This file was prepared for electronic distribution by the inforM staff. Questions or comments should be directed to email@example.com. CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Students say: "It changed my life." Critics say: "It's propaganda." Students say: "It expanded my mind in every direction." Critics say: "It's unintellectual, touchy-feely stuff." Students say: "It gave me a voice." Critics say: "It silences everyone who disagrees." These contradictory and intense responses to women's studies courses have typified the debate about this fast-growing discipline since the late 1960s, when women's studies courses began to emerge spontaneously on campuses around the country in response to the women's movement. The criticism about women's studies was rarely generated by students who took classes but by people responding to what they thought was going on in women's studies classes. Women's studies programs, especially in their first decade, often were established despite an atmosphere of hostility, suspicion, or indifference to their enterprise. Women's studies faculty members, on the other hand, were sustained both by their own intellectual and political commitment to the discipline and by the intellectual and personal transformations they consistently witnessed in their students. "It gave me courage," explained one student. To understand more about how that learning process occurs, we undertook a project that has resulted in The Courage to Question: Women's Studies and Student Learning. If women's studies develops in students the courage to speak their minds, can women's studies faculty members display a similar courage in asking tough questions of our programs? Having done that, do we have the courage to go public with what we find? Even though in many respects women's studies has come into its own as it moves into its third decade, the political context once again is reminiscent of the acrimonious attacks of the early 1970s. The power and production of feminist scholarship as an intellectual enterptise usually is ignored by conservative critics, who dismiss and trivialize women's studies as "oppression studies" or "a grievance industry." With inflammatory attacks against women's studies, ethnic studies, and other academic efforts that advocate a more diverse curriculum, small but influential organizations such as the National Association of Scholars or the less significant Accuracy in Acdemia have generated a frenzy of emotionally laden, wildly distorted representations of women's studies.1 Such critics suggest that by including women and gender analysis in the study of human culture and history, women's studies - rather than the curriculum that mad women invisible in the first place - is guilty of threatening other people's academic freedom. In such a politicized and polarized climate, equity and excellence have been posited as diametrically opposed; critical thinking has been labeled as "anti_american"; and the study of two-thirds of the human race has been characterized as "special interests." In the midst of such misinformed and dangerous polemics, The Courage to Question seeks to bring light where there has been only heat, clarity where there has been deliberate obfuscation of the facts. The national assault on women's studies has a special urgency precisely because women's studies has affected almost every discipline, secured a foothold within academia, and continued to attract students in ever-increasing numbers. The first women's studies program was formally approved at San Diego State University in 1970. When the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) was formed in 1977, there were already 276 programs. Ten years later, the total topped 500; and in the most recent NWSA national survey published in 1990, 621 women's studies programs were listed.2 Within those programs, 425 offer a minor, certificate, or area of concentration; 235 offer a major. In the 1984 American Council on Education survey, Campus Trends, Elaine El-Khawas noted that women's studies courses could be found at 68.1 percent of universities, 48.9 percent of four-year colleges, and 26.5 percent of two-year colleges. At the graduate level the number of institutions offering women's studies work has expanded rapidly from 23 in 1986, to 55 in 1988, to 102 in 1990. The increased institutionalization of women's studies has been accelerated by the explosion in feminist scholarship. In 1984 alone there were reputedly more than four thousand books published on women. There are more than thirty journals in women's studies and dozens of feminist presses, and most university presses publish so many titles in women's studies that they have special sections in their promotional materials. More than 170 professional associations for academic disciplines have instituted a women's caucus or women's division, thus guaranteeing a forum within mainstream disciplinary conferences for new feminist scholarship. Women's studies also has been involved in hundreds of curriculum transformation projects around the country since 1980, when the first project at Wheaton College began. Wheaton's project has been imitated and modified on many campuses, clustered in regional approaches such as the Western States Project out of the Southwest Institute on Research on Women, and adopted as a statewide strategy as represented by the New Jersey Project funded through the New Jersey Department of Education. Typically designed to incorporate the new scholarship on women throughout the curriculum, though often particularly in general-education courses, curriculum transformation not only has brought the new scholarship to a far broader student constituency but also engaged a wide range of faculty members in the scholarship, pedagogy, and curriculum development so central to women's studies. The most recent national project, "Mainstreaming Minority Women's Studies," sponsored by the National Council for Research on Women and funded by the Ford Foundation, attests to ways that ethnic studies and women's studies have begun to combine their powerful analyses about the social construction of knowledge. The national call for academic institutions to rethink their curriculum to reflect the knowledge produced by a diverse human culture over time was represented most recently in the title of the