This file was prepared for electronic distribution by the inforM staff. Questions or comments should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. CHAPTER 8 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-COLUMBIA FOR WOMEN'S SAKE BY MARY JO NEITZ WITH MICHELLE GADBOIS -1 The University of Missouri-Columbia investigates three areas: personal transformation, pedagogy, and difference. The three principal questions of their assessment plan are: What kinds of personal transformations occur in students who take women's studies courses? Do students think women's studies courses are taught differently than other courses? And, do students in women's studies gain a new understanding about the connections among gender, race, class, and sexual preference? The University of Missouri was established in Columbia in 1839 as the first public university in the Louisiana Purchase territory. In 1870, the university was approved as a land-grant university under the Morrill Act of 1862. It is the largest of the four campuses in the University of Missouri system, with a residential campus and statewide extension program. The University of Missouri-Columbia is located in the middle of the state, halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City. More than 85 percent of the undergraduates are Missouri residents. The majority of out-of-state students come from adjacent Illinois and Kansas. Each year, about 25 percent of the undergraduates are new students, freshmen, or transfers. The student body numbers twenty- three thousand and includes seventeen thousand undergraduates. Data gathered in the Missouri Undergraduate Panel Study (MUPS) provides information about the student body and an important context for interpreting the responses of the women's studies graduates to our questionnaire. The MUPS study drew a representative sample constituting 30 percent of the students entering as freshmen in 1982 and 1985. The students are overwhelmingly white and midwestern: In 1982, 92 percent identified them- selves as white/Caucasian, 5 percent as black, and one percent as Asian American. Less than 10 percent of the 1985 sample came from a distance of more than five hundred miles. In the 1985 sample, about 20 percent of the fresh- men had pledged a sorority or fraternity, and a quarter of the first-year students had full- or part-time employment (this percentage increases to more than half for juniors and seniors). When asked about their political views, 57 percent of the students identified themselves as "middle of the road." Twenty- one percent identified themselves as conservatives compared to 15 percent liberals, and 1 percent identified themselves as being on either the "far left" or the "far right." For such students, women's studies is a challenge. As one women's studies graduate said: I had never been so challenged. I have never worked so hard on anything in my life. Women's studies was an opening to myself. For the male-identified part of myself, this was the greatest challenge of my life. I am so pleased because women's studies provided me with the strength to never settle for anything that deprives me of all that I am worth. Each of our graduates said that they would encourage other students to become involved in the Women's Studies Program, but one cautioned: "I'd tell them to do it. [But] it is not easy, and if you are not ready to deal [with issues], don't do it." THE WOMEN'S STUDIES PROGRAM The initial impetus for women's studies at UMC came from students. In 1969-70, the Academics Committee of the Association for Women Students contacted faculty members from a variety of departments requesting an interdisciplinary course on women. That course was taught in 1971. Six years later, the university appointed a woman who was a graduate student in English to be the half-time coordinator. In 1980, women's studies achieved formal program status, and in 1981, the first student graduated with a women's studies degree. After a national search that same year, the first full-time director with teaching responsibilities in women's studies was hired. With the full-time director, the program moved from the "cafeteria" approach of its early years to a more coherent program informed by feminist theory. The Women's Studies Committee developed a set of interdisciplinary core courses taught through women's studies and also established stringent cross-listing procedures that distinguished between women's studies courses (guided by feminist principles) and women-related courses (with significant content centered on women and gender). The attempt to build an integrated curriculum occurred in the face of opposition to feminism and disbelief in women's studies as a scholarly endeavor. -2 In 1983, a course on the connections among gender, race, and class, which became central to the program, was added to the core curriculum and taught by the director. In 1988, when authorized to recruit a full-time faculty member in women's studies, the program hired a woman of color with expertise in this area to teach the course and develop other offerings on race and gender. Currently the program offers twenty-six courses taught by nineteen affiliated faculty members. Although faculty concentration is highest in arts and sciences, cross-listed courses also are located in nursing, education, and journalism. In part because of this intercollege teaching program, women's studies has been located fiscally in the provost's office rather than in any one col- lege of the university. More than eight hundred students take women's studies