In 1978, the Women's Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts/Boston initiated a survey to examine the impact on the liberal arts curriculum of the new scholarship on women. We were looking beyond the courses offered by Women's Studies, since one of the goals of our program, like others, had been to promote the transformation of the male-centered curriculum. During much of its first decade, Women's Studies had focused on developing its own courses and scholarship. By 1978, the Women's Studies Program offered annually ten courses taught by its own faculty, as well as cross-listing another twenty courses regularly offered by departments. We assumed that the faculty teaching the departmental courses would have felt the impact of new feminist scholarship. But what about those faculty who were uninterested in the program, or negative toward its goals? We saw the survey as the beginning of a new and systematic effort to bring feminist critiques and new knowledge about women to arts and sciences departments and disciplines.
The survey was carried out by a college-wide Committee on the Status of Women, authorized by the Dean. To introduce the survey constructively, the Women's Studies Program prepared and distributed to all heads of departments and curriculum committees a fifteen-page report called "Resource Guide for Women's Studies at UMB," listing bibliographies, reference tools, and periodicals available in the Women's Studies Resource Center and the UMB library. We also offered the program's assistance to faculty interested in finding new scholarship on particular topics relating to women. Accompanying the "Resource Guide" was a note from the Dean, announcing that the survey was about to begin and asking for the departments' cooperation.