Letter From the Chair

Jane Lehr, Cal Poly
Jane Lehr, Women's and
Gender Studies Department Chair


I am delighted to share these updates with you about the amazing students, faculty, and staff that are Women’s and Gender Studies at Cal Poly.

Teaching, learning and doing in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Cal Poly is designed to promote scholarly inquiry, education and activism. As described by the National Women’s Studies Association (2013), Women’s and Gender studies “is fundamentally about the study of power and societal inequalities.” Our students are empowered to question and contribute to knowledge creation, community formation, activism, creative practice, and policymaking from interdisciplinary and intersectional perspectives. 

Over 100 WGS Minors

Cal Poly established the minor in Women’s Studies in 1990. Our first minors graduated in 1991-92. During the 2016-17 academic year, 45 students graduated with minors in Women’s and Gender Studies from Cal Poly. Another 66 students will return to Cal Poly as WGS minors in fall 2017.

This means that FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, Cal Poly had over 100 students active in the Women’s and Gender Studies minor in one academic year!

New Queer Studies Minor at Cal Poly

Queer Studies Minor at Cal Poly

In fall 2017, the Women’s & Gender Studies Department will launch a new Queer Studies minor. This minor provides all Cal Poly students with opportunities to explore the central role of sexuality in human societies.

Courses and Learn by Doing opportunities in the Queer Studies minor examine how constructions, experiences and expressions of sexuality change over time and are lived in relation to interlocking systems of race, ethnicity, religion, class, nation, age, dis/ability and gender.

Through this exploration, the Queer Studies minor prepares students to contribute to scholarship, creative production and innovation in the interdisciplinary field of queer studies. Queer Studies students also gain hands-on experience serving as leaders in the creation, enactment and evaluation of efforts to create a more inclusive, just and equitable Cal Poly and world.

To learn more about the Queer Studies minor, please visit the Queer Studies minor page.

Concluding Thoughts

As I have shared before, I am never more professionally proud and awed than when I have had the opportunity to celebrate and learn from the amazing thinking, scholarship and engagement projects undertaken by Women’s and Gender Studies students, alumni, faculty and staff.

I am very excited for you to learn more about the ways in which Women’s and Gender Studies at Cal Poly has contributed to efforts to make Cal Poly more undocufriendly in the rest of the newsletter.

I also want to know – what should we do together next?

Finally, I want to close by thanking the many faculty throughout the university who teach Women’s and Gender Studies courses, our amazing students and staff, our phenomenal campus and community partners and our alumni. We really would not be able to do the hard, complex and important work of Women’s and Gender Studies at Cal Poly without you. Thank you so much!

For the latest updates from the department, please check out the WGS Facebook page

Please also provide us with updates on your academic, professional and personal development. We would be delighted to hear your news. Stay in touch!

Jane Lehr 
Chair, Women's and Gender Studies Department
Professor, Ethnic Studies Department

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