courses each year. The number of majors, however, always has been small, ranging from one or two to ten graduating in a year. The majors pursue a dual degree combining women's studies with another discipline of their choice. At a university where most students consider themselves "middle of the road" politically, and only 15 percent see themselves as "liberal" (and 1 percent as radical), becoming a women's studies major is a deviant act. Yet because of their small numbers, the majors form a group supportive of each other within this relatively hostile environment. They also work closely with the office staff and faculty members, and most have served on the Women's Studies Committee. These majors are a central focus of our assessment. DESIGNING AN ASSESSMENT PLAN In the first year of the FIPSE project, each program was asked to produce a statement of the goals of the program and to think about ways of assessing whether or not our goals for student learning were being met. This task proved to be difficult for us for a number of reasons. In the first place, faculty members had negative feelings about assessment. Our governor had been involved early in the push for state-mandated assessment and, unfortunately, brought that to Missouri in a way that pitted state-funded institutions of higher education against one another. The governor's model--one that has been endorsed by the board of curators--is a rigid, quantitative, "value-added" approach. At this institution, then, assessment was politicized in such a way that many faculty members saw assessment primarily as a weapon to be used against them. Second, the project came during a transitional period within the program: We were discovering that goals and processes clearly articulated in the early 1980s no longer had consensus backing from members of the committee. The second half of the 1980s had been a period of consolidation and institutionalization for the program. Departments began hiring faculty members with expertise in women's studies, greatly expanding the course offerings as well as participation in the program. Yet these women had not been involved in the development of the program and did not necessarily share the perspectives of those who had. This became more apparent when the director, who had provided much of the vision for the program throughout the 1980s, took a leave of absence in 1988-89 and resigned from the program the following year. Finally, even without the particularities of our institutional context, there are inherent difficulties in the process of formulating goals. The instrumental approach to assessment often fostered by institutional exigencies was rejected: No one wanted to repeat the "assessment process," wherein departments had tried to figure out what kind of information the administration wanted from them, and the most efficient way to get it, in order to place the department in the most favorable light. Yet consensus processing requires shared interests and a long time frame; it was not clear that we had either. -3 What we did have was a real passion for teaching and a long-term commitment to exploring feminist pedagogy. -4 Pedagogy became, then, the basis for two faculty development workshops held in the fall of 1990 and 1991, which ultimately gave focus to our campus assessment design. In the fall of 1989, we also held a series of potluck dinners attended by faculty, staff, and student members of the Women's Studies Committee, to discuss key concerns we had about student learning. We reviewed some of our documents, including our mission statement and our cross-listing guidelines, and began to formulate program goals. Our discussions ultimately led us to how we could do the following: * support our students as ambassadors of feminism * continue to address the campus wide problems of sexism, racism, and other injustices * create with our students a setting in which all voices may be heard * create a safe place for personal growth and for nurturing relationships * create discomfort and introduce risk by shaking core unexamined assumptions * transform the self and challenge ideologies as a critical function, encouraging personal and intellectual transformation and moving from understanding one's own personal experiences to understanding others' * maintain self-consciousness about methods, including the ways in which research strategies presume certain kinds of gender arrangements * place our studies at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexual preference, and other categories of analysis, fostering the understanding that truth is partial * incorporate multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary perspectives in the course * realize the possibility of the course as a laboratory, open to risk for students and instructors alike * facilitate the development of self-esteem through the successful engagement of difficult tasks * increase the pool of literature known in our subject areas. We did not translate these concerns directly into a set of "assessment questions" formulated in terms of "how can we measure to what extent are we doing these things," yet they informed faculty discussions, classroom assessment, and the questionnaire we eventually administered to graduates. Rather than developing an assessment plan that would be imposed on the faculty members teaching in the program, we worked toward a model of assessment grounded in the activities faculty members already were carrying out in their classes. We talked in terms of "faculty development" instead of "assessment," believing