Women's Studies 499

WGST 499: Internship in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies

Prerequisites: Approval by the Women’s and Gender Studies Director; junior status or higher; Introduction to Women’s Studies (WMST 101) and one other accepted course in the minor; an elective in the Women’s Studies minor.

Credit Hours: (3) May not be taken if WMST 499 was completed for credit.

The student will be placed in an agency, department or program with a focus on women’s lives.  In this environment, the student will participate in ongoing functions, including training.  The student will also meet regularly with a faculty member to process the internship experience and to relate it to readings in Women’s Studies.

Detailed Description of Course

An experiential component of the Women’s Studies minor, this course will draw on knowledge gained in at least two Women’s Studies courses and apply that knowledge to personal, service-centered experience.  The internship proposal will be approved by the Women’s Studies committee and overseen by the Women’s Studies Director.  It will take place in an agency, office, or department that advocates the betterment of women’s lives.  The site may be within the local or university communities or at a regional, state, or national agency.  In keeping with the focus of the Women’s Studies minor, the internship experience will have a strong multicultural, cross-disciplinary, and/or international component.

Students will be placed in suitable learning environments such as The Women’s Resource Center or assisting in the teaching of Introduction to Women’s Studies.  Other possibilities include: after-school and computer programs for girls; sports programs for girls; support groups for gay youth; volunteer internships for women’s national and regional organizations; hospice services; charities; hospitals.  In these environments, students will participate in the ongoing functions of the place, as needed, including participation in any special training.  Students will thus become aware of the workings of institutions that are designed specifically to address the needs of women and to promote gender equity.

The student will be guided to draw on specific texts she/he has studied in previous Women's Studies courses in order to process the internship experience most fully.  The student will also be provided with a more specifically relevant bibliography with which she/he will work during the course of the internship.  Discussion of these texts and of the internship experience will be carried out periodically with the student’s Internship Advisor (the Women’s Studies Program Director).  Thus the student will be enabled to develop a critical, theoretically informed understanding of internship experiences.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course primarily entails the student’s regular participation in the functions of an agency or establishment pertinent to women’s concerns and to broader critical issues centering on gender relations.  In addition, this course will involve regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings between the student and the Director of Women’s Studies, who will oversee the student’s performance and progress in the internship.  (The Director will also maintain regular contact with the hosting agency or office.)  The student will participate in service experiences that are deemed beneficial to her/his understanding of gender relations across class and racial lines.  It will use an assigned reading list of the most suitable texts in Women’s and Gender Studies, and will culminate in a paper on the specific internship experience and the student’s analysis of it.  Additionally, the student will maintain and submit detailed biweekly response journals that reflect on her/his internship experience.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having completed the Internship in Women’s Studies, the student will be able to:

•    Analyze women’s agency in our own and other societies;
•    Reflect critically upon her/his knowledge of, and experience with, the problems and   issues surrounding gender, women’s lives, and male-female relations;
•    Explain the relationship between theory and practice in relation to promoting women’s concerns and issues of gender equity;
•    Analyze how differences in gender, ethnicity,  sexual orientation, race, culture, and class affect individual lives and society in general;
•    Analyze contemporary events pertaining to women’s lives and to the movement toward gender equality; and
•    Explain the status of gender relations across class, ethnic and racial lines, exploring the practical concerns surrounding women’s rights advocacy

Assessment Measures

The student's progress and achievement of the internship's learning objectives will be assessed using the following measures:

Formal response journals recording daily work experiences in the placement agency;
Bi-weekly meetings with the Internship Advisor (Director of Women’s Studies) to analyze the internship experience in view of assigned theoretical/critical readings; and A final essay in which student analyzes and reflects upon the internship experience in view of readings in Women’s Studies theory.

Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 13, 2016
March 12, 2008           Moira Baker