New Center for Gender and Sexuality Established at Wayne State University in Detroit

The board of governors at Wayne State Univerity in Detroit recently approved the establishment of the Center for Gender and Sexuality on campus. The center will provide services in five areas: research, teaching, student services, programming and advocacy, and student engagement. Academically, the center will provide a singular space to unify the many scholars who already conduct this work in their own departments.

Like many other research incubators on campus, one of the goals is for the center to retain and attract research-productive faculty who bring their scholarship to the classroom, developing more diversified leaders in the field of gender and sexuality among both faculty and students.

A welcoming drop-in space with culturally competent staff available as resources, the center will collaborate with existing student-facing units like the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement to further focus on student services. Opportunities for student engagement and educational outreach will include support for student organizations and facilitating discussion groups.

Simone Chess, associate professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, director of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and the author of the proposal to create the center said that “since arriving at Wayne State in 2008, I have always advocated for more feminist and queer resources on campus; the provost was the one who suggested I might wrap up many of the campus’ needs in one holistic resource, and that was the starting point for the center proposal.”

Dr. Chess added that “this is a major recognition that Wayne State is in support of interdisciplinary research and student services related to gender and sexuality, and a major investment in LGBTQIA+ and feminist students, faculty and staff. It is an important way to make the campus values of inclusion and diversity more visible, and a crucial step toward making sure our campus is as welcoming and safe as possible.”

Dr. Chess is the author of Male-to-Female Crossdressing in Early Modern English Literature: Gender, Performance, and Queer Relations (Routledge, 2016). She is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Filed Under: Women's Studies


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