The Center for Gender Studies:
A Brief History
During the 1989-1990 academic year, at the suggestion of then Psychology Department Chair, Alastair Harris, a group of Psychology faculty members began meeting to discuss the formation of a research center to focus on gender issues. The hiring of a new senior faculty member with strong interest and expertise in gender, Hilary Lips, provided the stimulus for the Chairís suggestion, and a shared interest in gender research and gender issues among several other faculty members fueled the effort. Among the faculty members present at these early meetings were Hilary Lips and Al Harris, Marie Waters, Eleanor Kemp, Jerri Frantzve, Dianne Friedman, and Clementine Hansley-Hurt.

Over the course of several discussions, the group settled on a name for the center: The Center for Gender Studies. The decision to use gender, rather than women, as the name for and focus of the Center was quite deliberateĖbecause, the group agreed, gender is not just about women Ė everyone has a gender.  The group also developed a mission statement that emphasized promoting gender research and scholarship by faculty and students on campus and disseminating knowledge about gender to the campus community and beyond.

The group selected Hilary Lips as the Director of the Center and moved to form a Faculty Advisory Board that included not only interested Psychology Department faculty but also some faculty from other departments. They also recruited members for a Community Advisory Board. The Radford University Board of Visitors recognized the formation of the Center, and the Psychology Department agreed to provide basic resources for its operation: office space, telephone lines, office supplies, copying, and graduate assistants.  At the request of the Department and of the Center, Wayne Andrew took on the role of Computing and Research Consultant, helping to acquire and maintain computing equipment, assisting with research and data analysis for many projects and, eventually developing the Centerís Website. Susan Freedman became the Centerís first graduate assistant, making important contributions to many projects and to the public profile of the Center. In 1992, after the death of founding member, Eleanor Kemp, the Center initiated the Kemp Awards for Student Research, given yearly to student recipients from 1994 to the present.

In support of the Centerís mission, faculty members immediately began to mentor graduate and undergraduate students in research projects on gender. Numerous faculty and student presentations, sponsored by the Center, soon took place at the Southeastern Psychological Association, the Southeastern Womenís Studies Association, and other professional meetings. In 1996, the Center hosted the first of its annual student research conferences on gender.
Posters developed for the first two conferences provided logos that have been used by the Center ever since.

The Center also sponsored both external and internal speakers to address many aspects of gender scholarship in addition to sponsoring and co-sponsoring many events. Small grants and donations provided partial funding for these endeavors. In time, the Center obtained its own space on campus: a house at the corner of Howe and Jefferson Streets. After that house was demolished to make room for the College of Business and Economics, the Center moved to the ground floor of 704 Clement Street, and later to Fairfax Street. In 2016, it finally found a permanent home in 4400 CHBS, which houses a well-equipped computer lab and meeting rooms. Throughout these moves, the Centerís continuity was preserved and sustained in virtual space through its extensive website, developed and maintained by Wayne Andrew. Founding Director Hilary Lips retired in December 2015, and was succeeded as Director by Ann Elliott.

Many documents concerning the history of the Center for Gender Studies are deposited with the McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections (Center for Gender Studies Collection. ID RU 3.4) and can be accessed through that office. Reports of Center activities are accessible on the Centerís website.

*Annual reports are no longer published online
Center Events ~ Center Conferences ~ Center Invited Speakers
Current Center for Gender Studies Director  ~  Former Center for Gender Studies Director
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Created by H. Lips & W. Andrew   Last update September 24th, 2019