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To: The Wellesley Community
From: Ann Velenchik, Chair, Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy
Re: Changes to the Minor in Health and Society
Date: December 3, 2019


Wellesley’s minor in health and society, offered through the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, became part of the curriculum in the 2014–15 academic year. The introduction of the minor was the result of collaboration among members of the faculty from across the College, but it was the particular brainchild of Professors Susan Reverby and Charlene Galarneau, both professors of women’s and gender studies. The minor was designed to reflect that particular lens, requiring all students to enroll in WGST 150 and to take an additional course in the department as part of their five-course minor.

Since that time, Professors Galarneau and Reverby have retired from the College, as have several other faculty members whose courses supported the health and society minor. For the 2019–20 academic year, we find ourselves in a situation in which fewer than one-third of the courses listed as satisfying the requirements of the minor are being offered. WGST has covered its contribution courses with visiting faculty members as a short-run stopgap measure, but the long-term plans of the department don’t include a continued focus on this area, so this will be the last year that WGST 150 and the other health-related courses in WGST will be offered.

Without robust course availability in the area, we cannot offer a rigorous and credible minor program in WGST. And so we have decided to make the difficult decision to suspend the minor program in health and society. Current students who have completed WGST 150 may declare the health and society minor until the end of this academic year. After that point, no new minor declarations will be accepted. Information about how to complete the minor will continue to be presented in the WGST catalog entry and will be available in the online catalog.

We recognize that many students are interested in the subject matter and will be disappointed by this change, but we are also confident that we should not continue a minor program that is not consistently staffed by continuing faculty. We will be working to consider alternative designs, and departmental homes, for a program of study focused on health. In the meantime, we’d like to remind students that they can continue to take health-related courses, which will appear on their transcripts, and talk about the role of those courses in their education on their résumés, in their cover letters and interviews, and in any other venue where one would want to describe one’s educational program