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The Department Teacher-Scholar Model (DTSM) is a working model for what the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies values in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. Please also see our department constitution for specific policies.


As a Women’s and Gender Studies Department, there are a number of disciplinary/field-related choices we make that have political impact separate from the clerical and institutional decisions we make on a regular basis. Far too often, choices that have direct implications for marginalized communities are reduced to individualized faculty preference, with little institutional support or even consensus among colleagues with similar ideological and political perspectives. These choices are pedagogical, linguistic, and grammatical ones with implications directly tied to our collective beliefs regarding social justice. All decisions regarding common political practice are agreed upon by the department; all department-specific policies are always subject to challenge and evolution when necessary. As a means to assert our beliefs in equity and access by employing practices and language that are liberatory and reflective of our political positions, we have decided as an entire department to embody the following practices: 

  • Proctorio: We collectively decline to utilize the Proctorio (or any other surveillance technology) exam administration software adopted by WCU. We have strong concerns that Proctorio infringes on student privacy and institutionalizes ableism, among myriad other concerns. We encourage individual faculty to utilize alternative forms of standardized testing, ones that can accommodate multiple test formats and student needs, but collectively decry testing and technological mechanisms that promote violations of privacy and marginalization. For more information on some of the widespread concerns regarding Proctorio, and in particular how these types of modern surveillance technologies "reinforce white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and transphobia," see this article by the MIT Technology Review .

  • Capitalizing “Black”: Racial justice and equity are critically important political and ideological positions of the Women’s and Gender Studies department. As such, in addition to collective vocal support of social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and the deep investments in racial justice in our classes for our students of color and faculty members of color, we believe that it is also our responsibility to promote racial justice through unity in our political choices with language. Despite the institutional bodies that utilize grammatical “rules” to promote the lower-casing of the word “Black,” when referring to various Black communities in the larger African diaspora, we choose to collectively capitalize the term as a statement of our socio-political position on the matter. For some context on the subject, the Columbia Journalism Review outlines some of the realities and arguments for making the concerted choice to capitalize the word. It is equally important to us that this be a department-wide practice.

  • Code of Ethics: As a department, we collectively agree with and choose to actively uphold the code of professional ethics, as outlined by the American Association of University Professors and the National Women’s Studies Association. Among these are the pursuit to improve scholarly competence, to foster honest and inclusive academic conduct for our students, to promote and support the work, opinions, and human rights of our colleagues, as well as the right to exercise our rights to free speech and political activism as private persons. ACADEMIC FREEDOM - imp from fac perspective - good deal of control over what goes on 

  • Citation Policy: Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field, but we believe in the institutional legitimation that accompanies being recognized as a “discipline.” A core element of many disciplines are organized efforts to create synchronicity in citation style. Despite this norm, we highly value and respect the diversity in citational practice that scholars within the discipline choose to exercise. We firmly believe that citation style is not the definitive measure of recognition as a “discipline,” and our contributions to multiple fields of inquiry within the Women’s and Gender Studies discipline is demonstrative of such belief. We are proud to house scholars that have a range of specializations from critical race studies, history, LGBTQ+ studies, sociology, and transnational feminisms, demonstrative of the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Given this reality, we recognize that each faculty member may have specific training or fondness for a particular citation style, so we as a department choose not to dictate a specific style to impose on our students. We only seek excellence and attention to ethical and thorough citation as a practice, thus believe strongly in each faculty member’s right to assign whichever citation style they choose, provided it remains consistent and that evaluations of student citation practice are consistent with their style of choice.

  • Not Calling Campus Police: As a department, we are committed to making our best effort not to involve campus police if and when issues arise in our classrooms, preferring other means of de-escalation, unless deemed absolutely necessary, to be determined by the individual faculty member in each classroom; i.e. if there is a direct and imminent threat to those in the classroom. If outside assistance is deemed necessary in an escalating situation, when possible, the WCU Stands collective will be contacted, so available faculty can arrive to assist in intervention. Police often use force in relatively minor situations, and in a country where the police have been empowered to use and rationalize away their use of violence against the very people they are charged with protecting, calling the police can have devastating and even lethal consequences for our most marginalized students. There are activists across institutions of higher ed working to get police off college campuses, and at the very least to use other means to de-escalate situations. This can be as straightforward as ending class for the day.


  • Guidelines for the Chair Selection ProcessCriteria: 

    • Article 6, Section B, p10-12 of the CBA:

    • Establish committee to guide the election process

    • Elections occur every 3 years

    • Notice of election and calls for nominations are published by the committee

    • Within two weeks following this date written statements of nomination and willingness to serve shall be filed with the Elections Committee. 

