Only 5 Students at South Dakota State Pursue Women’s and Gender Studies Minor

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A professor at South Dakota State University is seeking to recruit more students to pursue a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, as there are currently only five students enrolled.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) professor Becky Kuehl hopes to grow the number of students pursuing a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, after discovering to her dismay that the program’s student registration is in the single-digits, according to The Collegian.

In 2016, the program’s name changed from “Women’s Studies” to “Women’s and Gender Studies,” in an effort to be more inclusive. Despite the focus on inclusiveness, only five students remain registered for the minor.

Kuehl, who serves as the program’s coordinator, wants to recruit more students to register for Women’s and Gender Studies, as she believes the minor will be useful in the job market — stating that it prepares students to work with different types of people.

“The most valuable part of the Women’s and Gender Studies minor is that you are going to work with people who are different from you and the courses in this minor help prepare you for understanding how those differences shape our worldviews,” said Kuehl.

Kuehl’s role as program coordinator means ensuring the “quality of the minor” and recruitment, among other tasks, according to The Collegian.

“It’s important because it’s really one of the few programs on campus where students are really exposed to the social construction of gender and sexuality to open up to more of an awareness to make interactions more valuable,” added Kuehl.

Associate professor Sharon Smith, who teaches Women’s Studies 101 at SDSU, agrees with Kuehl regarding the importance of obtaining a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.

“There are so many things that we need to change in terms of people facing different types of prejudices and discrimination based on their gender or sexuality,” said Smith, adding that the program “does a nice job” of educating students on how they can “change the system.”

One reason students may not be interested in the program could be due to the higher unemployment rate in the job market for degrees in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.

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