Our History

Making Women Visible in the Curriculum and on the Campus 1970-2008

Fall 1970:

  • J.J. Wilson and students start planning for courses on women
  • First consciousness-raising groups on campus

Spring 1971:

  • First course on women--a student-initiated course on "Women and History," taught by Trish Raleigh and Shelly Fedanzo with Bob Brown as faculty sponsor

Summer 1971:

  • First faculty-taught course on women--"Women and Literature," taught by J.J. Wilson

Fall 1971:

  • First interdisciplinary lecture series on women--"Pandora's Box" coordinated by J.J. Wilson, Elaine Bundeson and Sandra Walton
  • First course on women in regular department curriculum: "Women's History," taught by Mary Felstinger
  • Women's Survival Center founded in Clarice Stasz's office

Spring 1972:

  • First student-initiated courses on women listed as Women's Studies courses
  • Five students apply for a special major in Women's Studies
  • Women's Survival Center gets space in the university library

Fall 1972:

  • First Women's Studies core course, WOMS 200, "Changing Women," taught by J.J. Wilson and Karen Petersen
  • Eight courses on women taught in regular departments, including a course on La Chicana in Mexican-American Studies and one on Black Women taught in Afro-American Studies
  • Five extension coursees offered on women's business
  • Women's Survival Center gets office in the trailers

Spring 1973:

  • Women's Studies becomes a program within the Division of Inter-Disciplinary Studies and gets allocation to hire a coordinator
  • "Our Bodies, Ourselves" is taught for the first time. Later becomes "Feminist Perspectives on Women's Health, Women's Bodies" (currently "Women's Bodies: Health and Image")

Fall 1973:

  • First faculty member, Ann Neel, hired to coordinate and teach Women's Studies, followed in later 1970s by Ruth Mahaney, Karlene Faith, Janet Cole, Adele Clarke and Lauren Coodley
  • Women's History Slide Show started by students in Alice Wexler's "Women's History" class. Later led to National Women's History Project
  • Women's Studies gets office in the trailers
  • Women's Studies governing board established with student, staff, faculty and community members
  • Distaff, campus women's newspaper, published

Spring 1974:

  • Women's Union, a student organization, is founded

Fall 1974:

  • Marjory Downing Wagner becomes President of Sonoma State University--the first woman president in the state university system
  • Yvette Fallandy becomes Vice-President for Academic Affairs
  • First course for returning women taught in Women's Studies
  • "Teaching and Planning" becomes a Women's Studies course required of all student teachers. In the early 1980s, this course becomes Feminist Pedagogy, and in late 1980s, "Teaching Adults."

Spring 1975:

  • Elaine Bundesen in the Admissions Office prepares for a re-entry women's brochure
  • Two support groups for re-entry women are organized by Jan Kalbaugh and Sandra Walton
  • 24 courses focusing on women in Women's Studies and 14 in other departments are offered

Summer 1975:

  • Extension class, "From Kitchen to College," offered by Jackie Kramer
  • Workshop for prospective re-entry women organized with junior colleges in a six-county service area

Fall 1975:

  • First Affirmative Action Director appointed, Bari Evans

Spring 1976:

  • Management offers an extension course on "Negotiating the Secretarial Ghetto," taught by Shawna Davis Fikes

Fall 1976:

  • Off-campus Housing Office offers re-entry services, First re-entry conversations

Spring 1978:

  • First class on "Racism and Sexism" team-taught by Ruth Mahaney and Ada Mason of American Multicultural Studies
  • First celebration of National Women's History Week

Fall 1978:

  • Re-entry task force chaired by Barry Godolphin and Tak Richards
  • Women's Studies minor approved

Spring 1979:

  • 500 attend "Conference on Women and Power" coordinated by Linda Lipps of the Career Development Center

Fall 1979:

  • Half-time Director for Re-entry Center hired, Tak Richards
  • Re-entry Learning Moments started
  • Siege of Women's Studies begins as SSU President Diamendoupolos calls for major program review
  • Twenty-eight women faculty send letter to President Diamandopoulos supporting the Women's Studies Program and its coordinators

Spring 1980:

  • President Diamendoupolos tries to close Women's Studies, but gives in to student, faculty and community protest

Fall 1980:

  • First full-time Director of Affirmative Action hired, Barbara Lesch McCaffry

Fall 1981:

  • First tenure-track faculty hired in Women's Studies, Kay Trimberger

Fall 1982:

  • First associated student funding for Women's Center lobbied by Carmen Radcliffe

Spring 1983:

  • Women's Studies has 10-year reunion, attended by over 100 people
  • Career Minor in Women's Health approved

Fall 1983:

  • Women's Studies course approved for general education (GE) credit

Fall 1985:

  • Women's Council of the California State University founded

Fall 1986:

  • SSU Council of Women's Issues founded as chapter of the Women's Council of the State University

Fall 1987:

  • Formation of Vice-President's Ad Hoc Committee meets to establish a Women's Resource Center on campus

Spring 1989:

  • Half-time coordinator hired for Women's Resource Center, Karen Markowitz

Fall 1989:

  • Women's Studies and Women's Resource Center win a major program improvement grant from the Chancellor's Office for a Women's Peer Leadership Project

Spring 1992:

  • A reunion and conference held, "In Celebration of Women's Education at SSU: 1970-1992"
  • Karen Markowitz laid off from Women's Resource Center and funding is ended

Fall 1993:

  • Women's Resource Center returns to a primarily student-run organization with Linda Lipps, Associate Director of EOP, given one-fourth time to be the coordinator
  • Student coordinator of Women's Resource Center files a case with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR), complaining that SSU is deficient in dealing with complaints about sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • Women's Studies wins a grant from AT&T to develop a "Women in Science" program

Spring 1994:

  • Eileen Naughton-Merberg appointed Coordinator of Sexual Assault Education
  • Christine Ritchy-Gray hired to coordinate a Women in Science program

Fall 1994:

  • Women's Studies is granted a second tenure-track position
  • Women's Studies approved to offer an experimental special major in Gender Studies for five years

Spring 1995:

  • Cindy Stearns hired as assistant professor of Women's Studies

Fall 1995:

  • Funding restored to hire a half-time professional coordinator for the Women's Resource Center, combined with a half-time employee in the Office of Campus Life. Kris Montgomery is hired

Fall 1996:

  • "Conference on Girls: Power, Promise and Possibility" held with funding from the Sonoma County Community Foundation and AAUW

Spring 1997:

  • Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) founded with Brandi Redman as the first student coordinator

Fall 1997:

  • Kaiser Permanente funds the Women's Health Lecture Series

Spring 1998:

  • New major in Women's and Gender Studies approved unanimously by all campus committees. This is the new name of the program

Spring 2000:

  • Dr. Kay Trimberger retires and continues to teach on occasional basis through the Faculty Early Retirement Program

Fall 2001:

  • Women's and Gender Studies becomes a department. (It had been a program.) Dr. Charlene Tung joins the faculty as the third tenture-track faculty hire in the program's history

Fall 2003:

  • Dr. Nan Alamilla Boyd joins the faculty, bringing the total number of core tenure-track faculty in the department to three

Fall 2008:

  • Dr. Lena McQuade and Dr. Don Romesburg join the faculty, replacing Professors Stearns and Boyd. The Queer Studies Disiciplinary Concentration is added

Fall 2010:

  • The Queer Studies Minor is added.

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