For Women’s and Gender Studies Center, a New Director and an Expanded Focus
The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies is looking to its future, and new Interim Director Jennifer Orlikoff says it’s all about increasing the program’s visibility on campus and furthering collaboration with other academic disciplines across West Virginia University.
“This is a fabulous opportunity not just for me, but for the Center and for the community,” said Orlikoff, who took the helm July 1. “We’ve got so many events that we do every year, but I want to reach out even more. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Women’s and Gender Studies mean and what we do. As an academic discipline, Women’s and Gender Studies is truly interdisciplinary as it is implicated in every academic discipline within the University.” Orlikoff said.
Orlikoff joined the faculty in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 2008 as a teaching assistant professor and the French language coordinator for the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics. She was also the undergraduate coordinator for the department.
Orlikoff has been heavily involved with University curricular issues and has served on the departmental and college curriculum committees as well as being a recent past chair of the Senate Curriculum Committee. She is currently the chair-elect for the Faculty Senate.
Orlikoff said she’d like to pursue international study experiences, service learning opportunities, and internships that relate to Women’s and Gender studies as well.
She noted that there are a lot of young women coming from other countries who go through culture shock when they come to the United States to study in the Intensive English Program.
“Why not have an internship for Women’s and Gender Studies students who work with these international women to help them acclimate to American university culture? This would be a culturally relevant experience for both parties, strengthening their sensitivities to women’s and gender issues,” she said.
The center’s future, Orlikoff added, is firmly rooted in the accomplishments of its past. In spring 2016, the center will celebrate Harriet E. Lyon, the first woman to earn a degree from WVU, by adding to a time capsule in front of Woodburn Hall that dates back to 1891.
The capsule, which was sealed in 1991, is on a schedule to be opened and added to every 25 years until 2091.“When we open the capsule, I think we’ll be very impressed at the evidence of the progress women made through the century, from 1891 to 1991. I think we’ll also realize there’s still a ways to go,” Orlikoff said. The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2015.