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My discussion here is based on in-depth case studies of six colleges and universities around the United States that vary in terms of size, selectivity, prestige, public or private status, and location. In the period between 1970 and 2005, each campus experienced a campaign for at least one of the three progressive curricular programs I studied: women’s studies, Asian American studies, and queer/LGBT studies, for a total of thirteen curricular change campaigns. Of these, eleven resulted in the establishment of some sort of curricular program, whether a minor, a certificate program, or a major. However, these six campuses varied considerably in terms of how hospitable they were to curricular change efforts; in addition, even those curricular change campaigns that were able to achieve their goal and create a curricular program varied in terms of how long program creation took to achieve and how institutionalized the program ultimately became. I collected data from college and university archives and from interviews with key figures in the curricular change campaigns, including administrators, faculty members, and students. After analyzing the data, I was able to develop a theoretical model that explains how and when curricular change campaigns (and related social movement-like activity inside colleges, universities, and other organizations) are able to have an impact. This model provides administrators who are seeking to create progressive social change on their campuses with five key lessons on how to best organize, mobilize, and make an impact.


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Relation Data

“Activist Strategies to Change Your Campus Curriculum.” Women in Higher Education 17:11, 34- 5 (November 2008 issue).

Rights Management

Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

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Sociology Commons