that a good assessment project would, in fact, contribute to better teaching. Since many women's studies faculty members used Journals, peer review, and papers as assignments in their classes, the first faculty development workshop examined how such assignments already embedded in courses could become a rich source of systematic feedback about what students learn. Pat Hutchings, from the FIPSE Project National Assessment Team, led the workshop session on portfolio assessment. As a result of the workshop, five faculty members undertook projects in their women's studies classes during 199-91. For our second faculty development workshops the following year, we invited another member of the National Assessment Team, Jill Mattuck Tarule, one of the authors of Women's Ways of Knowing. She focused our attention on students as knowers. Combining the insights and methodologies learned in the two faculty development workshops with a preliminary analysis of the student responses to the questionnaires, we began to formulate an assessment design for our campus. Ultimately we investigated three areas personal transformation, pedagogy, and difference. Undergirding our assessment plan were three principal questions: * What kinds of personal transformations occur in students who take women's studies courses? * Do students think women's studies courses are taught differently than other courses and, if so, how? * Do students in women's studies gain a new understanding about the connections among gender, race, class, and sexual preference? In the process of working with outside assessment experts, we realized that we had a number of data sources about our students that we had never used fully. For example, our student evaluation forms, used in all women studies courses, provide a wealth of information about women's studies students, including demographic information as well as responses to courses and teaching. We envisioned using this data to provide a demographic profile of our students over the last ten years. The course evaluation form in use from 1983-1992 also asked extensive questions about classroom atmosphere. We hoped to analyze that data quantitatively, separating out responses of relevant subgroups of students, such as women studies majors from non-majors. Unfortunately, time constraints prevented us from carrying out this part of the assessment project. We were able, however, to compile limited demographic information about our students. In the ten-year period from 1981 to 1990, thirty students graduated with degrees in women's studies. Of these, six (or 20 percent) were African American. We also looked at those students who had taken three or more women's studies classes over the last five years.S Of these additional eighty-nine students, 13 percent were African American, with another 3 percent Hispanic. In a university where only 5 percent of the entering fresh- man class in 1985 were African American, the disproportionately higher percentage of minority students in women's studies is striking. We also mailed an open-ended questionnaire to all of the women's studies majors who had graduated as well as to current majors and minors. The original questionnaire was based upon one that Wellesley College's Women's Studies Program developed. -6 Fifty-four questionnaires were mailed out to women who had graduated between 1981 and 1990 and to current majors and minors. Eighteen responses were returned. Although small in number, the responses offer notable interpretations of the experience of the Women's Studies Program from a core group of students over the first decade of the program's existence. STUDENT LEARNING IN WOMEN'S STUDIES Looking at the experiences of graduates gives two kinds of information not easily available in other ways. First, it is a way of evaluating the program, as opposed to individual classes. Second, it is one way to begin to assess education in women's studies over a longer time frame than a single semester. In the responses--from people who chose both to major in women's studies and to answer our questionnaire--students describe women's studies as unique. Yet it is hard to isolate what it is that makes it unique. Nonetheless, the sense of connected learning and personal transformation surfaces repeatedly in these women's accounts, as do references to women's studies pedagogy and course content. PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION Through the UMC women's studies experience, women students discovered self-empowerment and became more critical about how they think and evaluate the world. This critical mindfulness accompanied the women in many aspects of their lives. They developed new goals for learning and redefined what is intellectual as well as what is political. Most wrote about coming to understand the social construction of society. All students--from their very diverse backgrounds--wrote that they felt validated and transformed. Women's studies seems to have been particularly important for women who had a minority status--women of color and lesbians, for example. The women report that they became angry but also that they learned to articulate their anger. They came to see themselves as knowers, and they came to value the support of other women. The change that accompanied this self-empowerment ranges from women reporting that they would no longer tolerate racist and sexist jokes to a reevaluation of the definition of self, knowledge, and politics. A typical comment was the following: "I watch TV, read magazines, look at advertisements, and assess movies