This semester is going to be a turning event for the Women’s Studies program. Their only full time Women’s Studies professor, Amy Kesselman, is retiring in May 2012. I know this is a happy event and I’m sure she has been anticipating this for quite some time (since she has worked here since 1981) but I feel it would be best for the program to have at least one person that can dedicate their time to just one department.
Although Women’s Studies branches across all subjects and disciplines, we need someone that can focus their time on one program. Of course the professors we have now are doing a great job and providing monumental contributions to the program and the community as a whole, but professors that are not solely dedicated to one department face a lot of time constrains such as having to attend twice the amount of meetings and proving themselves as crucial members for each program.
According to a letter from the program that is circulating campus, the program was established in 1974 and has tripled in the past three decades. So if interest has increased we should be adding more faculty members as others leave. I feel like a full-time member could manage the department, advise students and set up conferences more easily than one with divided responsibilities. No one encourages multitasking because the mind is divided so why should be encourage it for our faculty members?
I know budget cuts are hurting every department on campus but classes have been cut and the number of adjunct professors has been limited while demand still grows. In a society where women are still making 77 cents per every dollar a man makes and women are being sexually assaulted right on our campus, having a full-time faculty member is an important step toward recognizing not only the Women’s Studies program but also the entire sex.