Women Involved in Learning and Leadership
Modeled on the highly successful program at the University of Richmond, The WILL+ Program at UMBC engages students, faculty, and student affairs staff in a learning community that promotes academic excellence, leadership development, career exploration, and civic engagement for women.
Feminist movements have led to major social changes in the organization of gender, but women still lag behind men in many areas of political, social, and economic life. Gendered expectations continue to present complex and contradictory messages to all of us about who we should be, how we should organize our lives, and what we want our worlds to look like.
The WILL+ program offers students confronting these realities a valuable knowledge base about gender and its relation to other differences such as race, class, and sexuality as well as practical leadership skills that will improve their academic and professional accomplishments.
- 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 the self-esteem and self-confidence of its members
- To provide opportunities in and out of the classroom for women to explore career and life choices
- To promote support networks for women students in fields where 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 are facing, and to foster individual and collective strategies to address these issues
- To cultivate skills for living and working with people of diverse backgrounds and opinion.
WILL+ achieves these goals through three components:
- an academic curriculum of courses focused on women’s diverse roles, contributions, and challenges, which results in a Gender and Women’s Studies minor;
- a co-curricular program of lectures, workshops, films, and cultural events that integrate classroom learning with out-of-the classroom activities; and
- a student-led organization that plays a central role in the management of WILL+ and that participates in the shared governance of the university.
Together these components provide the basis for students, primarily but not exclusively women, to engage actively in UMBC’s intellectual and community life, to gain valuable leadership skills, to make informed career choices, and to develop their core values, especially as they are shaped by the challenges and opportunities of a multicultural society.
For information on the WILL+ Program, please reach out to either:
Dr. Kate Drabinski, WILL+ Director and Principal Lecturer
Dr. Kathryn Kein, WILL+ Associate Director and Lecturer