differently than I did before taking women's studies courses. I am more aware of messages about women. I am certainly more critical than I used to be." For some majors, recognition and acceptance of their lesbianism was a very large part of the validation and self-discovery found in women's studies. The women's studies environment often was the only place on campus where lesbians felt safe. Accompanying this sense of safety came empowerment as a woman and as a lesbian. One woman wrote, "I connected to my woman-self, black-self, and lesbian-self from taking women's studies courses." Those who spoke of their lesbianism told how the women's studies experience taught them to question the "givens" and to trust their own perceptions of the lives they had chosen for themselves. "One teacher showed me there was some place to go -- that you could be smart, older, a dyke, and have a place in the world." Two-thirds of the majors felt a great amount of anger as they became aware of systemic oppressions. Some learned to articulate this newly acquired anger and use it productively. One student explained how her anger gave her what she called "double vision." This "double vision" provided her with a multiplicity of ideas as opposed to one single patriarchal definition. For other students, their anger made them feel an urgency about changing the world. Still others were shocked to confront the kind of resistance to equality they encountered as they attended their other classes, interacted with friends and family, and saw society through new eyes. All reported that they were more likely to notice sexism in courses, texts, and in popular culture, but they also reported they were better able to verbalize their disapproval and anger. In addition to discovering how to transform anger into insights and action' women students spoke of new goals for learning. The following was a typical comment: "Most positively, I learned to think and appreciate education for learning's sake." Learning became more than students wanting to receive good grades. Some students reported with satisfaction that they carried these changed expectations into their other classes. Some, however, expressed frustration as their changed selves encountered the status quo in other disciplines. One-fourth of the students reported discovering a new sense of community with other women. One wrote: "I have put much more energy into the women in my life...." Another said, "I value my time more with my female friends." Maintaining friendships with women who share a feminist perspective was important to almost every major. "I now don't believe I am the only one fighting these battles," said one student, echoing another who said that women's studies gave her a sense of not being alone. Women's studies courses radicalized what students perceived as intellectual beliefs and radicalized how they defined what is political to them. Their definitions of politics changed. Prior to taking women's studies, one woman described herself as young and fairly a political. Through women's studies she came to a different definition: "All is political, i.e., a reflection of social power relationships, open to political analysis, and changeable by political/collective action." Another stated, "I stopped being a Democrat because that is what my folks were. I learned the difference between voting a ticket because people had a party affiliation and voting for ideas you cared for deeply." Another proclaimed, "Everything I do as a woman in a patriarchal world challenges the dominant culture. This kind of life is political. The courage to speak out in political ways comes and goes; however, the notion to deeply question... would not exist if it had not been for my women's studies courses." The students also attributed changes in their conceptualizations of feminism to women's studies courses. They learned that feminism includes many different kinds of feminisms. When addressing these diverse feminisms, students reported that the wide variety of views were liberating to them. The kind of expansion of views reported by the following woman was common: I guess before I encountered women's studies I thought "feminism" was a small movement for "women's rights . " Once I went through the door into women's studies, I realized "feminism" is shorthand for a transformative, broad, varied upheaval of female thought, activity, and power across the planet. Quite a change. Another reported, "I have realized that feminism means a concern not only with issues relevant to white, middle-class, hetero-women but also with issues of race, class, nationality, physical condition, and sexual preference." These students perceived that women's studies transformed their lives. They attributed the transformation to differences in how the courses were taught and what the course content was. Graduates' responses to both of these demonstrate the extent to which women's studies is indeed a risk-taking endeavor that generates questions rather than proclamations. PEDAGOGY We asked students if they felt that women's studies classes were taught in an alterative pedagogical style and, if so, to describe one course as an example. For many students, sitting in a circle symbolized the difference. One of the first graduates of the program said that most of her women's studies courses offered an alternative teaching style: For instance, in a "Women and Science Fiction" class-first off we would sit in a circle (vs. the teacher at the front and students behind) we read science fiction by women authors and discussed it