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CM-20: Women's Studies Program Records

 Collection
Identifier: CM-20

Scope and Contents

The records of the Women's Studies Program include materials related to events, conferences, proposals, schedules, curriculum and publicity.

While there is some coverage from the early years of the program, almost all records from 1972-1975 are from Staten Island Community College rather than Richmond College.

Coverage is best for conferences, programs and other events. Records include correspondence, programs, proposals, planning materials, and publicity items such as posters and fliers.

There is some coverage of curriculum, special programs and courses, but it is not comprehensive. There are some schedules and proposals, as well as documents related to the 1989 Five-Year Plan. There are also several folders of records related to the development of WMS 268 (PSY 268), a Study Abroad course taught in London, in the early 1990's.

There are several problems concerning the coverage of the administration of the program. Although the Women's Studies Program has had several Coordinators, there are no clearly separate series of files for any of the Coordinators. The existing files mainly consist of small subject files and several general correspondence and chronological files. Several types of records, including day files, meeting minutes and reports, are sparse. There is also some coverage of the relationship between CSI's Women's Studies Program and other CUNY programs, but it is not comprehensive.

Dates

  • 1972 - 2002

Conditions Governing Access

Access to certain records in this group is restricted due to privacy concerns and applicable laws.

Biographical / Historical

The Richmond College Women's Studies program (often abbreviated as WMS) first offered a program leading to a bachelor's degree in 1972. It is the oldest such degree program in the City University of New York system, and the second oldest in the United States after San Diego State University. The current program dates from the merger of Richmond College and Staten Island Community College to create the College of Staten Island (hereafter CSI) in 1976.

At most CUNY campuses, interest in the Women's Studies field was initiated in the early 1970's, most often by faculty members. Through the first half of the 1970's, the women's movement was reflected on most campuses through high enrollment in courses focusing on women, in organizations, and on some campuses, including Staten Island, in women's centers. In these early years, the Women's Studies Programs at Staten Island Community College (hereafter SICC) and Richmond College were seen as models by other schools.

Women's Studies programs throughout CUNY experienced some decline after 1975 due to both CUNY's fiscal crisis and to social changes. The fiscal crisis resulted in cutbacks to academic programs. Furthermore, faculty that supported women's studies programs tended to be junior faculty, and the combination of low seniority, the loss of positions, and attrition negatively affected programs. Social changes also affected the demand for Women's Studies programs, as students became more career-oriented and less interested in the liberal arts and social issues. During the 1990's, the Women's Studies program began a concentrated effort to increase the number of majors and minors and to demonstrate its continued efficacy in today's marketplace. The college's new ability to hire new faculty starting in the mid-1990's also brought new strengths and challenges to the academic program.

The Women's Studies Program at CSI is an interdisciplinary program. Its classification as an academic program, rather than as a department, has historically created several difficulties in its administration. The Women's Studies program does not have its own faculty lines and historically has had a limited budget for office staff and other activities. It does not have a full time coordinator; rather, its coordinators are also expected to be full participants in the duties of their own academic departments. Its courses are generally cross-listed with an academic department, and many students use these courses for credit towards a major other than Women's Studies, so that the number of majors and minors in the program has been historically low. Lastly, while the Women's Studies program works in coordination with academic departments, decision-making related to course offerings, faculty, and other issues ultimately rests with the academic departments and not with the program.

List of Past Coordinators, 1970's-2005

1970's and Early 1980's: Phyllis Chesler (1st Coordinator), Manuela Dobos, Clara Melman, Rima Blair, Florence Parkinson 1987-1993: Florence Parkinson 1994-1998: Dure Jo Gillikin 1998-2005?: Kate Crehan

Extent

8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Women's Studies program at Richmond College first offered a program leading to a bachelor's degree in 1972. It is the oldest such degree program in the City University system, and the second oldest in the United States. The current program dates from the merger of Richmond College and Staten Island Community College to create the College of Staten Island in 1976.

The records of the Women's Studies Program include materials related to events, conferences, proposals, schedules, curriculum and publicity.

Arrangement

The Women's Studies Program Records are divided into three series: SUBJECT FILES PHOTOGRAPHS REALIA

Physical Location

1L-221 Shelf 93|94|95|96

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These records were transferred to the College Archives by the Women's Studies Program from 2003-2005.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Catherine N. Carson.
Author
Catherine N. Carson
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the CSI Archives & Special Collections Repository

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