The Women's Studies Conference has served as a focus for feminism in the Hudson Valley for 28 years on a wide variety of topics that have included Girlhood; Women and Science; Women, War and Peace; and Women and Popular Culture.

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) encompasses encompasses the study of women, gender, and sexuality. Drawing on the expertise of faculty based in other departments as well as faculty based in Women's Studies, the program enables students to develop a feminist perspective on traditional disciplines and to cross disciplinary boundaries in order to explore women's experiences in the U.S. and globally. Students examine the ways that gender intersects with other systems of domination, think critically about ways to challenge violence and injustice, and work together to envision a more just and humane world.

In our practicum course, students gain experience working with organizations that serve or mobilize women. In our senior seminar, they pursue independent research in topics of their own choosing. An interdisciplinary course, Women: Images and Realities, provides the introduction to the program.

The WGSS Program at SUNY New Paltz is committed to improving the position of women on campus and in the community. It sponsors lectures, panels, and films, and every two years, it hosts a conference. A colloquium series provides a forum for students and faculty to discuss their research in Women's Studies.

How Our Program is Run

The WGSS goverance structure has evolved over the years. Our goal is to involve members of the Program's various constituencies in decision making about both curricular and extracurricular matters. Below is a description of the committees which comprise our current governance structure. The success of the governance structure depends on the active participation of faculty, students, staff and community members.

Steering Committee
The steering committee makes all policy and program decisions regarding the women's studies program. It plans cultural and educational programs and makes decisions about the relationship of the women's studies program to developments on the campus. It is composed of faculty, students, professional staff, community members, the coordinator and program assistant. It meets approximately every three weeks. Curriculum/Personnel Committee.

This committee reports to the steering committee. It plans the schedule of classes each semester, interviews candidates for part time teaching positions in the women's studies program, periodically reviews curriculum and makes recommendations on various curricular matters. In the last 10 years the curriculum committee prepared a proposal for a women's studies education major, which was approved fall 1993, and worked on women's studies relationship to the general education program. It is composed of faculty, students, non-teaching professionals and the coordinator of the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. It meets as needed.

Awards and Scholarships

Each year at graduation the Martha Barnett Scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior. The award was established in l979 in memory of Martha Barnett, former professor of economics, to honor the values by which she lived: scholarship, moral leadership and service, focused especially on women's issues.

The  Erna Lynne Heyer Memorial Scholarship is an endowed scholarship of $500 that was established by the Heyer family in memory of Erna Lynne Heyer, a Women's Studies student at New Paltz who graduated in 1976. New Paltz continued to be a special place for her up to the time of her death in August, l986.

In honor of Erna Lynne Heyer's commitment to women's issues, this scholarship is awarded annually to a SUNY New Paltz senior or graduate who majored or minored in Women's Studies. Applicants should be enrolled in (or anticipate being accepted into) a graduate program in human service oriented fields (full or part time). In the past six years awards have been given to students pursuing graduate education in social work, law and humanistic education. The scholarship will be awarded to a student whose life exemplifies Erna Lynne Heyer's commitment to improving the lives of women. Current Women's Studies seniors and alumnae are eligible.

This award was established in 1984 in honor of a faculty member of the program. It recognizes contributions to the campus community on behalf of women's issues.