National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, Volume 8.


Copyright © 2012 National Collegiate Honors Council


Because gender maintains a significant influence on our education, careers, decision-making, families, and everyday lives, honors programs that wish to explore issues of social justice and equality should include coursework that illuminates historical and contemporary issues from a gendered perspective. In spring 2011, the South Dakota State University Honors Program offered an innovative three-credit honors colloquium entitled “Women Shaping Their World.” This multidisciplinary course focused on examining the ways that women’s lives are structured in cultural, social, religious, economic, historical, political, and scientific contexts; it also explored the potential of women to transcend these barriers and shape their own lives. The colloquium attracted honors students from a wide variety of majors and offered them unique academic and personal opportunities. The three professors who taught the course hope to offer ideas for honors administrators and faculty members who wish to develop classes highlighting women’s studies. In order to suggest possibilities for other honors programs, we explain how our class was designed and implemented and how its various facets—including guest speakers, texts, assignments, and poster presentations— worked together to meet the course objectives.