not only for "literary" value but the questions it raised (or failed to raise) about our lives. At the end of the class we were asked to come up with essay questions for our own exam--an exercise that honored our ability to spark thoughtful inquiry. Another summarized the differences by saying, "The basic sense of sitting in a circle and including individual women's personal experiences as part of any theoretical discussions [typified] my women's studies experience." The higher level the course, the more students felt comfortable sitting in these circles sharing their personal experiences. In the seminar atmosphere, students felt more at ease learning through exchanging experiences with classmates. Each student said that the involvement of personal experience in classroom discussion was a part of their women's studies encounter. "There is always a place for those who feel at ease to discuss their experience. The instructors used journals, personal writings, and diaries to facilitate the process. That's the difference women's studies makes." For this student and for half of the respondents, sharing their personal experiences was comfortable, and their women's studies classes were the only places on campus where they felt able to do so. A few, however, felt discomfort sharing their experiences. One student said that any situation ruled by academia cannot always be safe for students. Although another woman explained she generally profited from sharing experiences, she also said she sometimes felt pressured to share when she did not want to. Self-disclosure also was referred to in some of the responses as "show- and-tell" sessions, perhaps implicitly referring both to pressures to perform and risks of public disclosure. One student offered the following reflections: People started telling stories and trusting that it was the right kind of atmosphere to do this. I thought it was good to finally hear people talking about their experiences and sharing their ideas about them, but I believe that some of the topics that were assigned were treated too flippantly by the students...because it was obvious that most students took it very seriously and what they revealed was very incarnate and private, but the way people reacted was more like gawking than understanding. Discussion, rather than lectures, was the main vehicle for learning in women's studies classes. Sometimes the topics were particularly conflictual. One graduate said, "Students got into it about correct classroom participation versus the freedom to say what you wanted and how you wanted." One student remembered times when no one in the room knew how to stop one student from silencing another. Although the instructors were reported as trying to prevent this kind of behavior, they were not always able to do so. Even though the discussions sometimes appeared to be intense debates one woman explained: ...it didn't really feel conflictual, but more like we were trying to figure out the truth together. I think that trying to figure out the connections among gender, race, and class was difficult in all my women's studies courses. The presence of conflict in the classroom generated a wide spectrum of responses from students. One woman wrote, "It sometimes seemed to be the pretense that there were no conflicts when they clearly were [there]." By contrast, another was distressed by the lack of debate in the classroom: "In order to get to the center of what is going on we need to learn to feel that conflict is okay when communicating with one another." When asked explicitly if the instructor encouraged different points of view, every respondent answered "yes." According to students, instructors themselves often brought up different points of view, which encouraged students to model the professor's behavior. Over half said that different political and theoretical points of view within feminism were introduced, which proved beneficial in subsequent classes. Beginning with the introductory course, "Feminism: The Basic Questions," students reported that they were introduced to traditional thought as well as to liberal, socialist, radical, cultural, global, and womanist theories within feminism. One student remarked, "I think women's studies was an excellent introduction to the broad spectrum of thought because it taught me to look for the underlying assumptions of writers on various issues, and I learned how one's conclusions on issues or social problems are shaped by the vehicles used to arrive at them. This has been invaluable." Another said that women's studies provided a place for her political perspectives whereas political science, her major, did not. Women's studies professors also encouraged an exploration of different points of view in part through the great diversity of the assigned readings. There was, according to students, such a spectrum of experiences, values, and perspectives that students gained a new appreciation of the difference in each women's individual experience. One said, "We heard voices from other 190 students and read books that were non-patriarchal that helped encourage us to think about issues from other points of view." Many of the students even responded in the questionnaire with quotations from a women's studies text that had changed their perspective on difference, such as Paule Marshall's Praisesong for the Widow, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, or Audre Lorde's Sister/Outsider. Respondents reported that women's studies teachers honored difference as long as a student's comment did not degrade other