Assistant Professor, General Faculty

Department of Women Gender & Sexuality

The Women Gender & Sexuality Department at the University of Virginia seeks applications to fill a full-time Assistant Professor position on the Academic General Faculty. This is a teaching-oriented position that involves teaching 3 courses in the Fall semester and 3 courses in the Spring semester each year. The successful candidate will be expected to teach and advise students, and to perform service to the Department, the College & Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the University, and the profession. Teaching areas of particular need include Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies, Feminist Theory, and/or Queer Theory; the successful candidate will also offer courses and seminars in his or her fields of specialization.

Applicants must hold a PhD at the time of appointment, and must demonstrate strong commitment to high quality teaching and advising at the college level. Previous teaching experience in a Women Gender & Sexuality (or similar) department or program is required.

Review of applications will begin on September 18, 2018, and will continue until the position is filled. The appointment is expected to start in July, 2019 with classroom teaching to begin in Fall semester, 2019.

To apply, visit jobs.virginia.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=85376. Complete an a Candidate Profile online and attach the following: a cover letter of interest describing teaching experience and listing proposed courses, a curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references. In addition, please have reference letter writers email letters directly to wgsuva@virginia.edu.

For questions about the application process, please contact Savanna Galambos, Faculty Search Advisor, skh7b@virginia.edu.

UVA assists faculty spouses and partners seeking employment in the Charlottesville area. To learn more please visit http://provost.virginia.edu/dual-career.

For more information about UVA and the surrounding area, please visit http://uvacharge.virginia.edu/guide.html.

The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Women, Gender and Sexuality Department 30th Annual Essay Contests

WGS Announces Winners of 2018 Essay Contests

The Women, Gender & Sexuality Department announces the award winners for best undergraduate and graduate essays focused on women, gender and/or sexuality.


Zoe Pettler - Acquitting the U-Haul: Temporality and Intimacy in Lesbian Relationships



Lauren Haumesser - "Domestic Institutions”: Gendered Language and the Debates over Territorial Slavery


CONGRATULATIONS to our winners!


Imagine this: you check in at a doctor’s office and are asked to fill out a personal information form. Moving through the list of questions, you arrive at one that asks if you are male or female. What if neither choice is appropriate for you?

For members of the transgender community, this is a common experience.

At UVA Health System, closing this information gap has become an important goal. Last year, the Medical Center began participating in the Health Equality Index — a nationally recognized benchmarking tool — to gauge our progress in serving the unique needs and expectations of transgender and LGBTQ patients. Our 2017 score — which is a benchmark for ongoing improvement — was 60 out of 100.

Recently announced, our 2018 Health Equality Index score was 95 out of 100.

First Steps
Improvement efforts have been guided by a multi-disciplinary Transgender Advisory Committee. One of its first recommendations was to participate in the 2017 Health Equality Index. Created by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization, the index evaluates how well healthcare facilities are providing equity and inclusion to their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees.

“Our 2017 score (60 out of 100) showed we had a way to go in providing health equity. Those results helped us focus our improvement efforts,” explains Patient Experience Officer Bush Bell, who is an advisory committee co-chair.

Between 2017 and 2018, the advisory committee recommended that the Medical Center lay a stronger foundation for serving LGBTQ patients by:

  • Revising and better communicating non-discrimination policy
  • Requiring that the most senior leaders in each work area complete a training series, LGBTQ-Centered Care: An Executive Briefing

“This initiative is centered in respect for all patients and staff in the UVA Health System. We want to provide tools and education to make it easy and natural to do the right thing when interacting with our transgender and LGBTQ community members,” says advisory committee co-chair David Repaske, PhD, MD, Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology and Acting Chief, Pediatric Nephrology.

2018 Focus — Training and New Epic Tools
“We have a lot of work to do in 2018. Many groups are requesting training and educational workshops. Caregivers are asking for enhanced Epic tools to improve documentation so they can better care for their LBGQT patients,” Bell reports.

Training The advisory committee has established training partnerships with the Center for Affiliated Learning and the National LGBT Health Education Center, both of which offer many online classes. All team members are expected to complete at least one of three recommended classes this year:

  • Providing Quality Care to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Patients: An Introduction for Staff Training — This is an overview course for all team members.
  • Achieving Health Equity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People — This course is designed for clinicians who want to learn more about this patient population.

These courses are now in the LMS (NetLearning). To enroll, please log in to your NetLearning account and search for them under the Learning Opportunities (Enroll) tab.

New Epic Tools — The advisory committee is assessing a new electronic medical record module that captures clinically relevant information such as biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and a patient’s preferred name. The module is available on our Epic Phase 2 platform, but has not been activated.