    • The Elections Committee shall prepare immediately a list of the Department’s designated nominee(s).

    • A ballot consisting of the officially designated nominee(s) shall be distributed to all regular faculty.

    • Elections shall be concluded no later than April 15

    • Newly elected department chairpersons shall take office one week following spring commencement in the year in which elected

    • Should vacancies occur during the term of office, a special election must be held under the terms described above with the newly elected chairperson serving until the next regularly scheduled round of departmental elections

    • Per the WGS constitution, in the event of a tie vote, the Elections Committee will break the tie through discussion until consensus is reached.

  • Chair Position Recall Guidelines

    • When a department chairperson is not properly performing their duties in, the President may remove the chairperson from office OR a majority of the regular faculty of a department may request that the President remove the department chairperson and the President may, in their sole discretion, take such action.

    • The request from the majority of regular faculty must be in writing, must be signed by those faculty making the request, and must contain a statement of the reasons for the request.

    • Where such action is taken by the President, a special election must be held under the terms described above with the newly elected chairperson serving until the next regularly scheduled round of departmental elections.

  • Transparency of the Ethical Responsibilities of the Chair

    • Officially: The department chairperson directs the activities of the department, subject to the approval of the Dean/Director. They are responsible to the Dean/Director for the development of department plans, guidelines and internal office operation; they direct the department's administrative organization and may delegate authority and assign responsibility as appropriate; and they represent the academic discipline both on and off campus either personally or by designation of department representatives. The department chairperson is also responsible for recommending to the Dean/Director such matters as personnel actions, curricular changes, course offerings, teaching assignments and the department budget.

    • Due diligence on issues with conflicts of interest

    • Making ethical decisions

    • Chair checks and balances and the criteria for decision making

    • Accountability/grievance structure


  • Guidelines for Adjunct Hire: Adjunct hire is dependent on department approval, and a majority vote may be conducted over email. Any potential adjuncts will need to provide a CV, detailing sufficient experience teaching coursework in the WGST discipline. A potential adjunct may be represented by a faculty member if they are suggested by said faculty member.

    • Pursuant to Article III.A.5.i of the WGST constitution: “The Chair shall ensure that all adjunct faculty hired are informed of course objectives/learning outcomes, and have sufficient knowledge of the expectations of the university, including grading, general education requirements, syllabus policies, etc.”

  • Voting rights: Pursuant to the WGST constitution, Article II.A: Regular faculty consist of tenured or tenure-track faculty members with designated departmental voting rights in WGST per the CBA. Any regular faculty member during any academic semester shall be a voting faculty member in the Department. Adjunct faculty are encouraged, but not required, to attend department meetings and other functions, and to exercise their voting privileges therein, excluding votes for candidate and department chairperson selection.

    • A Student Representative (elected by WGST majors and minors) shall be appointed as a non-voting member of WGST. The exception to this is their role on the curriculum committee, in which they will poll majors and minors on related curriculum issues, and will represent one vote on behalf of the majors/minors.

  • Continued teaching preference: While it is understood that “ideal” scheduling cannot be expected or guaranteed every semester for every faculty member, as a department, we are dedicated to teaching delegation practices that are fair, and address as many scheduling preferences as possible, given the constraints associated with scheduling. Specific preferred courses will always be rotated fairly based on faculty interest and areas of specialization (when applicable). Conversely, schedule blocking will be assessed without valuing one factor as more “desirable” or “valuable” over another. For example, T/TR vs M/W/F teaching and morning vs mid-day vs evening teaching are not the sole metrics for scheduling and should not simply be rotated under the umbrella of fairness. The WGST Chair will do their best to honor these preferences, deferring to simple rotations only when multiple faculty express interest in a similar schedule, in which case, those factors will be entered into a fair rotation.

    • Regarding schedule blocking, once a year, all faculty will provide notice of their desired teaching schedule, desired teaching conditions, and willing concessions. These include: day preferences, time preferences, and specific scheduling needs as they relate to life circumstances (e.g. childcare, health and wellness accommodations, etc).

    • For example, if you prefer a traditionally “desirable” Tuesday/Thursday teaching assignment, but a concession you are willing to take would be to teach early morning/night/three-hour block courses, please note those distinctions and they will be assessed accordingly. Conversely, if you do not have a day preference, but prefer more “desirable” mid-day time blocks, note those as well. It is the responsibility of the WGST Chair to ethically construct a schedule that attempts to meet as many of these conditions as possible.

