WOMEN IN LEARNING AND LEADERSHIP PROGRAM AT TCNJ
The Women In Learning and Leadership (WILL) Program is a curricular and co-curricular,
certificate-bearing program designed to provide leadership experience, encouragement, and
opportunity for development of critical and analytical skills. The WILL Program provides active
learning opportunities that empower women as leaders, fosters a deeper understanding of
women’s roles and contributions to society, and offers opportunities for women to investigate
career and life choices. Inspired by the original WILL Program at the University of Richmond, founded
in 1980, faculty and staff established the WILL Program at The College of New Jersey in 2000. Since its inception, the WILL Program at TCNJ has continued to find inspiration in successful leadership programming across the country while developing its own innovative programs for TCNJ WILL women and the larger community we serve.
The WILL Program strives to foster a deeper understanding of gender and its intersections with race, culture, class, sexuality and other aspects of social identity. By connecting students with each other, and with a strong supportive network of faculty, staff, alumnae and community mentors, WILL students develop critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, problem-solving and leadership skills. In addition, WILL students participate in a variety of community engaged learning projects designed to promote positive participation in the local and global community. This program provides opportunities for women to explore career and life choices in multiple disciplines that enable them to excel and realize their full potential.
Therefore, the WILL Program strives:
• To encourage critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, and active learning opportunities which empower women as leaders, professionals, and engaged citizens during and after college
• To promote support networks for women students in all fields, particularly those in which they have historically been under-represented
• To foster a deeper understanding of women’s diverse roles and contributions to society
• To increase awareness of obstacles women have faced and continue to face, and to foster individual and collective strategies to address these issues
• To cultivate skills for living and working with people of diverse backgrounds and opinions
• To promote the self-esteem and self-confidence of its members.
The WILL Program fulfills its mission and enhances women’s college experience through a three-pronged approach that connects the curricular and co-curricular: course work in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, gender-related programming outside of the classroom, and a student-run leadership development organization. Additionally, WILL students are provided with opportunities to attend national leadership training seminars, public-speaking workshops, conflict resolution/ transformation workshops, and other forums designed to build and enhance leadership skills.
The following initiatives are intended as a framework to guide ongoing and development activities of the WILL Program. The initiatives will be reviewed annually to assess progress, reevaluate priorities, and plan implementation.
I. CURRICULUM: Academic Program and Student Learning, Advising, and Internationalization
In addition to completing course work in their major fields, WILL Program students are required to complete 5 courses in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, in addition to attending at least 3 gender related co-curricular programs each semester, and participating in the WILL student organization. When appropriate, WILL-only sections of WGS courses are offered.
WGS 200: Women, Culture & Society (WILL-only Leadership section)
Gender in Global Perspective (either 200 or 300 level)
One of the following:
- WGS210/HIS324/HON337: Women in Eastern Europe 1849-Present
- WGS376/LIT316: Global Women Writers
- WGS260 /AAS280: Women of African Descent in Global Perspective
- WGS380/HON 338: Gender and Democracy
- WGS360/LIT334: Literature by Latinas and Latin American Women
- WGS381/ANT311: Women in Migration
- WGS327/HIS327.: European Social History since 1789
- WGS310/HIS324/HON337: Women in Eastern Europe
- WGS375: Transnational Feminisms
- SOC303: Women in World Perspectives
(WGS 325: Feminist Theories
WGS 365: Black Feminist Thought)
WGS 398: Feminism in the Workplace: Field Study in Women’s and Gender Studies
WGS 496: Women’s Leadership and Social Change OR
WGS 495: Senior Seminar: Methods in Theory
Encourage and support the numerous campus/local/global projects conceived and implemented by the WILL student organization
Support the development of the Nicaragua Solidarity Project
Continue WILL’s annual production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues to raise funds for organizations working to end violence against women and girls in the United States and around the world, and to bring attention to the problem of genderbased violence
Evaluate WGS courses required for the WILL Program and revise if deemed appropriate
Develop tools for assessing student achievement in the WILL Program
Encourage WILL students to meet with the WILL director for advisement, regardless of their major field of study
Seek and promote study and experiential learning opportunities for WILL students beyond New Jersey, both in the US and internationally
Regularly maintain updated contact information for graduates
Maintain the WILL alumnae lists and regularly contact alums
Maintain the FaceBook page WILL PROGRAM ALUMNAE/ THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY as an information/sharing space for WILL alumnae.
Maintain a record of graduates’ success stories; publicize select stories on the HSS and TCNJ websites.
Continue to invite alumnae to campus to present on topics related to their specializations, and on jobs and careers.
Continue to invite alumnae panelists to speak and share their experiences and/or advice at the annual fall induction/retreat
Develop an effective mentor program for undergraduates (primarily with WILL alumnae and the WILL Advisory Council)
Encourage campus faculty to recommend qualified students for the WILL Program.
Encourage the WILL student organization to further develop partnerships with other campus organizations/programs/departments (WGS, Bonner, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, Union Latina, Black Student Union, etc.) to collaborate on campus events
Review the WILL website for anachronism, community usefulness, and diversity.
Work with TCNJ’s Career Center to enhance resources for WILL students, particularly in NGO, governmental, political, and social service careers.
Invite guest speakers from the region and beyond to participate in Women’s History Month
Maintain the WILL Advisory Council listserv and provide timely information and updates to Council members
Work to initiate Young Women Empowerment Days regularly
Leadership and governance
Encourage students to take roles in school- or college-wide governance, and support and recognize peers in these roles.
Send more students to leadership seminars and conferences
Fundraising and development
WILL will continue to seek funding for:
• Student travel to conferences and other experiential learning opportunities
• An endowment for the Women in Learning and Leadership Program
• Visiting speakers
• Funds to send WILL students to the LeaderShape Institute and Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) seminars
• Continue to encourage the WILL Advisory Council’s participation as mentors and as