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Women's Studies Department Records

Identifier: MS-0368

Scope and Contents

The Women's Studies Department Records (1966-2006) document the growth and development of the first women's studies department in the nation, including its formation, early relationship with the Center for Women's Studies and Services (CWSS), now named Center for Community Solutions, course development, student work, and interactions between students and faculty with local, national, and international women's groups. It includes annual reports, self studies, syllabi, correspondence, reports, budgets, minutes, newsletters, course development materials, files from various events and organizations, and photographic slides.  The collection consists of four major series: Administrative Files (1970-2002), Curricular Files (1972-2004), Organization and Event Files (1966-1996), and Multimedia Materials (1975-2000). The Administrative Files have two sub-series: Annual Reports and Self Studies and Department Office Files.  The Curricular Files are filed in three sub-series: Syllabi, Course Development Files, and New Views on Women Records.  The Organization and Event Files are divided in two sub-series: Special Events and Women's Organizations and Workshop for Careers for Women in Science and Engineering Files.

The Administrative Files (1970-2002) includes two subseries, Annual Reports and Self Studies (1974-1990) and Department Office Files (1970-2002).  These files document the department's growth, development, and change over four decades. The bulk of materials date from the mid- to late-1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The Annual Reports and Self Studies (1974-1990) consist of internal progress reports and studies completed every few years for the Divisions of Undergraduate Studies and Graduate Affairs. The material is filed chronologically. The Department Office Files (1970-2002) document the department's early formation, internal administration, development of the Women's Studies Major, Minor, and Master's degrees, department chair actions, budget issues, and department committees.  It includes the original department proposal, notes from discussions about the department's formation, the Chair's correspondence, course records, grade reports, minutes, and budgets, and is filed alphabetically by file name.

The Curricular Files (1972-2004) include three subseries: Syllabi (1972-2004), Course Development Files (1975-1990), and New Views on Women Records (1977-2000). These files document the development of the women's studies curriculum and course content from the 1970s to the present time. The Syllabi (1972-2004) cover women's studies department courses, as well as a few courses relating to women's studies from other departments, and a few women's studies courses taught at other universities. Researchers should be advised that classes were sometimes offered under different course numbers in different semesters, while the same course numbers sometimes represent different course titles in different semesters. The sub-series is filed by course number. The Course Development Files (1975-1990), document changes to the curriculum and course offerings over the first twenty years of the department's existence.  It consists primarily of course proposals.  The New Views on Women Records (1977-2000) include correspondence, schedules, programs, and agendas from the New Views on Women lecture series. It is filed chronologically. Because New Views on Women was originally offered as a course (Women's Studies 101), the earliest New Views on Women materials are filed with the other syllabi in sub-series 1.

The Organization and Events Files (1966-1996) include two subseries, Special Event and Women's Organization Files (1966-1996), and the Workshop for Careers for Women in Science and Engineering Files (1968-1982).  These files document the Women's Studies Department's involvement with local, national, and international women's organizations, as well as its participation in women's-related events both on campus off. The Special Event and Women's Organization Files (1966-1996) include reports, correspondence, newsletters, and other records documenting the department's relationship with the Center for Research on Women, National Institute of Education, Older Women's League, the Women's Coalition of San Diego County, and several others, as well as various conferences and other events planned by the department in conjunction with many of those groups. The Workshop for Careers for Women in Science and Engineering Files (1968-1982) documents the growth and development of the Workshop, including the National Science Foundation's participation, and includes brochures, budget information, correspondence, reports, programs, speaker lists, and many other files.  Both subseries are filed alphabetically.

The Multimedia Materials (1975-2000) provides photographic and film documentation of the people, events, and scholarship which developed and grew in the Women's Studies Department throughout its existence.  It includes slides, photographs, and videotapes documenting lectures, conferences, colloquia, panel discussions, campus rallies, and guest speakers.


  • Creation: 1966-2006


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

In 1969, students from SDSU's Women's Liberation Group, in cooperation with faculty and community women, formed an Ad Hoc Committee for Women's Studies. The committee collected signatures from over 600 students in support of establishing a Women's Studies Program at SDSU. In response, the university started an informal Women's Studies Program for the Spring 1970 semester. By the start of the Fall 1970 semester, SDSU had formally established a department of Women's Studies which offered 11 courses. It was the first such department in the United States.

Early instructors included students, faculty from several existing departments, and one full-time Women's Studies lecturer. The Ad Hoc committee established a nineteen member Women's Studies board, which included ten students, three staff members, and six faculty members, to oversee the program. In spring of 1974, the Faculty Advisory Committee undertook a nationwide faculty recruitment campaign to develop women's studies as a strong academic department. The faculty developed an eighteen-unit minor, which was approved by the University Senate in May 1975.

In 1983, the department first offered an undergraduate major in Women's Studies, in the College of Arts and Letters. Faculty at that time consisted of one full professor, four associate professors, one assistant professor and one lecturer. Also during the 1980s three Women's Studies faculty attained tenure, rendering the Faculty Advisory Committee unnecessary. The department weathered budget crises in the 1990s and 2000s while continuing to grow and develop both in terms of size and reputation. In 1996 the department first offered a Master's program in Women's Studies. In 2000, it began a program offering admission into a 12-unit Certificate Program in Women's Studies through the College of Extended Studies.

SDSU's Women's Studies Department has developed a national and international reputation for excellence in its curriculum and faculty. It maintains a strong commitment to excellence in teaching and research, and is taking a leadership role in university affairs. In 2010 the department celebrated its 40th anniversary.


19.65 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Administrative Files, 1970-2002
     1.) Annual Reports & Self Studies, 1974-1990
     2.) Department Office Files, 1970-2002
II. Curricular Files, 1972-2004
     1.) Syllabi, 1972-2004
     2.) Course Development Files, 1975-1990
     3.) New Views on Women Records, 1977-2000
III. Organization & Event Files, 1966-1996
     1.) Special Events and Women's Organizations, 1966-1996
     2.) Workshop for Careers for Women in Science and Engineering, 1968-1982
IV. Multimedia Materials, 1975-2000

Source of Acquisition

Women's Studies Department

Accruals and Additions

9999-119, 2003-003, 2006-052, 2010-034

Related Materials

Center for Women's Studies and Services Records, 1947-1997 (MS-0036)
Bonnie Zimmerman Papers, 1966-2003 (MS-0329)
Kathleen B. Jones Papers, 1977-2003 (MS-0365)
Radical Ephemera and Underground Publications Collection, 1966-1983 (MS-0013)
Women's Resource Center Records
Naitonal Organization for Women (NOW), San Diego Chapter Records

Processing Information

Collection was temporarily closed for reprocessing from Jan. - May 2009.

Women's Studies Department Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US