We are both a department and a program, recognizing the importance of our affiliate faculty and insisting upon the importance of institutional frameworks such as women’s studies that intellectually and administratively reach beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.
For many years, women’s studies at Maryland was a program, not a department. Part of the advantage of being a program was that it was by definition and necessity a cross-campus project. Affiliate faculty served on the committees, which were constituted during an annual planning retreat of the core and affiliate faculty. This committee created an identity of women’s studies as belonging to the campus as a whole. An annual poly-seminar, a series of lectures and research forums around a common theme over the course of the year, brought visiting scholars, artists and activists to give public presentations, visit classes and meet with faculty and students in a range of ways.
In 1999, we inaugurated a Ph.D. program, awarding our first degrees in Spring 2007.
In 2005 we began offering, jointly with the Department of African American Studies, an undergraduate minor in Black women’s studies.
In 2008 we officially became home to the Beta Beta chapter of Iota, Iota, Iota (Triota), the women’s studies honor society.
In 2013 we became the new home of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Program, which offers both an undergraduate minor and certificate. Originally approved in Spring 2002 and with a rich history of its own, the LGBT Studies Program grew through the leadership of founding director Marilee Lindemann, who was instrumental in moving the program into women’s studies and the College of Arts and Humanities.
A distinguishing hallmark of women’s studies at Maryland is the number of faculty of color, which made up two-thirds of our core faculty in 2014. The department has been a key player in transforming the university into a more diverse and equitable higher education climate.