people. While tolerance for difference was high in the women's studies classroom, at the same time students claimed that instructors pointed out weaknesses in opposing points of view. One student said, "If one argued for pinko commie liberalism, it was as valid as conservatism if the arguments were valid." Another described what she labeled as a radical approach: "One instructor definitely wanted to hear from everyone. She genuinely found all of her students interesting, rather than getting something out of imparting secret knowledge to the masses." That same student also thought it was radical at UMC to construct a course in which women were the subjects of the course, not merely tacked onto the class, as if women's exclusion from textbooks were the only sexism. If the instructor chose to teach from what students defined as a radical feminist perspective, she also was said to introduce more notions of difference into the classroom. According to a student taking "Women, Race, and Class," breaking down difference begins with the kind of individual storytelling that typically takes place in women's studies courses. At such a juncture, a distinctive women's studies pedagogy overlaps with its distinctive content. EXPLORING DIFFERENCE: RACE, CLASS, AND SEXUAL PREFERENCE For the past decade, feminist theorizing has been informed by an emphasis on difference. Our program has sought to move the connections among gender, race, class and sexual preference to the center of the curriculum. When asked about their learning in this area, not surprisingly, all the students wrote about the course "Women, Race, and Class." One student remembers it as very distinctive: The first few weeks were used to introduce students to the "basics" of a women's studies course...such as patriarchy, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, physicalism, ageism, and feminism. The class met twice a week. The first meeting was a lecture by one of the two instructors. I enjoyed the balance between the instructors. One was a woman of color and the other was a white woman. The second was a meeting of five or six students and a former student of the course (the group facilitator)...this is where we discussed the course material. Another said, "The experience in 'Women, Race, and Class' was more intense because the [small discussion] groups met every week. We answered questions about our reading material and confronted one another on our feeling of race and class." There were varied responses when students were asked if race, class, and sexual preference were talked about in their women's studies courses. All but one student said that race was addressed more than any other subject. One student said, "We spoke about it almost every day in class." Others reported that race was in all women's studies course material. "We read many different perspectives from Afro-American, Hispanic, North American, lower-class women, upper-class women, etc." Another confided, " 'Women, Race, and Class' was the greatest attempt by any instructor(s) to pull theory into experience. Those two women [co-teachers] will be in my heart forever." Many courses include race, class, and sexual preference as they fit into the discipline being taught. "Racism was addressed more in some classes than others. This did not necessarily reflect some bias on the teacher's part. For instance, race was not a topic in 'French Women Writers' but was the central topic in 'Black Women: Catalysts for Change'." One student said, "In 'Chinese Women's History,' race was the main topic. We focused on trying to learn from their perspective rather than our own. Race was a minor issue, but an issue in other classes." It is possible that part of what the students sense is a difference between talking about race and talking about racism. In this area, we also find some criticism of what students refer to as "liberal instructors" who are not "really dealing with issues of race." In the way that many of the students used the phrase, "really dealing with an issue" means connecting it to one's own experience as oppressed and oppressor. By this standard, an instructor who incorporated descriptions of experiences of people of different races might still be accused of "not dealing with race." The issues of how learning occurs are thus intertwined with the issues of what is learned. A surprising finding was that the students felt that race was an easier topic to address than class. This is not to say that race was easy, but race is clearly defined in American culture (perhaps too clearly, given that race often is conceptualized in terms of two opposing groups--blacks and whites), whereas class is conceptually muddled. One student wrote the following reflections: Everyone could handle race rather than the question of class. Black, white, or otherwise, not too many people wanted to question the reasons why they were at the university. For all, the university is a ladder upward or at least a barrier away from what is perceived to be a part of what is the lower class. My realization of this grew after reading Praisesong for the Widow written by Paule Marshall. The main character was a black woman who had lost part of her being as she involved herself in what Tracy Chapman calls "black upward mobility. " The students reported that many of their courses examined various issues involving the impact of class on women's lives. Some instructors addressed the subject by listing class in their syllabi and the impact of "labor" and "women and work." Other courses addressed classism and how it