“Our current medical records only contain binary — male or female — information about a patient’s sexual profile,” notes Bell. “When we upgraded our Epic system last summer, we opted to delay installation of the new software until clinical and administrative leaders had an opportunity to assess its utility.”

The advisory committee is now supporting leaders in making that assessment.

“As we strive to put patients at the center of all that we do, we often need to step beyond our current approach and processes,” Bell says. “Serving and caring for members of the transgender and LGBTQ communities requires a willingness to act with respect and compassion, to learn and speak their language and to gain a deeper understanding of their unique medical needs. We are proud of the progress we are making and are counting on all team members to help us provide health equity to all of our patients.”

Transgender Advisory Committee Members

  • Bush Bell
  • David Repaske, MD, PhD

Community Members

  • Roxanne Barreto
  • Lou Weakley

Health System Team Members

  • Leah Beard
  • Susanna Brent
  • Dallas Ducar
  • Mary Ann Harkins
  • Rachel Holmes
  • Jamie Hughes
  • April Kimble
  • Georgina King
  • Susan Kirk, MD
  • Kathryn Susanne Laughton
  • Rebecca Lewis
  • Amy Sarah Marshall
  • George Minor
  • Casey Morrison
  • Gary Nimax
  • Mark Pulczinski
  • Colby Rountree
  • Mary Sullivan
  • Cindy Westley

University of Virginia Best

We are pleased to announce that UVA has been named the best college for LGBTQ+ students in Virginia! This new ranking is created by the partnership of Best Colleges and Campus Pride, who curated the list (http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/best-colleges-for-lgbt-students/) based on their criteria of inclusivity factors. What a neat milestone and congratulations to everyone for all their hard work and support!


Taylor Lamb had just decided to postpone a panel of LGBT speakers of color when a call went out for proposals for funding from the University of Virginia. A small grant, Lamb thought, would help her sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho, try to hold the event again.

UVa’s Flash Funding project was announced at the beginning of September. The grant was awarded to projects that work toward “Achieving the Culture and Environment We Value,” with preference for ideas for programming that address unconscious bias and racial tension.

Immediately, proposals began pouring in, said Archie Holmes, vice provost for academic affairs. About a month after the call went out, Holmes said he has awarded all of the $100,000 available to eight projects. He even asked Provost Tom Katsouleas to shunt a little bit more money so that he could fully fund the final grant.

“Sometimes, you just need to get something started,” Holmes said. “This money allows them to get started.”

Holmes said he and other university leaders first got the idea for a diversity project about a year ago. The particular idea for the grant came in August, after seeing a funding initiative from the Association of American Colleges & Universities.

They decided to seek projects that would connect the city and the university and tackle racial bias. Holmes didn’t directly choose any of the projects, but he said he appreciated the three chosen that involve the community.

“Those were the ones that gave back the most to me,” he said.

Christine Mahoney, director of UVa’s social entrepreneurship program, proposed one of those partnerships. The “New Vinegar Hill” project — developed by Mahoney, UVa professors Bevin Etienne and Elgin Cleckley and City Councilors Wes Bellamy and Kathy Garvin — aims to help the city have a community-driven checklist for approaching future redevelopment projects.

“There is a history in Charlottesville, and in lots of cities, that when redevelopment happens, it’s top down,” Mahoney said. “The destruction of Vinegar Hill and relocation of those communities to Friendship Court and other areas was not a community plan; the communities were subject to that plan.”

She already had been working with community leaders and thinking about possible ways to harness social entrepreneurship classes toward racial justice initiatives. When the call came from the provost’s office for projects, Mahoney said it provided the impetus and ability to put a proposal together.

“All eyes have been on Charlottesville, in a bad way, but maybe there’s a silver lining where people maybe are thinking about how to move beyond divisions,” Mahoney said.

Mahoney’s project aims to use the architectural concept of design thinking to generate and refine ideas for community redevelopment.

Design thinking, said Cleckley, an assistant professor of architecture and design thinking, describes the process of doing research, talking to lots of people, prototyping ideas and suggesting solutions.

“There’s a way to form relationships here. This new way of thinking is very inclusive,” Cleckley said. “We’re at a time of new types of conversation. One thing that everyone has is a desire to talk and to be listened to.”


It is fitting that we feature Annie Forrest as one of our October Spotlight profiles, since Annie's work for the One Love Foundation--a relationship violence programming provider, founded to honor UVA student Yeardley Love--aligns with the mission of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Annie interned with the Women's Center Gender Violence and Social Change program, and says, "My professors and peers at UVA were pivotal in helping me find my strength to do this work."

