Ethnic and Gender Studies

Ethnic and Gender Studies

The minor and Institute are powerful examples of Siena's Dominican values, highlighting education, diversity, community and the fight for social justice in order to empower the vulnerable and disenfranchised.
Julie Barst
Director, Ethnic and Gender Studies Institute
  • About: EGS
  • EGS Institute
  • EGS Certificates
  • EGS Minor Courses

In the Ethnic and Gender Studies program, students will critically and creatively explore the experiences of marginalized groups and develop a fuller and richer understanding of the exclusive and inclusive construction of community within the U.S. and around the globe.

Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, and other interdisciplinary fields explore the intersections of power and knowledge and seek to empower the disenfranchised and marginalized.

The Ethnic & Gender Studies minor is a 21-credit program. All students take Humanities 110: Introduction to Ethnic & Gender Studies, and then choose 6 electives from a list of pre-approved courses from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, literature, business, religious studies, history, sociology, communications, philosophy, and political science.

Humanities 110 is an interdisciplinary course that explores cultural pluralism as an essential dynamic of cultural history and introduces students to the academic study of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Though this course focuses on the United States, it also considers global cultures and transnationalism.

In fall 2016, Siena Heights University announced the creation of the Ethnic and Gender Studies Institute.

Directed by SHU Associate Professor of English Julie Barst, the institute – the first of its kind at SHU – will build on the university’s current Ethnic and Gender Studies minor program. It will also work closely in partnership with SHU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, various SHU student groups and the Adrian community.

“It is something we can certainly grow on campus,” Barst said. “Students are hungry to talk about race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality inside and outside of the classroom.”

According to SHU President Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, the institute will serve students, faculty and staff in an interdisciplinary fashion by further helping the community explore the ways that race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality are constructed within society and influence lives in powerful ways.

“It will highlight the strong dedication of both Siena Heights University and the Adrian Dominican Sisters to fighting for social justice, spreading education and awareness to all members of our communities, and combatting discrimination in numerous forms,” said President Albert. “And it will bolster Siena’s mission ‘to assist people to become more competent, purposeful, and ethical through a teaching and learning environment which respects the dignity of all.’

Barst said the institute will also offer a film and speaker series and expand educational opportunities in numerous curricular areas. She said she is in the process of forming an advisory board that will include members of the Siena community, and will also have representation from the Lenawee community, including the Adrian Dominican Sisters, who founded and sponsor the university.

“It’s going to help us form stronger partnerships with the community,” Barst said. “The institute should bring people together to focus on these important issues.”

“Our administration and I are so pleased we are working together to see this dream become a reality,” Albert said. “It is a powerful way for us to grow as a community to make our world a better place. This fits so well with our Catholic intellectual tradition and our Dominican values.”

For more information about the Ethnic and Gender Studies Institute at Siena Heights University, contact Barst at jbarst@sienaheights.edu.

Siena Heights University is offering three new certificate programs that will help people understand and work with marginalized and disenfranchised peoples and contribute to meaningful change within society.

There are three different certificate options, and each certificate contains three courses for a total of nine credit hours. They are:

  • Ethnic and Gender Studies
  • Race and Ethnicity Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies

“The certificates would showcase an officially recognized area of competency to candidates’ transcripts and resumes,” said Ethnic and Gender Studies Institute Director Julie Barst. “A certificate would distinguish them for graduate school or on the job market. Especially in the midst of current social movements for racial and gender justice, these certificates could prove very valuable. Candidates could discuss with potential employers or graduate schools why they chose to pursue the certificate, what they learned in the set of courses they completed, how this experience will benefit their graduate studies or careers, and ways that the knowledge and skills earned could be beneficial to the employer or educational institution by contributing to valuable conversations and actions related to diversity and inclusion.”

There will be options for completing the certificates fully online as well as on the main Adrian campus. These programs are open to not only Siena students, but also current or former students at other institutions, and “really anyone who is interested in this field,” Barst said.

The certificates can be integrated into a current SHU student’s major or minor, however, a maximum of two EGS-related certificates may be earned, and they must be in Race and Ethnicity Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. 


Course Requirements                                                            

HUM 110 Introduction to Ethnic and Gender Studies (3)

Choose six (6) approved electives from the list below:                            

BAM 450 Women in Business
COM 340 Intercultural Communication
ENG 348 Multiethnic U.S. Literature
ENG 351 African-American Literature
ENG 354 Gender, Sexuality and Literature
ENG 357 Postcolonial Literature
HIS 201 Native American History
HIS 202 African-American History
HIS 203 Hispanic American History
HIS 204 Women in U.S. History
HIS 323 History of Middle East
RST 321 Women and Religion
PSC 430 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
PSY 275 Psychology of Gender
SOC 244 Social Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity
____ 285 Special Topics  

Or other elective(s) approved by the EGS Program Coordinator.

Total for Minor: 21 credit hours  

Other Requirements

Only two (2) courses may be double-counted towards the student’s major or a second minor.A maximum of two (2) courses from a single academic program can be counted towards the six required electives.Students should note prerequisites for PSC 430 and SOC 244.   

Additional Info


  • Division of Humanities

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