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New Mexico State University

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NMSU's Women's Studies program expanding

Increased university support for New Mexico State University's Women's Studies program this fall is indicative of the growth and student interest in the program.


New courses have been added to the diverse Women's Studies major and other courses have been updated. Classes will cover areas such as Arab Muslim women; American Indian women; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies and women, politics and mass media.

"The program challenges one's assumptions and allows you to look at life through a new lens. Women's studies classes are usually interdisciplinary, so one gets a broader view of the world," said Mary Benanti, assistant professor.

Growth during the past three years has allowed the program to hire three permanent faculty members. Benanti is a full-time faculty member, while Manal Hamzeh and M. Catherine Jonet are part-time. The half-time positions are budgeted to become full-time in 2009-2010.

Previously, courses were taught by adjunct faculty, faculty in other departments and through cross-listed courses.

To accommodate the permanent faculty members and rising number of student majors, the program was given the opportunity to move into the Science Hall, in the space previously occupied by the ADVANCE program.

"The suite of offices is more conducive to an academic unit and also is an indication of ongoing support for the program," said Lisa Bond-Maupin, director of the Women's Studies program and associate professor of criminal justice.

The program started out as a minor in 1991, and then became a supplementary major in 1996. In 2004, the Women's Studies undergraduate major was created with the mission to provide, encourage and support scholarship by and about women. It now has the highest percentage growth per year than any other department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

"The program is focusing on solidifying its academic program, engaging in outcome assessment and curricular review and actively recruiting majors," Bond-Maupin said.

For more information about the Women's Studies program, contact Bond-Maupin at (575) 646-5386.