Association of American Colleges' 1992 national conference, "Recentering," and many of the curricular innovations generated by AAC's project, "Engaging Cultural Legacies," funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1989, as executive director of the National Women's Studies Association, I was planning an invitational conference, "Women's Studies: The Third Decade," for women's studies directors to celebrate the achievements of two decades of women's studies programs and to determine the agenda for the 1990s. It was within this context of celebration and attack that our project, "The Courage to Question," was born. The first workshop funded by the grant was attached to the "Third Decade" conference and underscored the purpose of the grant: to assess student learning in women's studies classes in order to make more informed decisions about program development in the 1990s. While women's studies was under attack, students were painting a different portrait about their experiences in women's studies classes. For two decades, women's studies faculty members knew something was causing students to become intellectually and personally engaged in ideas and issues raised in women's studies courses. Certainly, women's studies set out to do something that had never been done before. Although inspired by black studies programs before them, women's studies stood out as an academic anomaly by virtue of its focus on material about women and gender that previously had been excluded from study, its explanatory critique of the construction of knowledge and unequal arrangements of power, and its determination to offer a pedagogy of student empowerment commensurate with feminist theory. Most professors who have taught women's studies could expound anecdotally for hours on the students whose minds and lives were changed by women's studies--students who felt personally and intellectually affirmed in women's studies as they did nowhere else on campus. However, we had no systematic explanations for these transformations; no fuller, sustained explanations of exactly what was happening or how. We had many studies on the transformation of the curriculum both inside and outside of women's studies, information about how faculty members shifted intellectual paradigms, and some research about students' attitudinal changes. But we had no national study that probed the learning process itself, that turned to the students to hear in their own voices a description of what was happening to them as thinkers, as inquirers, as people. "The Courage to Question" sought to do just that. We sought to do that for our own benefit in terms of improving our programs. But we sought to do it for the benefit of a larger national public as well. Our study comes in the wake of a number of national reports elucidating crises in education and suggesting avenues for reform. The University of Colorado chapter discusses these reports in more detail. Some reports expressed concerns about a fragmented curriculum without coherence; a faculty more concerned with its research publications than its teaching, and a passive student population, uninvolved in academic questions and reluctant to embrace values. In women's studies, we saw a dramatically different student profile. Women and gender as a centralizing concept for student inquiry provided overall coherence for students, whatever their discipline; within women's studies itself, teaching was as central to our mission as our research. Students we observed in our classes were passionately engaged in the subject matter, spurred to voice by the dynamics of feminist pedagogy. Our two decades of experience suggested that women's studies offers students a dynamic, interactive environment that encourages critical thinking, empowers students as learners, enriches their sense of civilization's heritage, connects their knowledge from other courses, and challenges them to become actively engaged in shaping their world. We hope our three-year research project, then, will be an important contribution to the conversation as we in higher education jointly seek solutions for crises on our campuses and in our classrooms. In addition to ways our research might enhance our understanding of how to improve the quality of undergraduate learning as a whole, we also hoped the project would benefit women's studies itself. Many realized we needed a vehicle that would allow us to pause and reflect about what we had created over the span of two decades. Even though women's studies programs increased dramatically over that period, growth was uneven, and the majority of programs were underfunded and understaffed.3 It was all some faculties could do simply to maintain their programs. Others worked overloads to develop new courses, plan cocurricular activities, and increase institutional support. Many complained of having too little control over which courses were offered, when, and by whom. Few had time to take stock either of where we were conceptually and pedagogically or where we needed to go next. A grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), along with some important internal institutional support given to several of the programs in our project, provided us with that much needed opportunity. Gerda Lerner, pioneer feminist historian, has said that assessing the impact of feminist scholarship on the way we view the world would be "like trying to describe the Renaissance--ten years after it began." While it may be premature to attempt to measure the transformative effect of feminist scholarship, it is appropriate and timely to begin to listen attentively to what students tell us about how women's studies is affecting what and how they learn. THE DESIGN OF THE GRANT To ensure a textured sample, ten women's studies programs representing a wide variety of institutions were invited to participate in "The Courage to Question." They included both public and private; large and small; urban, suburban, and rural; coeducational and single sex; and research universities and liberal arts colleges spread geographically from one coast to the other. The sites also were selected so the project as a whole represented a diverse student population that included variables such as sex, race, ethnic background, class, and age. Two persons from each program were to be part of each institutional