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Goshen renames women’s studies

– One of Goshen College’s minors will be a little less girly starting next school year: The college is changing the name of its women’s studies program to “women’s and gender studies” to attract more males.

Goshen student Roberto Lopez, who has taken many women’s studies classes, said men want to feel more included in academic discussions about gender issues.

“Male students usually don’t want to sit through one to three hours … listening to how their gender group has ruined it for everyone else,” Lopez told the Elkhart Truth. As a friend told him, “men have issues, too,” and they want to hear those discussed.

But women’s studies classes at Goshen aren’t all about women, according to Jan Shetler, interim director of the program. The classes look at how women and men interact with each other.

Shetler noticed something in one of her classes: Only female students had signed up for International Women’s History, so she changed the name to Gender and World History. It made a difference.

“I got a whole bunch of males in the class,” Shetler said. “And they were a great contribution to the class.”

A professor from a women’s studies program in San Diego visited Goshen last May and suggested the name change after speaking with students who felt “women’s studies” is too exclusive and narrow.

Shetler said Goshen didn’t want to lose its 30-year history with the program, so the word “women” was kept in. That’s in line with what some other area schools have done with their programs.

“The field has grown way beyond women,” she said. “When we are looking at these issues, it’s much more using the language of gender.”

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