The Women's Studies Program at the University of Houston is an interdisciplinary academic field that analyzes and investigates women's roles, needs, history, and contributions to humankind. Women's Studies at UH was established in the summer of 1991. The Program offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor and an interdisciplinary graduate certificate -- both consist of courses drawn from the humanities, fine arts, law, and social and health sciences. The mission of the Friends of Women's Studies is to support the University of Houston Women's Studies Program through campus and community activities, as well as financial and volunteer efforts. The central focus of the Friends is the Women's Archive and Research Collections (WARC), a unique collection of documents from active and historical Houston area women's organizations, individuals associated with these organizations and local women's oral histories.
WARC, housed at the University of Houston Libraries' Special Collections Department, opened in October 1996. The WARC collecting area focuses on the roles of women and women's organizations that have made some impact on the lives of Houston area women. As it grows, WARC is expanding to statewide scope.
Collections in WARC include those focused on cultural development and social action, philanthropic, civic and professional associations, women's health issues, violence against women, minority women's groups, and a professional athletic franchise. WARC also includes the papers of several prominent Houston women. The collections document the ways that women have united to achieve their goals, the range of their concerns, and the impact they have had on the world around them. WARC also creates and preserves Texas women's oral histories through the Living Archives series, which features interviews with notable Houston women. The research collections support significant scholarly work on women's issues by students, faculty, and visiting professors and promotes awareness of women's contributions to culture through speakers, conferences, and other activities.
The Friends of Women's Studies provides financial assistance to graduate and undergraduate students and faculty and provides funds for graduate assistantships to continue processing and expanding collections donated to WARC. Scholarships are available to both undergraduates and graduates; UH faculty members may apply for doctoral fellowships and summer fellowships. An annual travel grant is awarded to a Women's Studies faculty member presenting research at conferences and a Student Essay prize for essays on a women's studies topic. Long range plans include a conference on Houston women's history and the endowment of a chair.
Note Author: Pavan Sirsi, 2003 (and edited by Kristen McAlear, 2011)