team; most typically they were the women's studies director and a women's studies faculty member. Everyone was expected to consult widely and regularly with the students and faculty at their home institutions. The ten women's studies programs invited to participate included: O University of Colorado O Oberlin College O University of California-Los Angeles O Wellesley College O University of Wisconsin O City University of New York-Hunter College O Bennett College O University of Missouri-Columbia O Old Dominion University O Lewis and Clark College Of the ten, nine referred to their programs as "women's studies." The tenth, Lewis and Clark, calls its program "gender studies." In gathering national data for NWSA's 1990 women's studies directory, a similar ratio of 9:1 held; the overwhelming number continue to name their programs "women's studies." Lewis and Clark makes a strong case for the institutional appropriateness of its linguistic choice. Since its founding in the nineteenth century, Lewis and Clark always has been committed to a single curriculum for men and women; in this latter part of the twentieth century, the gender studies faculty members specifically are aiming to involve male as well as female students in the program. At the same time, Lewis and Clark makes it clear that feminist inquiry and theory are at the center of their program. Its title thus represents a strategy, a curricular theoretical framework, and historical continuity with their institution. To provide the necessary assessment expertise, a national assessment team was created to work closely with the women's studies programs and function as an advisory board to the project director. The five members of the National Assessment Team and the external evaluator for the project are nationally and in some cases internationally recognized experts in assessment; they also have a familiarity with feminist scholarship and women's studies. Their range of expertise was deliberately diverse, both in terms of their methodologies and their focus. Some were most facile with quantitative analysis, others with qualitative. Collectively they had done research in feminist pedagogy, curriculum transformation, faculty development, student development, and institutional evaluations. Their task was to give the sites an overall perspective on the assessment movement, train the women's studies faculty in a variety of assessment methods, assist in developing assessment plans for each institution, and make site visits as needed. Each member was assigned a program, designated its principal source of expertise on assessment, and evaluated a preliminary report made at the end of the second year. In the first year of the grant, the programs were asked to define the learning goals of their respective women's studies programs in four key areas: knowledge base, learning skills, feminist pedagogy, and personal growth. By mid-year, after several months of campus-based consultations with faculty members and students, each program submitted its program goals; these became the basis for the questions most campuses eventually posed about student learning in women's studies at their campus. Having established their program's learning goals, faculty members were introduced to the various assessment methods, established at least three focused areas of inquiry, and created by the end of the first year what we came to call "An Institutional Research Design Assessment Plan." The second year's work was campus-focused. Each program began to create specific questions for its surveys and assessment instruments, gather data, and write a preliminary report of findings by the year's end. A project workshop at the end of the year gave participants the opportunity to read one another's reports, consider modifications, and exchange information about programmatic changes that were taking place on their campuses as a result of their discoveries. During the third year, some programs collected additional information and analyzed data, and each site revised its preliminary report to serve as a case study for The Courage to Question: Women's Studies and Student Learning the most comprehensive of three publications evolving from the FIPSE grant. The Courage to Question contains the heart of the research discoveries about how and what students learn in women's studies courses. A synopsis of key findings about student learning can be found in the Executive Summary of The Courage to Question, which is funded by the Association of American Colleges and designed to make the information easily accessible to a wider population. Because how we went about assessing student learning became almost as revealing a process as what we actually discovered, we have produced a third publication from the FIPSE grant, Students at the Center: Feminist Assessment. As most people agree, methodology and content cannot be severed neatly from one another. The Courage to Question chapters, then, describe assessment designs and methodologies and include the most relevant questionnaires at the end of each chapter. Foregrounded in The Courage to Question, however, are the results. Students at the Center foregrounds assessment: what we came to call "feminist principles of assessment"; innovative assessment designs; how our project fits into the spectrum of assessment approaches nationally; and practical advice about how to do a productive assessment project on a campus. Students at the Center contains a more expansive sample of questionnaires, scoring sheets, and interview questions. It also includes a directory of consultants and a selected bibliography on assessment. We hope Students at the Center will serve as a catalyst for assessment projects in women's studies but also in many other disciplines as well. QUESTIONS GENERATED ABOUT STUDENT LEARNING Over time, the project created a series of institutionally specific questions around which each women's studies program designed its assessment plan. To prepare, each participant in the initial grant workshop generated a series of what we called "passionate questions" about women's studies and student learning.4 Our lists were very long. At that point, we did not seek to create a common set of questions or reduce the diverse voices and concerns. Participants then went back to their individual campuses, where they