Auburn University offers a variety of elective courses for students. Within the College of Liberal Arts, the program of Women's Studies offers just under 20 classes. This past semester, a junior named Laurel McQuinn enrolled in Introduction to Women's Studies. Unfamiliar with the program, McQuinn quickly learned how much an elective course could offer.
"To be honest, I was just looking for an easy A," said McQuinn. "Your first couple years as a college student are usually filled with your core curriculum classes. Once I became an upperclassman I realized I still had a few elective hours that needed to be filled."
Students at Auburn University have the ability to look up classes for their next semester by using AU Access, but that is not where McQuinn learned about Women's Studies courses.
"I actually learned about the classes from a friend of mine," said McQuinn. "I really had no idea that Auburn even had a program about Women's Studies, but much to my surprise, I have learned a lot."
Introduction to Women's Studies introduces issues and critical information that some students have never heard of before. This course offers a new understanding of how Women's Studies has changed over the years and suggests new perspectives for those enrolled. Feminist approaches to academics, appreciation for the diversity of feminist thoughts and experiences and communication through lectures and writing is included in this particular course.
"I have never been a fan of writing, but the things we write about in my Women's Studies class keep me interested," said McQuinn. "I don't mind the writing assignments anymore because I have gained so much knowledge from doing them. I think some people have the wrong idea of what these courses offer."
McQuinn says that a lot of students stray away from Women's Studies classes because she thinks they are intimidated of what might be taught. However, this program is not about forcing beliefs or ideas on students. The Women's Studies program at Auburn is like any other course that is provided by the university. Each professor wants to engaged students in learning, but keep them interested in the material at the same time.
"I definitely believe people need to do more research about them before passing up the opportunity to take these courses. It isn't about power for women or making you believe that women are better. There aren't too many guys that take these classes, obviously. I really do think that this program is beneficial to those who give the courses a chance. You never know, you could learn something, too!"