UA Women's Studies Wins Department of Year Award

Lori Harwood
Feb. 12, 2003

The department of women's studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona has won the award for University-wide Meritorious Departmental Achievement in Undergraduate Instruction. The award recognizes and rewards departments that have made unique and significant contributions to undergraduate teaching efforts at the university and to the education of students. Only one university department receives this award each year.

The award includes $75,000 over three years to improve department programs. Women's studies will be honored on April 29 at the annual university-wide celebration recognizing outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. This event will be held at the new Student Union Memorial Center.

The department of women's studies, from its inception, has had a commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching. It aims to give students life-long skills in critical thinking, gender analysis and an understanding of systems of power. It offers a Chicana studies concentration for the bachelor's degree, and regularly sponsors faculty development opportunities for transforming the entire curriculum to include women of color in the United States and internationally.

The department also emphasizes the development of writing skills, running a writing lab in conjunction with one of its required courses and sponsoring a writing center for students in women's studies courses. Through the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW), the Women's Studies Advisory Council (WOSAC) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), the department creates and maintains outreach programs that afford citizens of all ages expanded educational opportunities, and provides numerous internships for students.

Quality teaching is sustained by a positive departmental culture. The department fosters innovative teaching and the use of technology in the classroom. Every ranked faculty member is encouraged to teach one general education course a year. Discussion of teaching at workshops, graduate student orientation and TA and adjunct mentoring is a regular part of department life, and quality of teaching is part of the department's evaluation system.

Randall M. Richardson, vice president for undergraduate education, wrote in his notification letter, "I want to offer my warmest congratulations to the department and to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. We are fortunate to count you among those making rich contributions to undergraduate education at the University of Arizona."