initiated a series of extended conversations and consultations with faculty members and students. On the basis of those extended dialogues, we met again as a group midway through the first year and created a set of eight key questions that we agreed all of our programs had in common. The eight questions covered developmental, disciplinary, and pedagogical issues. Does women's studies cultivate personal empowerment and social responsibility? How successfully does women's studies support students as they express their feminism on campus? Is the authority of experience legitimized and are students urged to comprehend the experience of others? Does women's studies foster connected learning (see page 77) ? Are students introduced to the constructed and situated character of disciplinary knowledge? Are students encouraged to reconstruct knowledge from multidisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives? How do programs navigate tensions between creating safe but challenging classroom space? Finally, how do we shift and make explicit the power relations both in the classroom and the institution? All these questions were understood to be posed within the larger framework in which gender, race, class, sexuality, and other categories of analytic differences intersect. These eight questions were not created as controlling questions for the project, nor were participants compelled to include them in their particular institutional assessment design. Nonetheless, these questions acted as a common background for the project against which other questions were posed. They also led some campuses to explore issues in common with other programs; as a result, we have a collection of case studies that are both particular and general, unique and widely applicable. CONTEXTS FOR CASE STUDIES The more we met as a national group, the clearer it became that institutional context was very important. Feminist theory argues persuasively that positionality and particularity influence what we know. Our exchanges bore that out. As a group, we were also wary of aggregate statistics and generalizations that too often erase significant insights or particular groups of people. We were convinced that universalizing students would distort their distinct realities and therefore be less useful in efforts to improve undergraduate education. We decided not only to write a series of case studies, therefore, but to offer an institutional and student profile in each report so readers would have a more accurate context for understanding the research results. Almost every report begins, then, by orienting the reader to a specific academic institution and student population. The concluding chapter of The Courage to Question does offer a national picture of student learning but one that is rooted firmly in the particular student experiences generated in the research findings of participating campuses. The University of Colorado set its assessment project in the larger social context of the decade-long educational reform movement. The Colorado program then went directly to students with the questions: "From your standpoint, what do we in women's studies actually do? What actually happens to you as a learner in women's studies courses? What do you learn and how do you learn it?" The students articulated from their own experiences three components of women's studies courses--course content, course structure, and classroom dynamics--which Colorado explored in more depth for the next two years. Primarily through an ethnographic methodology, Colorado's study compares women's studies and non-women's studies courses to define what accounts for the active engagement and sense of empowerment and difference students claimed typified their learning experiences in women's studies. By examining what they refer to as personalized learning and the influence of student culture on that learning, they suggest future areas of research. By contrast, Lewis and Clark linked its questions directly to specific program goals for its Gender Studies Program. Wanting to pose some questions about the construction of gender studies as a discipline, the project coordinators asked, "How effectively do our students learn and apply gender analysis?" In answering this question, they sought to define a knowledge base or what they referred to as "knowledge plots" in women's studies, investigating whether there might be some developmental logic to leaming one plot before another. They also compared gender studies and non-gender studies classes and sought to explore some of the distinctions between courses where gender is the central focus of inquiry and others where gender balancing is considered when a course is constructed but is not necessarily foregrounded. The second question had to do with gender studies' impact in the classroom and on the institutional climate as a whole. Finally, coordinators asked of both alumnae/a and current students, "What impact, if any, has gender studies had on your personal growth?" As at Lewis and Clark, the participants at Old Dominion University (ODU) were interested in trying to define some key concepts in women's studies and asked, "How well do students leam the knowledge base of women's studies?" They followed up questions about the knowledge base with questions about learning skills: "Do students become connected knowers, individuals who use self-knowledge and empathy to learn?" Paralleling that concem about how students leam as opposed to what students learn, ODU participants also asked, "Do students acquire the ability to examine and eval- uate assumptions underlying culturally accepted fact and theory?" Because ODU students were insistent that the most defining experience for them as learners was related to finding and using their voice, a third question became part of ODU's assessment study: "Was your voice heard and respected in the classroom?" In examining how a sense of community, or what ODU called "we-ness," affected students' personal growth, they investigated whether women's studies affected friendship pattems in and out of class. Adding a fifth category to the grant's original four about knowledge base, critical skills, pedagogy, and personal growth, ODU asked a question that reminded us that faculty members were learners, too. They asked, "How did women's studies affect the teaching