle within
our Women's Studies committee over this issue.  On the one hand, we wanted
to choose courses in a way that protected the scholarly quality of the
women's studies program; on the other hand, we were well aware of the
political risks we ran by excluding some courses.  We finally set up two
classifications for courses -- core and affiliated -- with stricter
standards for the core courses than for the affiliated, but with a limit
on how many affiliated courses a student could count toward the women's
studies minor (no more than 2 out of 6).   When a faculty member proposes
that a course count for credit toward the minor in women's studies (we don't
have a major yet), we send that faculty member a copy of the criteria
and then send a member of our women's studies committee to meet with the
faculty member.  Together, the instructor and the committee member go
over the course syllabus or proposal and discuss how it fits the criteria.
On the basis of that discussion, the committee member makes a recommendation
to the entire committee, which makes the final decision.  In practice, we
tend to be tough in applying the core course criteria and relatively easy
in applying the affiliated course criteria.  (In other words, when there
is doubt, the course usually ends up being "affiliated.")
    Here are the criteria we use:
1.   The course's principal focus must clearly be the roles,
     contributions, perspectives, and experiences of women.
2.   The course must equip students to identify and analyze
     stereotyped assumptions and biases about women.
3.   The course content must reflect the latest scholarship on
     women and the syllabus should be composed primarily of works
     by and about women.
4.   Ideally, course pedagogy should correspond to course
     content.  That is to say, whenever and however appropriate
     the instructor should use teaching techniques which
     encourage student participation and, thus, active learning.
     Exchange would be key to both the student/student relation-
     ship and that of student and instructor.
1.   One of the course's principal areas of focus must clearly be
     the roles, perspectives, experiences, contributions or
     representations of women.  (The intent of this criterion is
     to be sure that women's issues are integrated into, not
     merely added on to the course; we want to avoid tokenism.)
2.   The course must equip students to identify systems of domi-
     nation and subordination and analyze stereotyped assumptions
     and biases about women.
3.   The course content must clearly reflect recent feminist
     scholarship on women and gender.
4.   Ideally, course pedagogy should correspond to course
     content.  That is to say, whenever and however appropriate
     the instructor should use teaching techniques which
     encourage student participation and, thus, active learning.
     Exchange would be key to both the student/student relation-
     ship and that of student and instructor.
Jean L. Potuchek
Women's Studies         Bitnet:  jpotuche@gburg
Gettysburg College      Internet:jpotuche@cc.gettysburg.edu

Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1992 17:09:44 CST
From: Stephanie Riger <U29322@UICVM.BITNET>
Subject: Re: We are new at this!
Lynne Goldsmith of Penn State has written an excellent paper on this
topic.  The title of the paper is "When is a women's studies course a
"women's studies" course?  Issues of "quality control" of cross-listed
courses."  Her address is Women's STudies Program, 13 Sparks Building,
Penn State U, University Park, PA  16802.
I haven't checked with her about posting this, and I am concerned about
her being deluged with 400-some requests for reprints, so if you can,
perhaps you might offer to pay the cost of duplicating and mailing the
Stephanie Riger

Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1992 18:34:00 EST
From: Joan Korenman <KORENMAN@UMBC.BITNET>
Subject: RE: We are new at this!
     In response to Donna Phillips' question about how other Women's
Studies programs decide which courses to cross-list, I'd like to
re-post a message I sent to the list last September on this topic.  My
apologies to those who have seen it before (the list has more than
doubled in size since then). [NOTE: December 1994 revision has been
     The Women's Studies Program at UMBC (University of Maryland
Baltimore County) has a course approval procedure that must be
followed in order for a course to receive a WMST crosslisting (and
only courses with a WMST designation can be counted for Women's
Studies credit).  We ask that the instructor of the course supply a
syllabus or other detailed description, briefly discuss her/his
teaching methods, and answer three questions.  Here is a copy of the
sheet we give the instructor:
              Univ. of Maryland - Baltimore County
                 Baltimore, Maryland 21228-5398
        In order for your course to be approved for inclusion in the
Women's Studies curriculum, the Women's Studies Coordinating Committee
needs information about the course.  We do not ask or even desire that
faculty toe a narrow ideological line; we do ask that courses designated
WMST be informed by contemporary Women's Studies scholarship and provide
students with an understanding of feminist perspectives.  Where appropriate
to the topic, we recommend the inclusion of course materials that reflect
the diversity of women's experiences.
        We would thus appreciate your sending the following information:
        1) a detailed course description or syllabus, including the list of
readings and a description of your teaching method
        2) your responses to the following three questions:
        a) is the central focus of the course gender roles, women's
issues, and/or the status of or portrayal of women in history, the
arts, or the sciences?  Please explain.
        b) how does the course material reflect knowledge of
contemporary feminist scholarship about women?
        c) why do you feel that this is a Women's Studies course
rather than just a course about women or gender?
        The committee would also welcome any additional materials that
might help in assessing the course's suitability for inclusion in the
Women's Studies curriculum.
        Please send all course information to Joan Korenman, Director,
Women's Studies Program, UMBC, Baltimore, Md. 21228-5398 (or, on campus,
Joan Korenman, Women's Studies Program, Fine Arts 452).  If you prefer, you
may fax the information to (410) 455-1030 (please be sure Joan Korenman's
name is on the first page), or email it to korenman@umbc2.umbc.edu.
        Many thanks.
        The Women's Studies Coordinating Committee members all receive
copies of the instructor's response, and we then meet and discuss whether
to crosslist the course.  Usually, we approve the course; instructors who
seek WMST crosslisting are usually self-selecting. Occasionally, we ask for
more information, or we ask to meet with the instructor to discuss
questions that we have.  Every now and then, we decide that the course
should not be crosslisted, either because not enough of the focus is on
women or because the instructor seems insufficiently familiar with
contemporary Women's Studies scholarship and perspectives.  As we now make
clear in the form itself, we do not ask or even desire that faculty toe a
narrow ideological line; we do ask that courses designated WMST be informed
by contemporary Women's Studies scholarship and provide students with an
understanding of feminist perspectives.
        Joan Korenman        Internet: korenman@umbc2.umbc.edu
                             Bitnet:   korenman@umbc

Date: 22 Nov 1992 15:14:14 CST
Here is the official statement we (at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign) send to people who want to cross-list courses with us:
"The Women's studies Advisory Committee believes that those courses listed
by the Women's Studies Program should be consonant with the stated purpose
of the program.  This includes a feminist perspective.  We ask that any course
listed as a Women's Studies course be taught in this spirit.
For this purpose the Women's Studies Advisory Committee has defined
a feminist perspective as one which recognizes women's roles and contribu-
tions to society.  The ability of women as leaders, scholars, critics, and theo
ry-builders needs to be recognized.  Serious consideration should also be
given to the concepts, tools and techniques of recent feminist scholarship
with special attention to the relatioship of this inquiry to the women's
Megan McLaughlin, Dept. of History, U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Bitnet:  megmclau@uiuc.vmd
Internet:  megmclau@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu

Date: Tue, 24 Nov 92 12:12:04 EDT
From: PHILDON@morekypr
                   (Morehead State University)
To:       Members of the Women's Studies Advisory Committee

