UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Changing the climate of the University classroom: perspectives from faculty using feminist scholarship Cole, Holly A.


The university campus has dramatically changed with the increased enrolment and visibility of women. Women now clearly represent the majority of postsecondary full and part-time enrolments. The current challenge to the traditions of higher education involves ensuring that the values and perspectives of women are fully represented in the academy. One of those areas requiring attention is the curriculum. A plethora of feminist perspectives capture and express the experiences of women and provide an understanding of their diverse social and political realities. This thesis examined how feminist scholarship has added a critical and constructive voice to existing curricula and the development of new knowledge. Using semi-structured interviews, ten women university faculty were interviewed about their experiences of building a gender inclusive curriculum using feminist scholarship. Women spoke about the tension between feminism and academia and the conflicts they experienced both as women and feminist faculty. For the feminist faculty, working outside masculinist norms had both personal and professional costs and benefits. This study confirmed current research that maintains women have not yet been accepted as agents of knowledge and authority in their fields. This thesis found that feminist scholarship still resides, for the most part, in the margins of the disciplines. The curriculum revealed itself as a restricted model of discourse, its design and creation influenced by the personal and subjective emotions and intellect of its owner, whether that person was a feminist or a conservatist. This research concluded that curriculum is socially constructed, implying that curriculum is related to gender, and when partnered with feminism, it is closely tied to the politics of inclusion.

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