intersects with other oppressions. Despite such efforts, students reported that class was not addressed as frequently as race. One woman summed up her remarks by saying, "class got short shrift. One classmate of mine with a very blue-collar background thought it was because at college, it's too scary to question the class structure because everyone's striving to move upward. It would threaten our reasons for being there, particularly for black women." Just as a gap was reported in the coverage of race and class, students believed that while sexual preference was included it was discussed even less than class issues. Most students remembered the extent to which it was discussed and what happened in the classroom as a result: '85 it was scary and cutting-edge: touched on in larger classes, some- times to the disgust of some students, a larger issue in smaller classes where students trusted each other more. Sexual identity and desire, I remember, were difficult to theorize about then. Some effort [was made] in French Feminisms class--but [it was] bewildering. Students reported that lack of attention to sexual preference was sometimes a result of the instructor's reluctance and sometimes to the students' inability to accept the diversity of sexual preferences that existed among the women in the classroom. Several students noted that often, in history and English classes, "sexual preference was tacked on like most women's studies courses are tacked on to mainstream courses." The women's studies students who responded to our questionnaire wanted the program to provide an arena in which students of all colors and cultural backgrounds could understand issues that were not raised or discussed in depth in non-women's studies courses. It also was important to them that women's studies provide an appreciation of each level of a woman's life, culture, and tradition. Several mentioned that women's studies should provide a place of "safety" for students who do not feel accepted in other departments at the university. As we think about the students' remarks, it is critical to remember that all of these women are, in fact, double majors. By majoring in women's studies they do not avoid whatever is offered/required by other departments. Despite the fact that one of our program goals is "to support students as ambassadors of feminism," in reading student responses one is struck by how difficult that task is and the degree to which they find the university to be a hostile place. CONCLUSIONS Engagement in this project reflects and enhances an ongoing concern with pedagogy in our program. The interviews and development workshops with faculty members demonstrate this commitment in many ways. The responses of the majors show the fruits of efforts to promote collaborative learning in women's studies. Yet these varied pieces of the assessment project also raise some issues for the program. It is clear there is no single way of teaching a women's studies class and that different students respond differently to various classroom situations. It also seems clear that, in the words of one participant in our faculty workshop, "We do not learn about justice in the same way that we learn about the capitals of the states." Students and faculty members in the program need to continue to experiment with how to create optimal learning environments. Yet the data also show some important differences in the experiences of the graduates of the program and the faculty members who teach in the program. One way to frame it is in terms of a contrast between interdisciplinary women's studies and multidisciplinary women's studies. The data from the majors and graduates reveal that the program for them consists of the interdisciplinary core courses. The data from faculty members reveal a model that is closer to that of a multidisciplinary women studies program. Faculty goal statements suggest they are most concerned about doing feminist work in their own disciplines. In the student questionnaires, by contrast, the majors and graduates overwhelmingly defined women's studies as the three interdisciplinary core courses. They described these courses as "feminist" and "radical." They also associated a distinctive pedagogy--more discussion and more collaborative learning--where they learned that they had voices and felt validated. According to students, the core courses integrated life experience with theory and made the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexual preference a central concern. Instructors in the cross-listed courses (which go through an extensive course approval process and are taught from a "feminist perspective") are as likely to be concerned about "feminist theory" as they are about "feminism." The teachers' goal statements include a more central emphasis on teaching/learning discipline-based knowledge. Many of these faculty members are doing women's studies within their disciplines. The faculty members teaching cross-listed courses see themselves as modifying their teaching styles to incorporate feminist pedagogy. A number of them said that teaching women's studies classes allows them to take risks, but these cross-listed courses are not identified by the majors as having the distinctive style that characterizes the core courses. This in part may be because some of the key factors are out of a teacher's control. Instructors in cross-listed courses complain of the difficulty teaching when the women's studies students may not be grounded in the discipline, and the students from the discipline are not grounded in