By Danny Vasquez
A new women’s studies major is in process to come to East Los Angeles College, the first women’s studies degree the Los Angeles Community College District will have.
ELAC Honors Program Director, Susanne Spangler presented the idea as an outgrowth of the honors program.
“In the district there are no other women’s studies majors…there is a general studies AA degree at Pierce that you can do with a women’s studies emphasis, but there’s no actual women’s studies (degree) at any college in the district. We will be the first one,” Spangler said.
The date in which the degree will be available at ELAC is unknown, because the request has to go through three major approvals. It has to be sent to the college curriculum committee first, then to the district curriculum committee and then to the state.
In the past two and a half years, Spangler and 25 women’s studies committee members created a curriculum to fulfill the criteria of obtaining the degree.
Spangler, who is also the chairperson of the women’s studies program, initiated the idea to the honors faculty.
Within the 18 months of working and creating eight new courses adding on to the five pre-existing courses, the curriculum is almost set to be sent to the college curriculum committee.
The classes already exist at ELAC, so there were no additional funds needed for the program.
The classes in the curriculum were designed with pre-existing courses from different departments throughout the campus. Courses range from anthropology to sociology.
Spangler said she had two students in the honors program a little more than two years ago who said they were transferring to University of California, Los Angeles as women’s studies majors, which caused her concern. She said, “The students said ‘Why don’t we have a women’s studies major at ELAC,’ and I said ‘Why don’t we?’”
Women’s studies courses are all gender studies classes with an emphasis on women.
Although the stud not just for women students.
“We don’t want this to be seen as classes that are focused just for women, but classes interested by male and female students,” Spangler said.
Ruth Blandon, Ph.d, an English and Women Literature instructor, is part of the committee to create the women’s studies degree.
“The main thing is how some of these issues keep surfacing or even aren’t address at all. Because we continue, even as we believe that we have progressed to become a somewhat modern culture. A lot of things haven’t progress at all. I think it’s necessary to address them.
“When I teach Women in [Literature], we read literature that goes back to the medieval ages, but at the same time we kind of see how some of these concerns that are ancient, relatively speaking, are still sadly enough very relative today.” Blandon said.