New Face, New Perspective in Women’s Studies

A fresh perspective to traditional programs is sweeping the Women’s Studies program this fall.

Dr. Desiree Henderson, Assistant Professor of English, was named Interim Program Director earlier this year and is busy creating new programs and objectives while supporting successful, long-standing events like Expand Your Horizons and Women’s History Month.

“I am very excited about the future of Women’s Studies,” Henderson said. “The program has been a valuable contributor to UTA since its formation in 1991 and promises to continue to play a significant role in the university.”


Henderson’s plans for the program include large, attainable goals. One is to raise awareness of Women’s Studies on campus. She said she wants to make students aware of not only the program, but of the skills and knowledge within Women’s Studies that can help in area. Another goal is eventually adding Women’s Studies as a major.

“There are many colleges and universities that offer women’s studies as a undergraduate major,” Henderson said, “And I’d like UTA to be one.”

Currently, UT Arlington students can only minor in Women’s Studies, however Henderson said she is developing a graduate certificate.

Another goal of Henderson’s is for the Women’s Studies program to take a more active role in women’s issues at UT Arlington. These issues include women’s safety on campus, an on-campus childcare for student mothers, and a support system to help students balance the stress of family life and academics. Henderson will work with a nine-member advisory board, which oversees the development and implementation of public events and the role of Women’s Studies on campus.

Dr. Beth Ann Shelton, the program’s former director, stepped down from the position last spring to continue work on her research projects. She is working on a project that studies new forms of civic participation and another that studies the loss of intellectuality among secondary school students.

“Administrative positions at any level require quite a bit of time and, when combined with teaching, seriously cut into the time available for research,” she said.

Dr. Beth Wright, Dean of Liberal Arts, said Henderson was the right fit for moving the Women’s Studies program forward.

“We encouraged her to apply based on her participation on the Board, her point of view on Women’s Studies, and her enthusiasm,” Wright said.

(Story by Amanda Enriquez.)

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