  • Criteria for Affiliate Appointment: Affiliate faculty are faculty whose pedagogical, scholarly, and ideological performances reflect the values of the WGST department collective. Any intended affiliate faculty should provide a list of courses that they argue meet the epistemological criteria of WGST, a current CV, and a short statement outlining how their scholarly and pedagogical approach is suited for the WGST department. These requirements may be waived if a current faculty member can attest to an intended affiliate’s record on their behalf. The election process may be carried out during official department meetings or over email, and a vote may be carried out in either space as well. Similarly, affiliates can and may be subject to scrutiny or removal if the affiliate performs in a manner that positions them at ideological odds with the department collective. If any regular WGST faculty member believes this to be the case, a vote will be conducted, either publicly or by secret ballot, solely at the discretion of the faculty member contesting the affiliate faculty.

  • Department-wide vote: Voting has various functions within the department, and while most proceedings only require a majority vote, there are some differences in the voting process. Some votes are appropriate to be carried out over email, some should be carried out during department meetings, and some by secret ballot processes. Pursuant to Article IV.B.7 in the department constitution: “All substantive decisions of the Chair and the Departmental Committees shall be presented to the Department for a majority vote, prior to any action or decision taken, consistent with Article III.A.5.b. and B.1.g. Substantive decisions include but are not limited to decisions about significant commitments of the department’s time or resources, such as about hiring and firing of staff, and decisions regarding long-term projects like conferences or colloquia.” Votes carried out during department meetings also include: the election of a Student Representative, curriculum/department policy changes, department committee elections, search committee elections.

    • The following are some examples of instances that a simple majority vote over email correspondence is acceptable: event-oriented matters (e.g. sponsorship/co-sponsorship), affiliate faculty approval, and adjunct hire

    • The following are examples of instances that a secret ballot must be administered: if a matter is requested by any one faculty member be voted by secret ballot, ratification/amendment of the department constitution (2/3 approval required), or the election/removal of WGST Chair


The Women’s and Gender Studies department is small, and as such, faculty and staff will inevitably be working closely and frequently with one another. As such, we have outlined some helpful tips for navigating these working relationships in ways that are mindful of each other’s time and energy. These are subject to shift depending on context and situation, but these suggestions can be used as a general benchmark of mindful social interaction and professionalism. As such a small group, it is imperative we try our best to be thoughtful in the ways we interact with one another.

  • Paperwork Turnaround Time: There are a number of situations that arise which require the signing of forms, review of material, or editing of written documents, and as a mindful strategy, providing the appropriate windows of time for various tasks helps the person doing that labor to adequately and efficiently address your needs. While these times are not set in stone and individuals may require more/less time, and context may create unique circumstances, the following are some helpful timeline examples for varying materials that may need review.

  • For materials that need close examination, such as external grant applications and tenure and promotion narrative materials, please give at least a week of turnaround time to the person you are requesting to read, edit, revise, or submit such paperwork.

  • For all correspondences regarding a mutual project, please allow 72 hours for responses and work check-ins.

  • For all paperwork and file submissions through the department manager, all paperwork is to be submitted during business hours, with up to a two-business day turnaround expected.

  • Work/Life Balance and Group Communication: In our line of work, creating a healthy work/life balance is critical to maintain performance, and we are our best to our students when we are good to ourselves. Part of this is to recognize that each of us has our own pace of work and timeframe which we get clerical and planning work done. A big part of this job is also answering emails and thoughtfully crafting responses and statements, which take a great deal of mental and emotional energy, and we need to be mindful of that output when we ask each other for that labor. What might seem a simple email to one might be a laborious task in response from another. To that end, emails also sent during “off” months (during the summer when we are not being paid) should be limited to critical importance and sent with care when time-sensitive decisions are required.

    • A suggested way to differentiate between emails that have urgency versus ones that contain useful but non-critical information is to highlight the difference in the subject line in an email. If an email requires immediate attention, consider writing “IMP” at the front of the subject line to signal that a timely response is required. If an email is not critical or time-sensitive, an “FYI” in the subject line signals that this can be answered at the faculty member’s discretion.

  • Exchange of Personal Information: It should go without saying that everyone in the department has different values when it comes to their personal privacy, and respecting those boundaries should be of utmost importance to each of us. We operate best when everyone feels comfortable and safe. That said, despite terms of friendliness or even if the information is seemingly available among the group, personal information relating to someone’s personal phone lines, home addresses, or personal data should never be shared under any circumstances without explicit permission from the individual, even if it is among the department. The sharing of personal information is only to be shared at the discretion of the department manager.

Department Specifics: Publications
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