From: _____________________________________
I would like to submit the following course for consideration as
an elective in the Women's Studies minor.
     ______   _______                    _______________________
_________________________________________   (term to be offered)
     (pref)   (#)          (title)
This course already exists in the curriculum and has passed
criteria used by the university's curriculum committee.  In
addition, it meets the following criteria, which were stated in
the proposal creating the minor in Women's Studies.
1.  The principle focus of the course as it relates to women is:
2.  The course addresses the following stereotyped assumptions
and biases about women:
3.  The course encourages students to analyze the above mentioned
stereotypes and biases in the following manner:
4.  The course content reflects the latest scholarship on women
in my discipline and the syllabus is composed primarily of works
by and for women, as exemplified by the attached syllabus or
detailed course description (include course readings and
descriptions of reading materials.
5.  I understand that the committee encourages participating
faculty to use innovative teaching techniques which encourage
student participation and, thus, active learning.  I encourage
participation in the following manner:
6.  I understand that the Women's Studies minor program
encourages exchange of information both in student/student and
student/faculty relationships.  This course promotes such
activities in the following manner:
7.  I believe that this course deserves to be included in the
Women's Studies minor because:
8.  In addition to the foregoing materials, I would like to add
information which I believe will assist the committee in
reviewing my proposal (optional):
9.  Please get the signature of your department chairperson:
                                 (Name)                   (Date)
Please send the completed form with supporting materials to:
     Judy Rogers, Dean of Undergraduate Programs
     201 Ginger Hall

Date: 24 Nov 1992 10:11:24 -0800 (PST)
Below is the policy used by the Intercollegiate Women's Studies
Program of the Claremont Colleges.  It is send to anyone interested
in having a course accredited as a Women's Studies course.  If a
course is taught by more than one faculty, each faculty must submit
the course individually.
        Women's Studies invites submission of proposals for courses
in its interdisciplinary program devoted to the study of the roles,
contributions, and scholarship of women.  Courses in Women's Studies
explore issued of race, class, sexual preference, and gender as they
affect the devlopment of women in a variety of cultural contexts.
They examine paradigms based upon recent women's scholarship that
contast with and question androcentric assumptions in traditional
methodologies, theories, and research.
        When submitting a proposal for a primary course in Women's
Studies, the curriculum committee suggests that the professor use
the following guidelines for the inclusion of a course in the
Women's Studies curriculum.  Introductory level courses generally
should focus on women's experience and should use, to the extent
possible, new data, methods, theories and analytic frameworks that
help to correct previous oversights and ethnocentric biases
inherent in the traditional interpretation of most course content,
as well as contrast these biases with perspectives emerging from
the new feminist scholarship in women's studies.  More advanced
courses might incorporate feminist methodology of gender analysis
as their foundation.  The committee encourages courses which foster
a climate of mutual inquiry in the classroom, and exchange of ideas
among faculty and students in group discussions, and an opportunity
for writing as an integral part of the on-going process of learning
and self-expression.  These concerns should be reflected in the
course description and readings.
        We continue to invite the submission of proposals for
related courses in which there is a substantial portion on women,
gender, or sex roles, or in which a student may emphasize by
prior arrangement with the instructor an aspect of the course
pertinent to Womeen's Studies.
        Please include the following with either your primary or
related Women's Studies course proposal:
                1.  Course title and description,
                2.  Course objectives,
                3.  List of proposed readings for class assignments,
                4.  Prerequisites, if any,
                5.  Indication of appropriate course strategy -
                        i.e., primary or related.
Your brief proposal can be submitted either as an essay or on a
form provided by the Women's Studies Office.

Date: Tue, 01 Dec 92 08:50 EST
Joan--I hope I have responded in time to become part of your
file on crosslisting.  The College of William and Mary has a
policy that only interdisciplinary courses receive interdisci-
plinary labels.  Therefore, crosslisting for Women's Studies
occurs only for an interdisciplinary course in Women's Studies
that could also be considered an interdiisciplinary course
for another program (our only crosslisted course thus far
is one titled "Feminist Writings and Women's Movements"
which is "a study of fictional and theoretical works produced
by European and Middle-Eastern women writers of the twentieth
century"--this course is cross-listed with International
Studies).  The advantage of this system is that we can choose
to offer credit in Women's Studies to any courses in depart-
ments that we wish--but we don't have to offer credit for
anything (or anyone) we don't want to.  Another advantage
is that I am often asked to evaluate courses for transfer
credit that are clearly departmental courses ("19th Century
Women Writers") and can insist that they be evaluated by
the department.  The advantage here is that I have seen a
tendency for departments who think a course is marginal to
try to "dump" it on Women's Studies for credit rather than
award credit in their department.  This way they face the
fact that there is scholarship in their discipline that is
being taught in the discipline in other universities--or in
the case where a course does seem below reasonable standards
for the discipline they make the decision that credit cannot
be awarded.  I realize this rambles on; hope you can get the
gist of it.
College of William & Mary

Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 10:29:52 +0100
From: Chris Jazwinski <Jaz@TIGGER.STCLOUD.MSUS.EDU>
Subject: Re: criteria or policy statement for courses
>We have a Women's Studies minor, only a few years old, at our school, a
>private, rather conservative Catholic university. Presently we have a
>statment that reads in part, "A substantial amount of the course should focus
>on women; it is not usually advisable just to label an old course `Women and .
>. .' solely because women are mentioned in it."  The Advisory Council met
>yesterday and started to struggle with the words "substantial amount" wondering
>if we should change the wording so it is more concrete.  We are also struggling
>against the some faculty and student resistance to the word "feminism."
>Does anyone have a policy statement or criteria they could share with us?
This is an important question.  I don't have a written policy for you.
However, I think that the vast majority of course content in  a women's
studies course should be about women.  When a person teaches a botany
course, the course should focus on plants, etc. etc.  I deal with this
issue in my psychology of women course.  SOme of the students feel
uncomfortable about studying women exclusively.  We have to work through
this issue sometimes.
Resistance to the word "feminism" could be dealt with maybe by defining it.
Then  you could replace that word some of the time with the definition.
Chris Jazwinski, Ph.D
Department of Psychology
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 10:35:56 LCL
From: kathleen hickok <khickok@IASTATE.EDU>
Subject: Re: criteria or policy statement for courses
At Iowa State, we require that course content be at least 50% women, and
that the course be taught from a feminist or nonsexist perspective.  We
review syllabi and meet with instructors before crosslisting a new
course. Informally, we also check to see if class, race, and sexual
orientation are appropriately covered brefore approving a course.  If
not, we make some suggestions to the instructor and/or department.
         Kathy Hickok

Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 10:16:26 -0400
From: cheshire calhoun <c_calhou@COLBY.EDU>
Subject: crosslist policies
For Ellen Keith and others currently working on crosslist policies:
We have just completed a semester long process of drafting a WS
cross-listing policy and getting it approved by a large number of
individuals and committees (some of whom objected to an emphasis on
feminist perspectives, and some of whom objected to any reference to
specific pedagogical styles). We drew in part on WMST-L's file of cross
listing policies [i.e., the file you're reading]. Below is the final 
Courses containing information on women, mothering, gender, etc. are not
automatically assumed to be Women's Studies Courses.
1. The course content must clearly reflect and acquaint students with
recent  scholarship on women, gender, and/or feminist theory. Traditional
texts, when used, should be put into a dialogue with some feminist
perspective (i.e., a proactive approach to women's lives) that would
problematize them.
2.  Race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other systems of
domination inflect how one experiences gender, subordination, and agency. A
Women's Studies course uncovers, rather than ignores or dismisses, these
3.  A Women's Studies course should do one or more of the following:
        a) critically examine cultural assumptions about gender (as well as
race, class etc.). E.g., the gender assumptions in the traditional
methodologies, theories, and research of particular disciplines
        b) explore the production of different knowledge, art, literature,
and so on reflecting women's gendered, raced, classed, etc.  experiences.
        c) equip students to identify and critically analyze systems of
domination that constrain women's lives.
        d) focus on providing information about women, their psychology,
biology, roles, experiences, history, and contributions
Although pedagogical style is not a criterion for cross-listing, Women's
Studies courses generally aim to encourage student participation and active
learning consistent with feminist pedagogy.
c_calhou@colby.edu  (207)872-3594 Philosophy, Colby College, Waterville ME

