Women and Gender Studies Program


We never know how high we are

Till we are called to rise

And then if we are true to plan

Our statures touch the skies—Emily Dickinson


Greeting from the Director:

As of Spring Semester 2014, Women and Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine has  31 majors and 37 minors. Having tripled our number of majors during a period when college-age students are, according to administrative records, in rapid decline suggests that our program is doing something right.  So in this semester’s newsletter, I want to recount some of our many individual and collective STRENGTHS:

--Students who make their lives matter.

--Faculty whose scholarship is respected by academic peers and embedded in the world.

--Lively classes with some of USM’s most engaged students and most engaging teachers.

--A writing intensive and skills-based curriculum that prepares students to transform themselves and their communities.

--A flexible series of courses.

--Programming integrated with your course work.

--A portfolio of internships designed to help you find your way.

--A knowledgeable and detail-oriented assistant to the director who makes sure you get where you’re going.

--An academic home at 94 Bedford Street, where you can find advice, news, or a place to rest.

--A community of friends and alums deeply committed to the WGS program-- and therefore, to you and your future.

Much remains uncertain about the University of Southern Maine, its leadership, and its shifting self-definitions. Women and Gender Studies, however, has always embraced positive change, and we remain open to and hopeful about USM’s attempts to reimagine itself. As a scholarly program deeply embedded in Portland and other southern Maine towns, we intend to be central to the process of creating a university of which Portland can be proud. After all, as Alice Walker reminds us, the most “common way that people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” We do, and you do.  See you at 94 Bedford Street.

Prof. Lucinda Cole

Lucinda Cole

Director, Women and Gender Studies

Associate Professor, Department of English