Gate’s New Minor: LGBTQ

Over two years ago, five Colgate faculty members met to discuss the addition of a Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Questioning (LGBTQ) Studies minor to the Colgate curriculum. This minor concentration would give students the opportunity to engage in gender and sexuality studies — an established academic area in many other peer institutions across the country.

The faculty members who co-authored the proposal for this minor, which is now under review by the Dean of the Faculty and the Dean’s Advisory Council, come from an array of departments.

“We felt that there were a lot of courses that already exist in the Colgate curriculum that connect with what people would understand to be LGBTQ scholarship,” Associate Professor of Mathematics and University Studies Core Ken Valente, co-author of the proposal, said, “And it was time that these courses have some sort of universal recognition under the title of LGBTQ.”

Valente calls attention to the many courses already existing at Colgate in such departments as Sociology, Women’s Studies and Religion that address issues pertinent to the topic of sexual identity.

The proposal’s framers cited the many liberal arts colleges whose curriculums contain programs specifically addressing LGBTQ, Gender and/or Sexuality Studies. These esteemed institutions, all but one of which are in the top 20 of the most recent ranking of America’s best liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report, include Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Carleton, Haverford, Wesleyan and Hobart & William Smith.

The authors of this proposal created a curricular survey and distributed it to the entire Colgate faculty. According to Valente, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“We got responses from people that we did not expect and were pleasantly surprised,” Valente said.

This coalition of like-minded faculty — Assistant Professor of English Amy Feinstein, Assistant Professor of Religion Eliza Kent, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and Women’s Studies Meika Loe, Director of the Division of University Studies and Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Women’s Studies Marilyn Thie and Valente — want to emphasize that this minor is designed to engage all students.Their ultimate goal is to increase diversity and knowledge across the entire Colgate community.

In the event of the LGBTQ Studies minor’s approval by the Dean’s Advisory Council, it could not be officially added to the Colgate curriculum until the 2008-2009 academic year. New individual courses of study are not considered a part of the curriculum until they appear in the course booklet, and the deadline for submission to the 2007-2008 edition has already passed.