female students walking into 41 park row

Program Requirements and Benefits (2022-2023)

There are two required first-year courses:

  • COM 200 Public Speaking (Fall 2022)
  • WS 297F Geographies of Girlhood (Spring 2023)

Students accepted into WLI will also be invited to enroll in an optional summer course prior to the start of their first year:

  • WS 180: Nonprofit Skills for Social Justice (Late Summer II 2022)

Course Descriptions

  • This course explores the practices, strategies, and tactics in which nonprofit organizations and social movements engage to create and sustain social justice efforts in varied, diverse communities. Students will study the function of nonprofit governance, philanthropy and fundraising, marketing and the role of social media messaging, strategic planning and volunteer recruitment in the practice and professionalization of social justice efforts. Based on critical feminist studies of nonprofits, students will consider how socio-cultural, economic, and political structures of power intersect with notions of ‘doing good’ in public life. Topics will include: nonprofit industrial complex; institutional racism and nonprofits; the white savior complex in fundraising and philanthropy; BIPOC organizations and leadership; feminist politics in the nonprofit world; decolonizing wealth; gender and global development; representational politics and voice; forms of organized resistance; and building transformative visions of justice, among others. This class counts for the Nonprofit Studies undergraduate minor and will prepare students for advanced courses in PJS, WGS, and other disciplines including graduate work in the Public Administration program. All references to pre-professional skills are approached from feminist, anti-racist, and decolonial perspectives, and will not include nonprofit management.

  • The course is devoted to instruction in the mechanics of writing and presenting one's own material. This will include such things as the following: outlining, addressing varied audiences, styles, and appropriate techniques of delivery, as well as the use of technology to enhance one's presentation. It is a pragmatic, skills-oriented course designed to provide a context for practicing the construction and presentation of well-reasoned public messages.

    Note: This special section of COM 200, a foundation course usually completed in students’ second year, will equip students with critical leadership skills while focusing on women’s voices and highlighting speeches of famous women leaders throughout history.

  • This course explores the geographies of girlhood in transnational and global contexts with special consideration given to the socio-cultural and geopolitical constructions of girlhood. Drawing from a range of disciplines, girlhood studies centers girls’ voices and perspectives while recognizing the ways in which girlhoods are shaped by ever-changing economic, political, cultural, familial, national and global systems of power. In this course, we will trace the production and consumption of ‘the girl’ in diverse geopolitical locations including: U.S. – Mexico border, Brazil, Pakistan, Kenya, and within Indigenous communities. This exercise in mapping the intersecting geographies of transnational girlhood allows us to reconsider what it is that we think we know about girls’ lives in the global South (and subsequently the global North), generating new perspectives, understandings, and opportunities for relational solidarity and growth.

    Note from Dr. Bent: I approach this course from an anti-racist, decolonial perspective which challenges us to dismantle white supremacy, settler colonialism, systemic racism and structural inequalities in all of its forms. For us, this means that we shift away from narratives of comparison, victimization, and measurements of so-called normalcy in order to understand girls from within their own embedded and complicated realities.​

Beyond the skills gained through the WLI curriculum, accepted students will also have access to the following:

  • Academic Mentorship: Opportunities for intellectual growth, leadership training and experiences, and support from faculty invested in your success.
  • Leadership Opportunities: Access to events that will help hone important skills that will assist in building confidence and communicating effectively.
  • Community Service and Community Building: Opportunities to connect with other students with similar interests and passions and to help and serve others.
  • Wellness: Special events designed to support emotional well-being, reduce stress levels, and encourage an enjoyable college experience.