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Before the Beginning

In March 1971, Gloria Steinem visited TCU and gave a lecture that made a series of recommendations to help TCU participate in the feminist revolution of the 1970s. The first two recommendations: Institute a women’s studies program and offer a women’s studies section in the library. Steinem also suggested that students demand change to their curriculum: “[Students] can review existing courses for examples of racism and sexism in the professors’ heads and in the textbooks alike […] Students on some campuses are then free to boycott those classes, demonstrate outside the professors’ houses, or otherwise make life difficult…”

Click here to see the October-November 1974 issue of Image.


An Early Class on Women, Gender, and Sexuality

In spring 1975, Dr. Sandra Carey in the Department of Sociology offered a course called “The Sociology of Sex Roles,” which was controversial enough to warrant coverage in The Daily Skiff, and covered topics like the social construction of gender and “homosexuality.” Read the article here.

From Nov. 1, 1974 issue of The Skiff (p. 3)



Our Beginnings

Picture of jean Giles-Sims

Priscilla Tate, one of the founders of Women’s Studies at TCU

Beginning in 1979, Jean Giles-Sims (Sociology) and Priscilla Tate (English), pushed to start a Women´s Studies program at TCU to recover women´s presence in history, art, and literature, to be a space to explore women´s issues on and off campus, and to give a platform for research in the area of Women´s Studies. It would be 15 years until the program launched in 1994.


What's in a Name?

In 1992, a committee of faculty developing the proposal for the new interdisciplinary minor in women’s studies debated the merits of “women’s studies” versus “gender studies,” ultimately deciding on the former.

A watermark from the original Women’s Studies Program


The Founding of Women's Studies at TCU

Picture of Jean Giles SImsThe Women’s Studies Program officially begins, and Jean Giles Sims is named first director.


The First Women's Studies Course

In 1995, Introduction to Women´s Studies is offered for the first time, co-taught by Dr. Jean Giles-Sims and Dr. Priscilla Tate. By 2006, the course was offered in both fall and spring semesters.


New Directions

Picture of Claudia CampClaudia Camp (Religion) becomes director, 3-year term set for directors.


Senior Capstone

In 2002, the WGST Senior Capstone shifted from a focus on feminist theories to “real world” knowledge and applications. In 2006, graduating seniors begin to showcase their work in the course. The class is now the WGST Advanced Seminar, where students develop, implement, and present community action projects that are meant to address real-life gender justice issues on campus and in the community.



New Directions

picture of Joanne Green

Joanne Green (Political Science) becomes director


Graduate Certificate

In 2004, Women’s Studies launched the graduate certificate program, admitting 12 students in its first year and developing a class in Feminist Theories and Methodologies. The certificate program now enrolls around 50 students from AddRan, Brite Divinity School, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the College of Education. In 2018, the certificate program launched a new class: Feminist Inquiry: Theory & Praxis. Graduate students serve on WGST committees and each year, one is honored with a graduate research award.

2019 WGST Graduate Certificate Students at the ENGL/HIST Hooding Ceremony




2005 saw the addition of 15 new WOST-approved classes; the first TCU production of The Vagina Monologues; and a lecture by Alexandra Robbins, author of Pledged, which allowed Women’s Studies to expand awareness of the program and partner with Panhellenic


New Directions

Karen Steele (English) becomes director



An Emphasis in WOST

Women’s Studies launches the emphasis, which requires one fewer course than the minor and broadens the program’s reach on campus.


Queer Ideas at TCU

In 2008, Dr. Bonnie Blackwell offered one of the first LGBTQ-themed undergraduate courses at TCU, LGBTQ Authors and Themes in the English Department, and in 2014 it was approved for WGST credit. Dr. Kylo-Patrick Hart first offered the FTDM class Queer Theory/LGBT Film in 2011. In 2018, Women & Gender Studies launched the course Queer Theories, taught by Dr. Nino Testa, as part of a new curriculum for the recently approved major in WGST.


Wise Woman Award Launches

In 2008, WGST launched The Jean Giles-Sims Wise Woman Award, which is presented to the faculty member who best exemplifies the principles of Women and Gender Studies and helps to further gender justice on campus. The award recognizes faculty contributions both inside and outside of the classroom and has been given to faculty from across the university.


New Directions

Laura Prestwood (IDM) becomes director, first director from outside AddRan College of Liberal Arts

A Feminist Archive

Documentation of the Program’s history begins as WOST minor student Paige Pohle writes her final paper in the Senior Capstone course on the history of the Women’s Studies at TCU.

New Directions

Theresa Gaul (English) begins the first of two terms as director


Faculty Research Award Launches

WGST launches the Claudia V. Camp Faculty Research and Creativity Award. Named for one of the founders of Women’s Studies, this award is a one-year honorary appointment that recognizes excellence in scholarship and creative activity on women and gender by an affiliated faculty member in Women and Gender Studies at TCU.


What's in a Name?

In 2014 the faculty vote to change the name to “Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies,” but ultimately adopt “Women & Gender Studies” at the suggestion of the Office of the Provost.


Laying the Groundwork for Change

WGST undergoes an external review which recommends the hire of full-time faculty and staff, the development of a major, and a refocus of curriculum. In August, WGST hires its first full-time staff person, an Associate Director, Dr. Nino Testa. In September, Katherine Spillar (’75) visits TCU as a WGST Green Chair, speaking to hundreds of people across campus about her work with the Feminist Majority Foundation, Ms. Magazine, reproductive rights, and feminist activism.




A Year of Growth

TCU approves both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in Women & Gender Studies. WGST moves to the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies and becomes the Department of Women & Gender Studies.


New Directions

Jeannine Gailey (Sociology) is named director of Women and Gender Studies. After the program moves to the new School of Interdisciplinary Studies and becomes a department, Gailey becomes the inaugural chair of the Department of Women & Gender Studies.


25 Years of Women & Gender Studies

The fall 2019 theme semester, “Looking Back, Moving Forward” celebrates 25 years of Women & Gender Studies/Women’s Studies at TCU.