Mission

About Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary field of inquiry analyzing structures of power, especially as they are grounded in gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, ability, and other inequalities, and as they configure historical and contemporary struggles for social change. The Women’s Studies department and faculty at the University of Maryland enjoy an international reputation for theoretical and methodological innovations and for their attention to curriculum transformation and transnational women’s and gender studies institution building. With a core faculty of 8 and more than 80 affiliate faculty from across the campus, the program offers a B.A., M.A./Ph.D, undergraduate and graduate certificates in women’s studies, a minor in black women’s studies, and a certificate and minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies.

Mission Statement

We see our department as a force for change in the world, change which strives to achieve intellectual freedom, social justice, and equality for all people.

We do this by providing an outstanding education in Women’s Studies through excellent teaching, engaged mentoring, path breaking research and scholarship, and dedicated community service.

Students sitting against a brick wall on the Mall studying. A female appearing student is in focus with a male appearing student in the background.

We seek to develop a new generation of scholars and leaders who, with us, will work to acknowledge, understand, and critically interrogate human differences such as those of gender, race, class, sexuality, nation, ability, ethnicity, and religion so that difference may be respected, accommodated, and celebrated in social life and so that we may advance knowledge about the possibilities for equality and freedom for all.

We trust that we can indeed make the world better through the knowledge we produce, the minds we nurture, and change we effect around us.

We seek daily to become an even more welcoming physical, material, and intellectual space that invites people in and makes it impossible for them not to stay, talk, explore, brainstorm, share, build, develop, and grow.

Department Statement on Justice

As a department, we remind ourselves that our unit resides in a public land-grant institution. We remind ourselves that such a location is one whose history, in principle, has aimed to provide educational access as an avenue of social change. We remind ourselves that our department’s mission is one that is rooted in an unwavering commitment to “intellectual freedom, social justice, and equality for all people.” We remind ourselves of the words of Audre Lorde who tells us that “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”

In light of these remembrances and in light of the ongoing political tumult that characterizes this political moment, we, the members of the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Maryland, College Park reaffirm our commitment to the following principles of justice:

— We oppose any policy or law that enables the oppression of any individuals or groups.
— We strongly condemn all instances/assertions of trans/homophobia, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.​
— We reaffirm the importance of framing policies, ideas, and laws grounded in fact, reason, and justice.
— We privilege scientific approaches when grappling with the complexity of environmental degradation.
— We reassert the need for compassion for those fleeing harm and economic vulnerability.
— We reject all reassertions of nationalist, imperialist, and xenophobic modes of thought.

We commit to building a fear-free, inclusive space where students can thrive at our university. We invite you to approach us if you have questions or concerns. We will work to preserve your privacy and use our resources to help you find answers or direct you to the appropriate resources.