What Makes WGST Stand Out
The mentorship and networking opportunities afforded to students studying Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) at Acadia University are one of the many unique offerings of our small, tight-knit programming. Students are provided with the chance to engage with their peers, faculty, and the Wolfville community to enrich their learning experiences. Many of the initiatives are student-driven, as we encourage and support student leadership within the program and campus community.
Teaching Assistants who care
The Teaching Assistants (TAs) working in the introductory course, WGST1413, actively engage with our students throughout the term. Through online learning, the course TAs are able to provide feedback on your online discussions, which encourage your critical thinking and engagement with the subject matter. Further, our TAs help foster a sense of community among the WGS student body, reflected in the recent “Tea with your TA” programming created and ran by Cameron Smith. The program allowed students to attend drop-in sessions for discussions and assistance related to course material in a welcoming setting.
Creating an ongoing sense of community
One way that the faculty associated with the WGST program ensure that their students feel immersed in a community is to draw upon the network of students who have previously completed their courses to provide feedback and support to students currently enrolled in said courses. Additionally, the WGST program has offered a wellness check-in for students and faculty to come together during a time of online learning to de-stress, debrief, and unwind. The wellness check-in was an opportunity for students and faculty to discuss comments, suggestions, and news relevant to the WGST program and the greater Acadia community as well as engage with the WGST network outside of the classroom setting.
Feminist mentorship programming beyond WGST
Mentorship opportunities expand beyond the WGST programming, as there are also courses available at Acadia that provide in-class mentorship opportunities that are rooted in Feminist mentorship theory. For example, Teaching Assistant Janine Annette created a mentorship program for her community leadership course in the Community Development Department. The programming fosters a co-mentoring relationship between students who meet weekly in “pods” to discuss topics such as the transformation of the Department, university, and student trajectories. The co-mentoring relationship draws upon a Feminist framework as it challenges hierarchical relationship dynamics and emphasizes the importance of comprehensive and cooperative peer relationships (McGuire and Reger 2003).
Become a mentor with Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Acadia
The WGST program works closely with WISE Acadia in numerous capacities. Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Acadia is dedicated to supporting and empowering girls and women who are interested in or engaged in science or engineering-related careers. However, WISE recognizes the “A” in “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics) and underlines the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to education and the value of arts in science-based fields.
WISE Acadia offers students from STEAM fields the opportunity to participate in mentorship opportunities such as the NetWorKiT mentoring program. NetWorKiT is a student-led initiative targeted at addressing the unique circumstances of girls living in rural areas, and it takes on a values-based approach to planning positive life trajectories. NetWorKiT pairs up young women in high school with WISE Acadia mentors based on similar interests and values. This year, it was decided to target this initiative towards young women in grades 11 and 12, as this is an abnormally stressful time for those students considering their next steps after high school. The NetWorKiT program consisted of weekly, structured video calls and it is intended to provide mentees with a meaningful mentorship relationship, insight into different career opportunities, and support as they navigate what’s next.
Laura Clerk, Psychology BA Honours (2020)
McGuire, Gail and Jo Reger. 2003. “Feminist Co-Mentoring: A Model for Academic Professional Development.” NWSA Journal 15(1): 54-72.