Read on to learn more about Annie, including her affinity for both Leslie Knope AND Ron Swanson.


When and why did you attend UVA? What did you study?

I graduated from UVA in 2015 and double majored in Psychology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality. I attended UVA because my entire family went to Virginia Tech and I so wanted to be different that I chose the rival school. No one else from my high school even applied to UVA, so I knew I would be forging my own path. My family still gives me Virginia Tech-themed gifts during the holidays. C’mon everyone, I already graduated. There is nothing that can be done now.


The work/life pathway to where you are now, was that totally planned? Organic? Some combination?

I am a survivor of sexual violence and like many other survivors, I find great empowerment by doing prevention work around sexual and domestic violence. Working at the One Love Foundation is a dream come true for that reason. Although this is not the path I thought I would be headed down when I arrived at UVA, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to educate and empower young people every day about relationship abuse and how to help themselves and their friends. My professors and peers at UVA were pivotal in helping me find my strength to do this work. I am also still unsure how a small town country girl from the mountains of Southwest Virginia found herself living in the middle of New York City, but I am so happy with where life took me thus far. 


How has your view of yourself as a feminist or your view of feminism changed over time?

When I arrived at UVA, I thought “feminist” was a dirty word. Growing up in a hyper-conservative, white, Christian area, I did not experience many conversations about feminism and privilege. Somehow I ended up in the Introduction to Women and Gender Studies with Amanda Davis the first semester of my first year. Everything changed. “Feminist” is now one of the first words I use to describe myself and every day I strive to become a better, more inclusive, and more intersectional feminist.


What do you wish you had known while an undergrad?

Nothing is free once you leave college. Take advantage of every free service you can – counseling, the gym, career services, food, etc.


Who’s going to play you in the movie of your life?

I tell people I am a combination of Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation. Maybe they can split the role.




Describe your perfect work environment.

Lots of space and time to nap. You know, to be more productive overall.


What’s your most unpopular opinion?

I love TSA. I fly in and out of airports at least once a week for One Love and I really appreciate their efficiency. It typically takes me less than five minutes to get through security with TSA Pre-check, even at LaGuardia and JFK. Their Instagram account will also make you cry from laughter.


What’s one object in your life you’re so attached to it has to be with you every day?

Tums. I am mildly allergic to so many foods that I refuse to stop eating. You can find Tums in all my purses – rolls, bottles, even loose ones. 


What items can always be found in your fridge?

Sadly, nothing – I travel too much to keep a stocked fridge, so there’s usually nothing but a bottle of wine and some baby carrots. 


Tell us about a time when a risky move paid off.

Although One Love’s headquarters are just north of New York City, my focus region is Northeast Florida. I spend a great deal of time in Jacksonville and did not know anyone in that city when I started. So, I downloaded Bumble BFF and messaged this guy something along the lines of “Hi, I have a serious partner, but I don’t know anyone down here. Want to help me make some friends?” He started inviting me to social events, and a couple months later, he and his roommates had a room open up in their apartment. I wanted to stop staying in hotels all the time and save One Love a lot of money, so now I live in their spare room when I am in Jacksonville. They are the best roommates I have ever had and I cannot believe how serendipitously it all worked out.


The WGS Department now offers a graduate certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies.  Open to graduate students who are already enrolled in Ph.D. programs in UVA’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the new certificate offers interdisciplinary coursework, mentoring, and certification. This will help graduate students add expertise in Gender & Sexuality Studies, meet others with similar interests, and qualify for academic positions in WGS departments as well as in their home disciplines.  To learn more, click the included link below.


What does it mean to “be a man,” and why does it matter? The answer is more complicated than you might think, but it’s a topic that students in two University of Virginia courses have taken head-on.

One of the summer-term courses took a more philosophical approach and the other a more psychosocial approach, with some overlap, examining ideas about what it means to “be a man.” Matthew Andler, a doctoral student in the Department of Philosophy, just finished teaching “Masculinity.” At the same time, Lisa Speidel, a full-time lecturer in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality, taught “Men and Masculinities.”

Masculinity is generally defined as a combination of biological and social characteristics or learned behavior. Students in the summer courses explore that it’s not just a matter of biology and physical traits; there are too many variations and exceptions to a simple dual model of male and female. Concepts of masculinity and femininity also vary among cultures, and over time within the same culture. For instance, upper-class male fashion in Thomas Jefferson’s time included lacy shirts, wigs and stockings – items that would not be considered manly today.

