It is with great excitement that we share this news with you: The College of Arts & Sciences at Kent State University seeks to establish a Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, a faculty-led academic unit that will enable the expansion and integration of LGBT Studies and Women’s Studies. While the mission and exact structure are still to be developed over the next several weeks by an advisory group of faculty and students, it can be said that the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality will bring Kent State University to the forefront of gender and sexuality research and scholarship, and it will create new undergraduate and graduate courses and curriculum that will offer an interdisciplinary perspective for the exploration and understanding of constructions of gender and sexuality.
This afternoon, we had a fun and inspiring meeting discussing our ideas on how we can position Kent State University as a leader in the study of gender and sexuality, building on the past and current role our university has had providing innovative scholarly programs for students.
Additionally, Dean Blank has appointed Molly Merryman, an associate professor of Sociology, to lead the formation of the new Center. Merryman (who recently resigned as the coordinator for LGBT Studies to bring attention to the lack of support for that program) will step back into coordinating LGBT Studies, and will be joined in this new initiative by Suzanne Holt, the Women’s Studies coordinator and instructor.
In the five days since the resignation, there has been an amazing outpouring of support from students, faculty, staff and community members for the program. The positive enthusiasm of these advocates inspired both Jim Blank and Molly Merryman. Jim states: “In these emails and letters I saw great ideas, interest and energy, so I knew the time was right for us to put forward a new vision.”
We both are excited that together we are positioning Kent State University as an innovator in the scholarly understanding of sexuality and gender. The establishment of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality is more than a fix of the problem—it is an investment in the future of this interdisciplinary academic pursuit and a commitment to our students.
Expect more news from us as we pull together our team and move forward.