and scholarly lives of women faculty members associated with the program?" Unlike program participants at the coeducational institutions, those at Wellesley College wanted to ask what makes women's studies at a women's liberal arts college different. To answer that question as they compared women's studies and non-women's studies courses throughout their study, they focused on three questions. The first involved students' growth: "Did the courses change or affect students' personal lives, their intellectual lives, and their political beliefs?" Their second question was pedagogical and went directly to the most frequently repeated accusation by those unsympathetic with women's studies: "Did students feel pressure to give politically correct answers and identify only with feminist ideas? If so, where was the pressure coming from?" Finally, their third question, which led to some fascinating insights about the debate generated by women's studies courses: "Was the pedagogy different? If so, how?" Reflecting both the political commitment of its women's studies program and the richly diverse student population, project leaders at Hunter College wanted to know if the women's studies program fostered an awareness of multiculturalism and, if so, where one might begin to learn how to do that. What appears at first glance to be a relatively simple second question-- "Does women's studies foster critical thinking?"--became more complex as Hunter's project participants suggested that to think critically students first needed to have confidence and a sense of self through which to voice their critical judgments. Echoing a concern of project participants at Old Dominion about connected learning, Hunter's participants' third question was, "Do students learn how to integrate knowledge they acquire in women's studies ?" Project representatives at Oberlin College wanted to explore whether students in their program were gaining a sense of the multiplicity of women's lives understood to be complicated by such markers as class, race, and sexuality. They explored that question by asking, "Does student learning entail self-empowerment?" This allowed them to take a closer look at the process through which students came to an understanding of the history of their own group by understanding the histories of other groups. Empowerment of the individual was defined in Oberlin's women's studies program goals, as it was in the other six programs, as inseparable from a sense of social responsibility to others. Their second question was pedagogical: "To what extent does collaborative learning occur, and how effective is it?" Threading the notion of difference throughout their three questions, the Oberlin participants wanted to gain more information about how collaborative learning becomes a vehicle for helping students mediate differences as they work with diverse groups in their classes. Finally, the Oberlin participants asked students directly whether specific women's studies courses "fostered a relational understanding of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality." Sharing similar concerns about personal transformations, pedagogy, and difference, participants from the University of Missouri-Columbia wanted to find out what kinds of personal transformations occur in students who take women's studies courses. Because a commitment to teaching united women's studies faculty members in their program, the Missouri survey also asked, "Do students think women's studies courses are taught differently than other courses and if so, how?" Their third question echoed those of Hunter and Oberlin Colleges: "Do students in women's studies gain a new understanding about the connection between gender, race, class, and sexual preference?" While there was, then, no externally imposed uniformity in the questions each campus examined, these seven sites do speak back and forth to one another when their case studies are read as a group. The concluding chapter of The Courage to Question draws together some of the cumulative findings from the seven discrete reports and reflects upon the configurations and potential national implications that emerge when the seven are seen in relation to one another. INSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES TO PARTICIPATING IN THE PROJECT Although ten institutions originally had been invited to participate, by the third year there were seven programs remaining with the project. After the initial grant workshop in October 1990, the University of Wisconsin withdrew because the project participants felt the commitment of time and staff outweighed other pressing priorities. There also had been a change in personnel within their program. While a team from Bennett College participated in part of the October workshop, team members were unable to attend the winter workshop or complete any of the initial descriptions of women's studies program goals. By the end of the academic year, both project representatives had left Bennett and no one was designated to replace them. The team from the University of California-Los Angeles had been active throughout the first year and completed the description of program goals and established questions to pose for the second year's research. Just before the second year began, however, the program's research assistant, who had taken responsibility for producing documents for the FIPSE project, left the university; UCLA consequently withdrew from the project. While the three programs had institutionally specific reasons guiding their choices, their reasons for withdrawing reveal something about the challenges of administering women's studies programs nationally. The institutional culture at larger research universities does not tend to value assessment research as highly as other kinds of academic research projects. Such institutions also give fewer rewards for the kind of curricular, programmatic, and attention to teaching so important to women's studies programs and so central to this specific FIPSE grant. Although research universities often have access to graduate student research assistants to help in such instances, those students usually are attached to a project for only a year at a time. By contrast, for smaller institutions like Bennett, the loss of one or two key women's studies faculty members can have a