Fall 2017: Gearing up for a new term!

As the new semester approaches, WGST at Mount Allison is excited to share that our faculty complement has expanded with three new tenure-track faculty members with primary or partial cross-appointments to our program. We will introduce each person in depth in future posts!

The program would like to thank all those near and far who offered their support and worked hard to ensure that this program is adequately staffed well into the future.

 

Advertisements

Fall semester: Welcome back!

The WGST program is looking forward to an exciting fall. We have a few announcements and a mini progress report on future visions for the program.

McCain Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, 2016-2017: The program is fortunate to welcome back Professor Tasia Alexopoulos in her new role as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She will be teaching the four core WGST courses this year: WGST 1001 and 2101 in the fall, and WGST 3101 and 4001 in the winter. You may contact her at talexopoulos at mta dot ca with questions about courses and program activities.

Program Director, 2016-2019: Dr. Leslie Kern will be returning as Program Director for a three-year term. She will also serve as Program Advisor for students. Dr. Kern taught in the program in 2009-2010 and has been a regular member of the Steering Committee, as well as Acting Director in 2014-2015. You may contact her at lkern at mta dot ca with program-related questions. Many thanks to Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton for her excellent leadership as Director in 2015-2016. We wish her a productive fall sabbatical.

WGST Society, 2016-2017: We are excited to have a passionate and committed group of students involved in the student society. The members of the executive team are: Natalie Mellon, Robin Bamber, Annie Sherry, Olivia Landry, Chelsey Brussard, Mizuki Matsuura, Cara Mackenzie, and Katharyn Stevenson. You can join the Facebook page Mount Allison Women’s and Gender Society through the Mount Allison Community Group hub.

Dean Spade Guest Lecture, October 6: Thanks to the hard work of two organizers, as well as the generous support of many programs and organizations, the WGST Program will be hosting the brilliant Dean Spade of the Seattle University School of Law for a lecture entitled: Can we survive mainstreaming? Trans politics and criminal punishment reform. The talk is free, open to the public, and will take place in Brunton Auditorium, October 6, at 7:30pm.

Social media: You can stay connected to the program through our Facebook page, or on Instagram: womensandgendermta.

Future of the program: Earlier this spring, the Steering Committee met to discuss a vision for the future growth and stability of the program. This year’s postdoctoral position is not a long-term solution to the need for tenure-track faculty in the program. We are extremely proud of the enormous growth in student numbers over the past three years and are aware of the demand for classes and perhaps even a major. We will be submitting a proposal for tenure-track hiring with a view to promoting a robust and growing program with a bright future at Mount Allison.

Status of the Program

The Women’s and Gender Studies steering committee has received confirmation that the WGST program will receive a 12-month McCain Postdoctoral Fellowship to sustain the program through the 2016/17 academic year. The McCain is a teaching fellowship that will include a 2-2 teaching load, allowing for all four core WGST courses to be taught in the coming year. This fellowship is funded through an endowment to Mount Allison University, so does not come from the university’s operating budget. We are grateful to have this source of funding.

We have also been assured that in the Fall of 2016, discussion will take place in the context of broader strategic planning to ensure the long term sustainability of the program. Although we would liked to have had something more concrete in place this term, we are pleased with this commitment from the university administration.

We would like to thank all of our supporters from across the country who took the time to write, call, tweet, and sign the petition, which currently has over 7,000 signatures. The support has been overwhelming and very encouraging. This change – from zero funding to a full-time fellowship – would not have been possible without the activism of the Mount Allison students and the support we received from alumni and faculty across the country (and beyond!) Thanks to everyone who helped us to send a clear message to Mount Allison University about the importance of Women’s and Gender Studies. We will keep everyone posted as this process goes forward and we know we can rely on supporters across the country if needed in the future.

Weekend Roundup -Feb 8, 2016

Here is a roundup and summary of things related to the WGST program that happened over the weekend, plus upcoming events for this week.

Students staged a silent protest outside of the Mount Allison University Board of Regents meeting on Friday, Feb 5. The WGST cuts were added to the agenda for the meeting.

Elizabeth May tweeted her support of the program!

Elizabeth may tweet

Mount Allison alumni created a video in support of the program:

Letters of support have continued to come in from across the country.

We have new links in our Media Coverage section.

We updated our FAQ, which you can see here.

What’s next?

There are budget town hall meetings this week. We encourage any one who is interested to come out and ask questions about the budget for next year. They are happening at the following dates and times.

February 9, 6 pm, Wu Centre (Dunn 113)
February 10, 1:30 pm, Library Theatre (Libr 316)

 

 

 

Keep the pressure on!

Thank you to everyone for the support and for helping to pressure the university to restore some funding to Women’s and Gender Studies.

We may have some partial help next year in the form of two stipends. This means money to pay a part-time faculty member to teach two courses for just over $6000 each.

We are not out of the woods yet. We had been told to expect nothing and only received money for half the core courses after a better-than-expected provincial budget and significant public attention. This is an indication of where WGST stands in the university’s priorities, and we do not yet have a plan for the continuing of the program.

The program is not sustainable at this level of funding and requires a sign of long-term commitment from the university.

Please help keep the pressure on! Students and alumni, let the university know what WGST means to you. Colleagues here at Mount A, let the university know that we need transparency and genuine communication. Supporters and colleagues across Canada, thank you so much for your letters, tweets, and posts.

The WGST Student Society Facebook page has information about upcoming student action. There is a letter writing campaign Friday, Feb. 4 from 12-4pm in McCain 125; letter templates will also be made available.

 

Faculty ask for “clear, credible communication” from administration

A letter to Robert Hiscock, sent in reply to the administration’s “FAQ” site posted on February 3rd:

Robert,

I’m very concerned about the content of the faq posted earlier today and communications over the past two days.

Courses are routinely scheduled before the budget is approved by the Board. Many or perhaps all departments have been told the plan for teaching resources next year and I understand that WGST was told unambiguously that there would not be resources to hire someone to teach courses next year.
There are many polite words for your announcement and the statements made by Gloria and Hans, but I think it is fairly clear to all that these statements are somewhere between deceptive and meaningless.
It’s widely believed that a good strategy in crisis management is to admit error, communicate clearly and then take action.
It is disappointing to me that our administration is still firmly in the “MtA falsely declares” world. No one I’ve talked to in the past two days thinks the administration has any credibility. We laugh about it, but it really isn’t very funny.
While I’m convinced there is a deliberate effort to deceive the community, this is actually irrelevant. The real problem is credibility. Clear, unambiguous and credible communication is necessary.

Andrew Irwin

Math and Computer Science