- A Note from WLRC Director
- 2020 WLRC Tuition Awards
- WLRC Spotlight: Sounds of Feminism
- WLRC News & Upcoming Events
- CAN Resources
- Staying Connected: Updates about COVID-19 and WLRC/CAN
- CCUSC Events & Resources
- Campus Opportunities
- Community Opportunities
- Connect with us!
A Note from WLRC Director
What Will We Do Differently?
For graduate and undergraduate students as well as faculty, it really does feel like THAT time of the semester, doesn’t it? That period when classes are about to end, prepping for final exams is in full gear, the final papers and group projects are due, and everyone is looking forward to when grades are submitted so we can collectively exhale. And get some sleep.
At UIC, as at most other universities in the U.S., a new kind of normal had to be invented in order to continue the work of teaching and learning under a pandemic regime. What we did not know in Spring 2020 when the pandemic first hit, we now do: having to study and work while physically separated from all other human beings with whom we are in community exacts a heavy psychological toll that is felt individually and collectively. To think, to read, to write, to recall, to create, to summarize, to critique – none of these activities that we take for granted in a university setting can be as it was before March 2020. And no one should be expecting or demanding such.
The transition to this new normal includes becoming accustomed to having children and animals enter our video meetings, sometimes in dramatic fashion, and seeing disruptions as welcome and even humanizing. But we must also listen to untenured women faculty worrying about how they will prepare and teach their classes successfully while trying to stay ‘productive’, and hoping that their universities will adjust both tenure clocks and work expectations (University of California at Merced has some ideas about how to do this; we should listen). Hear current doctoral students worrying about how little progress they are making in their writing, and wondering what will happen to them when they finish their dissertations before next summer but do not have jobs to apply for. We read about graduate programs suspending admissions of new cohorts, limiting the size of incoming cohorts, reorganizing or cutting funding. The numbers of international students are falling. Financial challenges at public institutions like UIC are likely to worsen next year. The neighborhoods and communities to which many of us belong are being ravaged by COVID-19, and not only in terms of illness. The homes from which our university community connect to Zoom everyday in order to work are not always secure. As businesses struggle to stay afloat, jobs are lost, each paycheck has to stretch farther than it usually did, and there’s no escape from violence that has exacerbated in so many households.
The members of the first-year cohort that entered college this Fall semester are often (and cheekily) referred to as the COVID-19 class; they seem to be doing their best to push through, stay focused and make it to their sophomore year. We may want to ask them – along with more advanced students – what has helped them to do their best work this semester and discern what faculty, administrators and family members alike need to do differently to make it possible for them to thrive.
Right now, what the CCUSC directors are hearing from students is cause for concern. Students are telling us about the exhaustion, anxiety, depression, feelings of being overwhelmed, and that the amount of time that it takes to complete assigned work is far more than they would have dealt with in a face-to-face setting. They are multi-tasking in ways that faculty might not even realize, juggling between obligations – to jobs, family and school - in even more constrained circumstances (physical and financial) than before the pandemic. I hear of stories of students supervising their siblings’ remote learning at the same time that they are attending UIC classes. In one of my Facebook groups, Black women faculty talk about students participating in online course meetings while being at work or on their way to a job.
On the other side of that are faculty – especially untenured and contingent instructors – who are juggling their own scholarly, financial, family and mental health needs even as they feel pressured to meet more often, create more versions of course materials to keep students engaged, make themselves available to meet with students online more often, or risk getting bad end-of-semester evaluations. Staff are connected to and support both students and faculty; they are also charged with keeping the work of the institution flowing, no matter whether they have access to public transportation or have flexibility in their work schedules to be able to supervise their own children (who are also remote learning) while getting the reports, preparing documents, helping students find support, register for classes, etc.
