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Women’s and gender studies department takes big leap forward to address pressing social issues

TAMPA, Fla. -- The University of South Florida Department of Women’s and Gender Studies is being transformed to better address pressing social issues, according to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dean Eric Eisenberg said Elizabeth Bell, Ph.D., has been named chair of the department, effective Aug. 1, 2011. In addition to a new department chair, the department has made additional hires that will double the number of tenured faculty in the department.

“It is my strong conviction that a global research university that aspires to AAU status and prides itself on community impact must have a serious and sustained focus on gender issues as they affect individuals and societies locally and around the world,” Eisenberg said.

Bell is currently a professor and interim chair in the Department of Communication. She is the recipient of more than 15 teaching, scholarship and service awards from college, state and national associations, including Gender Scholar of the Year by the Southern States Communication Association. Bell said she is excited about bringing her research and teaching in feminism to women’s and gender studies students.

“The next year will be tremendously exciting as we test drive our new model for the department,” Bell said. “This staffing model for WGS--with full-time, jointly-appointed affiliate faculty and full-time instructors--is consistent with successful women’s and gender studies programs at AAU universities around the country.”

In addition to Bell, two other faculty members will join the department, Kim Golombisky, Ph.D., and Naomi Yavneh, Ph.D.

Golombisky, associate professor in the USF School of Mass Communications, will serve as graduate director and will begin teaching in WGS in May. Golombisky is a recognized expert in Title IX issues and has been a visiting faculty member on diversity in the academy at The Poynter Institute.

Yavneh will return to the classroom after seven successful years of administering the university’s undergraduate research program. Her expertise in early modern Europe will bring an important historical dimension to WGS classes. Her involvement with undergraduate research makes her a natural fit to serve as undergraduate director.

“I am grateful to all of the people who have built the department to this point and tremendously excited about the new capabilities that will be afforded to the department and our students through new leadership and new faculty,” Eisenberg said.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Women’s and Gender Studies    
Author: Michele Dye