Although the terms “gender” and “sex” are sometimes used interchangeably, specialists use the term “sex” to refer to biological features or the label someone is assigned at birth, and “gender” to refer to extra-biological features, such as social role or self-conception.

People may seem to favor simplistic explanations of what constitutes a man or woman. However, as changes in society have shown, definitions get complicated, especially when homosexuality and transgenderism are considered, the course instructors agreed.

Speidel, who has taught her course every semester for four years, got involved in the topic from more than 20 years in anti-sexual violence advocacy. She worked for the Sexual Assault Resource Agency for nine years, including leading training programs at UVA and working with sexual assault peer education groups on Grounds. Being a teaching assistant for now-retired professor Bob Covert’s popular course on multicultural education while a doctoral student in social foundations at UVA’s Curry School of Education also influenced her approach, she said, as did her scholarship in women’s studies. She also taught the multicultural education course after getting her Ph.D. in 2010.

Andler, who is teaching his course on masculinity for the first time, emphasized the importance of feminist philosophy to the study of men and masculinity. He claimed “men are not oppressed along the axis of gender. The very social structures that, in part, cause unhealthy masculinities are also central to patriarchy. Although men are privileged in a gender hierarchy, gender roles, norms and symbols can negatively affect men.”

Speidel calls it “the man box” – stereotypical expectations that define men in certain ways; if there’s something about them that’s outside the box, they might suffer for it. It’s a big contributing factor in bullying and violence, she said. Words associated with femaleness, femininity and homosexuality are used to put down boys and young men, which is negative for everyone.

In their classes, which wrapped up last week, both teachers sought to provide an open atmosphere for discussion, even as they challenged traditional assumptions.

“Personally, I want all types of people in this class,” Speidel said.

Isaiah Wilkins, a member of the UVA men’s basketball team who took Speidel’s class, said, “The class really opened my eyes to different struggles that people are facing. I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in yourself, and this class really pushed me to consider other people.” 

Wilkins, who’s majoring in African-American studies and minoring in women, gender and sexuality, said he appreciated the way Speidel went about addressing topics that could possibly be controversial.

“Growing up, I never thought twice about my gender,” said Jordan Ferbrache, a recent UVA graduate who took the class last summer. “After reading the description of [Speidel’s] course, I realized that this class could turn my attention to a topic that I would not have pondered on my own.”

Ferbrache said the course was one his favorites. “I would recommend that everyone take it,” he said. “Furthermore, I would highly encourage those who are NOT interested. Those who are not interested would be surprised how interesting and applicable this subject is to everyday life.”

He said the class gave him an awareness he had not previously had. “One thing I have learned is that we subconsciously know most of the material (men have feelings, the man-box). However, our society has buried that knowledge so deep that many people have trained themselves to think that acting according to our gender is a norm.”

Although not much has been written about masculinity in the discipline of philosophy, Andler is pursuing philosophical research on the topic. “We proficiently employ concepts of masculinity, but what is masculinity? Just as is the case for justice, free-will, existence, etc., we can’t answer the question simply by opening a dictionary,” he said.

Speidel said one of the main objectives of her course was to get students thinking about how to promote healthy masculinity. For instance, a movement called Men Can Stop Rape enlists men to be allies against sexual violence and promotes using their strength in supportive ways. Or looking at courage, often considered a masculine trait, Speidel encourages more men to have the courage to speak up as bystanders.

Another of Speidel’s students, rising fourth-year Haden Parrish, who is double-majoring in sociology and African and African-American studies, has worked as a resident assistant and as a “big brother” to local middle-school boys in the Men’s Leadership Project, a program of UVA’s Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center.

“This class seemed like a great opportunity to process my experiences, learn for the future and contribute to the conversation,” he said. “A key part of the class philosophy is that while men do have so much male privilege, not all of masculinity is positive, and understanding when it can be toxic is one step to furthering equality for all genders.

“As a man and as a person, that is something I can apply to my everyday life.”





New additions to WGS course offerings for Fall:

WGS 3559           Queer European History              

WGS 3559           Women and Music

WGS 3559           Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnography

WGS 4559           Indigenous Women & Globalization


For details, please refer to SIS or http://wgs.virginia.edu/content/fall-2017

Let’s talk about sex

Geeta Patel, Director of the UVA in India Program sent us this article about an event she recently participated in. Click through and have a read.


We have opened up a new section of Intro to Women, Gender & Sexuality that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:30-4:45PM.  WGS 2100-004 with Abigail Arnold. Please sign up in SIS if that works for you.

This 4th section makes our Intro class available to 30 more students!

WGS Levering Map

We have moved from Minor Hall to Levering Hall.  Please come visit us and check out the new space.