Pictured (L-R) Dr. Emily Clark presented Dr. Pat Lonchar with the Women and Gender Studies Award for Scholarship and Teaching at the new concentration’s kick-off reception.

Women’s History Month, observed in March, gave UIW the opportunity to showcase a number a nationally acclaimed speakers from various ethnic and religious backgrounds. The theme of this year’s celebration was “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment,” and led up to the kick-off of the new women and gender studies program at UIW.

“The wonderful variety of events comes from the creativity, vision and dedication of the UIW faculty,” said Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, CCVI, professor in the College of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences.

Events on campus included topics such as “Women for Social Justice and the Environment,” with renowned writer Lucy R. Lippard as keynote speaker and a panel presentation of women whose work and continuing efforts target important social and environmental issues.

“It was my hope that while guests were attending the events on campus that they learned about compassion and cooperation, along with persevering determination and working for the common good,” Kirk said.

On Thursday, March 28 the English Department hosted a kick-off reception for the new women and gender studies concentration at UIW. During the reception Dr. Pat Lonchar, assistant dean in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences was presented with the Women and Gender Studies Award for Scholarship and Teaching, and former UIW student Maggie Callahan presented the keynote address, “Influences: Women in our Lives.”

The new interdisciplinary curriculum will begin in fall 2012 and consists of nine required hours and nine elective hours.

“It is important to incorporate a women and gender studies program at UIW because many students across campus are interested in these issues which have shaped our world in the past and continue to shape it today,” said Dr. Emily Clark, associate professor in the English department.

The goal of the concentration in women’s and gender studies at UIW is to emphasize the dignity of each person and the transformative power of a commitment to truth. It seeks to ground students in theory and immerse them in practice so they are enlightened citizens who advance knowledge and the common good.

Visit www.uiw.edu/english/womensstudies.html  for more on the women and gender studies program at UIW.