Director Darici’s Message


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We are pleased to share with you the accomplishments of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS). Our center continues to excel in research, teaching and engagement within FIU and the South Florida community. Women’s and Gender Studies continues to show strong leadership in the advancement of women, diversity, equity and LGBTQ+ visibility.

One of this past year’s highlights was the successful launch of three initiatives that will expand our center’s academic reach and community involvement. The center initiatives are: Women in STEM, Gender Based Violence Prevention, and FIU’s 100 Women. The Women in STEM initiative at FIU seeks to increase the number of women in science, math and engineering through outreach, recruitment and retention efforts. Our Center aims to achieve this goal by making FIU a family-friendly institution. We also aim to explore the intersections of gender within these fields. The Gender Based Violence Prevention initiative will educate students through course work and connect FIU with the South Florida community to contribute to violence prevention efforts. FIU’s 100 Women initiative honors female students, staff and faculty on their achievements, successes and contributions for a better society.

I am also proud to announce that the CWGS has secured two prestigious grants: the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant (NSF IT) and a Ware Foundation Grant. The NSF IT grant aims to make FIU a friendlier and more family-oriented environment for women and minorities. These goals will be achieved at FIU through a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, Bystander Intervention Training and STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence). The Ware Foundation Grant will bring South Florida and FIU communities together through education and activism which will bring awareness to prevention tactics.

In the past academic year, 8,638 students were enrolled in CWGS courses. The CWGS has been ranked one of the top ten academic departments for advancing Global Learning at FIU. Many of our students have served as interns in programs that range from Planned Parenthood to the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade. Non-curricular activities featured more than 35 events including research conferences, faculty seminars and cultural activities.

This year, CWGS introduced new courses to answer the needs of FIU’s students and to expand our course offerings for the Queer Studies Certificate. The Queer studies certificate is currently undergoing a curriculum revamp, and we’ve already seen an over 100% increase in enrollment as a result. We introduced two new, interdisciplinary LGBTQIA-focused courses entitled “Queer Rhetorics” and “Introduction to Transgender Studies.” Both courses seek to address problems of heteronormativity and to center the experiences of LGBTQIA individuals. In addition, CWGS instructor, Dr. Victoria Burns, developed a new and timely course entitled "It's Not Just Locker Room Talk: Understanding and Preventing Campus Sexual assault." The course has already attracted the attention of iheartradio, panther press, and the Miami Herald. We've also introduced a COIL course centered on "Gender Violence and the Law: Global Perspectives." This course employs a dynamic approach by partnering with a University in Brazil in order to tackle some of the more pervasive gender based violence issues, globally. We're excited to see the results of our innovative course offerings.

We also continued to help our South Florida community by organizing several signature events, including the South Florida arm of the National Women’s March, our newly minted LGBTQIA zero discrimination day education series, and our Meet the Authors event. Each of these events is meant to engage the women and minorities at FIU and show there’s always a path forward. Through these events we hosted changemakers from Equality Florida, the ACLU, and local authors. We hope to continue forging connections and opportunities for our FIU community.

Lastly, for their commitment, advocacy and efforts, I would like to express my deep gratitude and appreciation to all faculty, staff and community activists whose contributions and hard work have made this an excellent year for the center, FIU students and the larger FIU community.

Warm regards,

Yesim Darici, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost, STEM
Director, Center for Women's and Gender Studies
Professor of Physics