significant impact on a program. The kind of institutional support for the participating programs varied almost as widely as it does among women's studies programs nationally. Some received internal grants for faculty development workshops, others had research assistants at the graduate or undergraduate level attached to the project, and still others were allocated some institutional money for photocopying, typing, and postage; none were given release time, and some programs stayed with the grant by virtue of their own energy, commitment, and overtime investment, again reflecting the national profile of many women's studies programs. Not enough time, not enough staff, and not enough money were persistent comments from most program participants. While they were excited about the project, they wondered how they were going to fit it in with their other women's studies responsibilities. Students at the Center explores in more detail how we sought to resolve some of these dilemmas. With long experience administering programs without sufficient support, the women's studies faculty members and administrators in the project drew on that history to create assessment instruments that were embedded in what they already do; weave data analysis into student research projects; create methods that could also have a life beyond the grant such as alumnae/a questionnaires and interviews; and make use of the project to further women's studies programmatic goals. Still, their commitment to the project meant some people spent midwinter vacations writing drafts of their reports or summers analyzing data rather than finishing a book or an article. It is just that sort of dedication that is most responsible for the creation, stability, and growth of women's studies programs nationally, but it is just that sort of overload that threatens to exhaust faculty members unnecessarily and impose constraints on the institutional impact of the program. To create an academic program dependent on such volunteer efforts by its faculty members is like creating a hospital emergency room staffed with doctors and nurses who already have spent a full day on the ward and in the operating room. It is imperative that institutions find ways to support women's studies programs, invest in improving teaching and curriculum, and value the kind of research that helps all of us understand how students learn. 14 One Hunter College student explained, "[women's studies courses] open with questions... that's really the biggest difference... you question all the time, all the time" These institutional tensions are not unique to women's studies, but they characterize the experience of most women's studies faculty. To solve the problems of understaffing and underfunding in the 1990s--when most institutions will have to do the same or more with fewer resources--will be a challenge indeed. Institutions need to be sure that in making the difficult choices about allocating scarcer resources that those groups who historically have not been invited to the table will not find themselves disproportionately scrambling against each other for the leftovers. It is a decade in which we will have to rely on the imagination and energy of the entire academic community and place student learning at the center of our common commitments. Women's studies has much to contribute to this discussion, as The Courage to Question testifies. We expect our research to be a watershed for women's studies and dispel many misconceptions now circulating in the highly politicized attack on educational reform movements, especially those that call for diversity and multiculturalism in the curriculum. While critics of women's studies characterize the field as imposing a rigid, monolithic ideology on its students, the research in our three-year study presents a dramatically different picture. Capturing the complexity of student learning, one Wellesley student describes women's studies as generating "learning that does more than fill your brain. It fills your body, it fills your heart, [and] it makes you grow." According to our research, instead of reducing intellectual and political options, women's studies expands them. In differentiating between women's studies and non-women's studies courses, one Hunter College student explained, women's studies courses "open with questions...that's really the biggest difference...you question all the time, all the time." In that spirit of questioning, we offer some of what we discovered about student learning through our FIPSE project. We hope it begins a fruitful dialogue between a broad community of educators and students committed to generatmg both the yearning and the courage to question. 1. For an overview of the more general hostility to women and the women's movement, see Susan Faludi's Backlash (New York: Crown Puhlishers, 1991), especially chapter 11, "The Backlash Brain Trust From Necons to Neofems." For examples of specific attacks on women's studies, see reports of the National Association of scholars' (NAS) 1988 conference as reported in the New York Times, November 15, 1988, A22, and in The Nation, December 12, 1988, 644; see also a full page ad from the NAS in The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 8. 1989. A23, or an article on pages 8-10 in the July 20, 1990, issue of Washingron, D.C.'s City Paper, on the Accuracy in Academia conference. Most recently, these efforts to discredit women's studies and other educational reform efforts have been collapsed into one catch-all and misleading phrase, "political correctness." 2. NWSA Directory of Women's Studies Programs, Women's Centers, and Women's Research Centers (College Park, Md.: NWSA, 1990), ii. Subsequent statistics on the number of majors and minors as well as the graduate programs in women's studies are taken from pages ii-iii in that same volume. 3. See the report and recommendations about the women's studies major in Reports From the Fields (Washington, D.C. Association of American Colleges, 1990), 207-24. 4. Our language was inspired by Jill Mattuck Tarule, a member of the National Assessment Team and one of the authors of Women's Ways of Knowing (New York: Basic Books, 1986). In Women's Ways, they refer to "passionate knowing" as "a way of weaving. . .passions and intellectual life into some recognizable whole" (p. 141 ).