Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions becomes first person to get masters under a new major

Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions becomes first person to get masters under a new major

Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions becomes first person to get masters under a new major
May 31
00:04 2018

Graduate student Amanda Foltz became the first graduate of the University of North Texas’
women’s and gender studies master’s program this May. Though the program began in the
‘80s under the interdisciplinary studies program, Foltz is the first to graduate to the program
under its now individual title.

“It’s an immense honor,” Foltz said. “I feel very humbled and very privileged. I started this
program simply because I thought it would be interesting. I had no idea that I would be
studying with the most brilliant, well-researched instructors at this university.”

According to the mission statement of the women’s and gender studies master’s program at
UNT, the program allows students like Foltz to study topics and, “[sustain] campus-wide
discussions in areas including, but not limited to: global contexts, feminist approaches,
women’s social movements, feminist activism and explorations of the connections among
gender, class, ethnicity and race in social and cultural constructs.”

Alicia Re Cruz, head director of the women’s and gender studies program encourages
students inside the program to utilize gender studies to study and critique themselves and
society.

“We really need our young generation who are going to be the leaders of our society and
politics and tomorrow to understand the social reality and look at it with a critical lens using a
gender basis kind of look to understand it,” Re Cruz said. “This is critical and crucial for not
only our society, but the world in which we live, and it can be used and applied in any single
context, any single job and professional and personal lives.”

Re Cruz also hopes students begin and leave the program working toward ways in which
they can take what they learn and employ it for the betterment of humanity.

“My hope is that whatever knowledge they acquire through the program that they use it,
and they apply it,” Re Cruz said. “For me as the director, the most important goal is they use it to help
toward social justice and social equality.”

Along with studying under the women’s and gender studies master’s program, Foltz works as
the assistant director of transfer admissions at UNT, which heavily influenced her decision to
fixate her research on immigration and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival students.

“When I began my internship study, I wanted to try and find a way to affect change that was
within my institution,” Foltz said. “I care very much about the work I do at UNT. Working with students
brings me a lot of joy, and when I think about DACA and undocumented students,
what comes to mind is a group of passionate, hard-working and endlessly hopeful people who
are facing a mountain of social and legal battles, as well as a particularly insidious political and
media-based rhetoric about their character and intentions, particularly in the state of Texas.”

In Foltz’s research, she found UNT was a welcoming environment for undocumented and DACA
students, but she also discovered there is still much more to be done to help students feel more
at ease and inclusive in their environment.

“But I found that all of that support isn’t visible enough yet. There isn’t enough clarity in the
process for these students. But that’s an issue all throughout Texas higher education, it’s not
unique to UNT. The great thing, though, is that there are relatively easy, cost effective ways to
increase this visibility and improve our processes.”

Foltz is hoping to put these practices into effect in the future through her work with the
undergraduate admissions office.

“We’re still in the planning stages, but we’re going to be starting a series of projects designed to
provide assistance to DACA students from the very beginning of their admissions and
enrollment process,” Foltz said. “Right now, what that looks like is connecting prospective students,
applicants, and newly enrolled students to their resources, bridging any gaps we may come
across. But there’s definitely more in the works.”

Featured Image: Courtesy UNT.

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Vanessa McTillmon

Vanessa McTillmon

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