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Alert: VUW Women's Studies

If you require more infomation about this alert, please contact Alison Laurie,

Note: VUW's budget deficit this year (which is the reason given for all the restructuring) is less than two days of planned government spending on the armed forces in 2000 ...

Hi,

The Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, David Mackay, has proposed that Women's Studies at VUW should effectively be dismantled as a unit, though not as a programme.

All departments are being restructured into Schools. There have been several proposals as to the placement of Women's Studies but to our disappointment none have come to fruition. Women's Studies is continuing to explore options for a location within a School and remain optimistic about a successful outcome. However, the Dean has sent out the document below, proposing that WS staff be dispersed throughout different Schools.

The majority of Women's Studies staff are against the proposal. Some of the most serious issues are:-

*The extreme difficulty of running an integrated programme with adequate collegial interaction when the key staff are dispersed in a number of schools and locations.

*Women's Studies as a group of staff with a location at 20 KP has a special identity and meaning for a considerable number of students who study and interact together in a safe place with access to the staff.

*Conflicts would inevitably arise for individuals, between teaching demands for their host School and for Women's Studies

Women's studies enrolments are holding up well and it remains economically viable although small. Moreover, our programme attracts many disadvantaged students and has for some years functioned as an entry point to the university, as well as providing a safe and welcoming space for both women and men on campus. It seems ironic to dismantle a unit which staff and students have built up over the 25 years which we celebrate in 2000.

We ask you to make submissions to the Dean before 24 Nov as he has requested. His e-mail address is

I would appreciate receiving a copy of your submissions.

Alison Laurie, Head of Department, Te Tari Mo Nga Wahine/ Women's Studies, Te Whare Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui/Victoria University of Wellington, Pouaka Poutapeta 600/P.O. Box 600 Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara/Wellington Aotearoa / New Zealand _________________________

Date: 3 November 2000 Subject:Proposal for Management of Women's Studies

As of today there is no obvious solution to the question of which School the Department of Womens Studies should be placed in. Yesterday I received a memorandum from the School of Education with a paper that strongly opposed any kind of merger with Women's Studies. The paper was apparently supported by all staff except for one member who abstained. In this context I am reluctant to force a merger where there is a near unanimous view.

I would therefore like to propose a different solution for the management of Women's Studies. I am sending this out as a consultation document and seek submissions on it by 24 November.

Proposal

1. That a Board of Studies for Womens Studies be appointed with overall responsibility for the structure and quality of the major and graduate courses in Women's Studies 2. That a Director be appointed who has responsibility for managing the major in Womens Studies, liaising with Schools, coordinating and promoting the courses and managing its internal and distance education programmes. 3. That the Director report to a PVC but have administrative assistance through a School. 4. That the current staff in Women's Studies be individually located in appropriate Schools, reflecting their current research and/or teaching interests. 5. That a dedicated space be provided for seminars, meetings, resource provision and other purposes in relation to the programmes and Women's Studies

Comments

In the context of the current Deficit Reduction Project Women's Studies presents all the difficulties of a truly interdisciplinary programme. It has linkages with almost all the current Departments and Schools and there is therefore no obvious School in which to locate it. In this sense it presents some of the locational issues of Asian Studies.

Related courses on gender and womenís issues are taught in Art History, History, Religious Studies, English, Film, European Languages, Linguistics, Anthropology, Politics, Philosophy, Maori Studies, Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology and Nursing and Midwifery. It has for some time been impossible for Women's Studies to embrace all the research and teaching work which goes on it areas relevant to it. In many senses this is a tribute to its success over 25 years in injecting gender and womenís issues into a broad stream of academic programmes.

There are a significant number of students who wish to pursue majors and graduate courses in Women's Studies and their interests would be preserved in the proposed structure. Similarly, the Director would have responsibility for managing and extending programmes in distance education for which there is a growing demand.

Professor David Mackay Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Te Wahanga Aronui P.O. Box 600 Wellington New Zealand Ph (04)463 5093

_________________________

Peace Movement Aotearoa the national networking peace group PO Box 9314, Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand. tel +64 4 382 8129, fax 382 8173, website Internet Peace Gateway


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