feminism.7 They also may have little control over the size of the class; the majors noted that the cross-listed classes were often too large for the instructor to do much more than lecture. It is possible, of course, that what we are seeing are the positive evaluations of particular instructors who happened to teach the core courses. We were not very successful in executing the quantitative part of our project, and we want to note here the sheer difficulty we had getting information from "already existing sources." Quantitative data, such as the kind the registrar has about all students, would have been very useful, but we found it virtually inaccessible. Assessment projects like this one, which try to make use of data already on hand, might do well to think about their own record keeping. We found, for example, that we did not have addresses for our graduates or even class lists for the students who took cross-listed courses under the departmental numbers. There was a real sense that we did not know who our students were. We also underestimated the difficulty of analyzing data that could be obtained. Both qualitative and quantitative data is time-consuming to analyze. When we tried to hire a graduate assistant, we found that the ones with methodological skills already had research associateships (or did not know anything about women's studies), and the ones with a background in women studies had no methodologies training. After the second faculty development workshop, the women's studies faculty members decided that they would like to begin a regularly scheduled faculty discussion group about pedagogy. One issue we plan to work on is greater inclusion of issues of race, class, and sexual preference across our curriculum. Another issue is the place of disclosure--for faculty members as well as students--in the women's studies classroom. The differences that the majors describe between the core courses and the cross-listed courses also raise a question about the perceptions of those who are not majors. We know now that we have a significant body of students who take three or more courses but do not end up majoring in women's studies. We do not know--although we could find out--whether they are any more likely to take cross-listed courses rather than core courses. Neither do we know why they are not becoming majors. The women's studies committee also was struck by the way students had validation through a "mirroring process" in women's studies. It underscores for us the importance of having diversity reflected in the program faculty. In the fall of 1991 we created a development fund for a speaker's series that will bring in one speaker each semester to bring us research and creative works in lesbian studies, named in honor of our former director who showed many students that they, too, "could find a place in the world." 1. We are grateful for the help of all the participants in the Women's Studies Program who took time out in one way or another to participate in the work of this project. Special thanks go to a number of them: In the first year of the project Carole Myscofski, as co-chair of the Women's Studies Committee, participated in planning the project and wrote the first statement of pro- gram goals. Elaine Lawless helped plan the faculty development workshop in September of 1990, and Kay Foley tracked down information about the institutional context. Barbara Bank contributed data from the Missouri University Panel Study. Magdalena Garcia-Pinto and )an Colberr read and commented on a draft of the report. We also appreciate the support of Jeff Chinn, Vice Provost for Instruction, who helped fund the Women's Studies Assessment Workshop and paid the salary of Graduate Assistant Michelle Gadbois. Michelle's analysis of the student questionnaire was the heart of this project. 2. For example, proposals for core courses were turned back by university curriculum committees for "more documentation" to prove that such courses were intellectually respectable. 3. See Jane Mansbridge, Beyond Adversary Democracy (Chicago University of Chicago Press, 1983), for an analysis of consensus decision making. 4. In the spring of 1990, as acting director I interviewed all the faculty members teaching in the program during that first year of the project. The collective passion for teaching is what kept me involved in this project. 5. For cross-listed courses we included students as having taken a women's studies course whether they registered through women's studies or through the faculty member's home department. This list was difficult to construct because women's studies only gets information on those students who register under the women's studies course number. 6. We did this with the intention of comparing responses with Wellesley, but Wellesley's project report analyzed a different questionnaire distributed to current students rather than to majors and graduates. 7. A few faculty members and students expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of cumulative structures throughout women's studies courses. The mix of students in all the courses meant that some time was always spent retracing basic grounding knowledge. One faculty member suggested that this problem might occur with regard to pedagogy as well as course content. In her classroom assessment project using journals in an upper-level course, she found that students who had not used them before engaged the task with enthusiasm, but others who had frequently kept journals in their women's studies courses responded in more perfunctory ways.