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 12:25:50 -0600
From: Anna Lott <Alott@UNANOV.UNA.EDU>
Subject: cross-listing ws courses
Dear colleagues,

I have been grappling with a scheduling issue in a newly-established ws minor,
and I'm wondering if any of you have thoughts. An education professor has
offered to cross-list a section of a course, Human growth and development,
with women's studies. We would like to cross-list her section, but we don't
want to blanketly cross-list all sections. I'm wondering how other people
handle this issue. Do you cross-list courses blanketly? Or do you cross-list
certain sections? Our Dean seems to think that if we offer ws credit for one
section, we have to offer it for all sections. How do you handle similar

Thanks in advance for your help.


Anna Lott
English Department
University of North Alabama

"Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks."
   --Samuel Johnson

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 12:34:50 -0600
From: Eleanor M. Miller <ellie@UWM.EDU>
Subject: Re: cross-listing ws courses
We have a committee that reviews every course:  looks at syllabi and interviews
prospective instructors.

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 13:44:07 -0500
From: "Wall, Sally" <SWall@NDM.EDU>
Subject: Re: cross-listing ws courses
Hello Anna,
    We have had this same discussion both in our advisory committee and
with the administration.  We DO selectively cross list certain sections of
courses depending on the faculty member who is teaching the course.  So far
this has not caused any havoc in the registrar's office.  And, as every
program must be approved by an advisor, we've been able to communicate which
sections to take to students.  In addition, the registration booklet clearly
indicates if a course/section carries WS credit.

    Good luck,
    Sally Wall
      College of NOtre Dame of Maryland

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 13:57:29 -0500
From: Martha Charlene Ball <wsimcb@PANTHER.GSU.EDU>
Subject: Re: cross-listing ws courses
Hello, Anna,
We cross-list the course (get it into the Master Curriculum with a
Women's Studies prefix and course number).  Then we decide on a
semester-to-semester basis whether to cross-list particular sections.
If a given course that we have a prefix and number for is being offered,
we ask to see the syllabus of the instructor.  If it has sufficient
women's studies content and is not blatantly anti-feminist, we cross-list
that section.  We keep syllabi on file.

So, for example, if 3 sections of "Sexuality and Society" are being
offered by the Sociology Department, and we have the syllabi of 2 of the
instructors, we would cross-list those 2 sections.  If we later get the
syllabus of the 3rd instructor and it seems okay, we will cross-list that
one also the next time around.

So it's possible that "Sexuality and Society" might be offered, but
that we would not cross-list every section.  Students would be
able to get Women's Studies credit only if they take the sections with the
Women's Studies prefix.

M. Charlene Ball, Academic Professional
Women's Studies Institute
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia  30303-3083
404/651-1398 fax

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 11:29:07 -0800
From: Ellen Cronan Rose <ecrose@NEVADA.EDU>
Subject: Re: cross-listing ws courses
On the "request to crosslist" form, we ask the department to list all
course instructors, including their CVs.  If they don't do this, we
require new instructors of a cross-listed course to submit their syllabus
for approval by our curriculum committee, as if each section of the course
were in fact a separate course.

Ellen Cronan Rose, Director, Women's Studies Program, UNLV
4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV  89154-5055
PHONE (702) 895-0838, FAX (702) 895-0850

Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 13:59:46 -0500
From: Joan C. Callahan <buddy@POP.UKY.EDU>
Subject: Re: cross-listing ws courses
At the University of Kentucky we handle this by having WSP Affiliated
Faculty tell us in any given semester what courses they are teaching that
are appropriate as WS electives.  Thus, we generate a list of courses EACH
TERM which we are willing to cross-list for that term only.  We do not
permanently cross-list with ANY course because (as you know) doing that
would have us committed to offering that course as a WS elective, no matter
who is teaching it, which is not acceptable to us.  We have a procedure for
formal affiliation with the program.  You can find all that on our webpage:



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