No matter your discipline, college, beliefs or rules about how professional training should take place - I think we recognize that this situation is unsustainable for the duration of the pandemic. As Jennie Brier reminds us in relation to HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day, responding to the pandemic requires more than preventing new COVID-19 infections. We – i.e. faculty, staff, heads of units, deans, students’ organizations – also need to think about how our relationships with each other are being reorganized or fractured by the demands of pandemic living. And that means we need to take a moment between this semester and the beginning of next to look at how we have managed to get through this first semester under a pandemic. We planned for Fall 2020 without knowing what it was really going to be like. Now that we’ve gotten through it, we need to ask ourselves the hard questions: what did we get right, whether intentionally, or not? What did we let go because we were forced to, but should have all along? What did we do that made things worse, harder, impossible, especially for students and staff? What did we consider essential – whether that reading, assignment, group project, committee, video meeting – that has not been so? What relationships did we neglect? Who could we learn from that we didn’t think to ask? What does our Fall 2020 work say about what we value and who we value? What can we learn and take forward into Spring 2021 to make it feel better for everyone? What can we chalk up to” pandemic lesson learned” and leave behind when we return to campus remotely in January 2021? I hope that we are brave enough and care enough about each other to do this necessary work.
As this is a very busy week, the 30th anniversary planning committee will not meet. Our last meeting for the semester will be on Thursday, December 17, 4 PM.
Because we need some joy –
WLRC welcomes the newest member of our feminists-in-training program! According to Kelly, his supervisor: “Thomas Birch Maginot was born on the evening of [Monday, November 16] with the help of the amazing nurses and midwives at UI Health. He came into the world kicking and screaming but has settled into being quite content as long as no one around him is trying to sleep. His big sister is thrilled with her new role. Can’t wait for you all to meet him soon!”
Congratulations to our newest WLRC Tuition Award recipients: Danielle Cortes (GWS; College of LAS) and Erica Olavarria (Bioengineering, Colleges of Engineering and Medicine)!
On December 11, stop by the party being hosted by Gender and Women’s Studies Program for graduating students (GWS majors and minors, Social Justice minors and Graduate Concentrators). They will have a DJ!
Don’t forget to keep DCC’s Virtual Community Care Kit nearby, and check out what’s happening in the other Cultural Centers!
For when you need a break, check out:
The Still Surviving exhibition featuring stories of women living with HIV/AIDS.
The film Coded Bias, which explores the intersections of artificial intelligence and white supremacy.
Learn about Bisa Butler whose incredible visual art practice of quilting is on exhibition at Art Institute of Chicago.
If you have news about accomplishments or opportunities that you want to share with WLRC and the UIC community, please do send them our way! We will feature them in our last newsletter of this semester.
Best of luck with your studies, applications and wrapping up projects for the year. Stay safe and be good to each other!
Financial need and debt are issues of gender and racial equity. Across the U.S., women students carry more than two-thirds of all college debt, with Black women finishing their college education in more debt than any other group (AAUW “Deeper in Debt” report, 2020). Each academic year, UIC's Women’s Leadership & Resource Center offers financial support towards tuition for undergraduate study at UIC. The goal of the WLRC Tuition Award is to support women students - regardless of major - who have a great deal of financial need that is not being met by financial aid or loans. Applications are especially encouraged from women who are members of marginalized groups e.g. lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women, women of color, women with disabilities, survivors of gender-based violence, undocumented students, veterans, and students returning to college to complete their education. Applications for WLRC Tuition Awards can be downloaded here, and are accepted until funds are exhausted.
Meet the newest awardees: Danielle Cortes (Gender & Women's Studies) and Erica Olavarria (Bioengineering).
"I want to express how much this scholarship has lifted weight off my shoulders. I am a full-time student at UIC studying Gender and Women Studies. Ever since we moved to remote education, I have maintained being a full-time student and helping my niece and nephew with their online learning too. It has been very stressful this semester, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This scholarship and the ones I receive from FAFSA are the only ways I can attend UIC. This award means so much to me because it allows me to finish my last semester at UIC and perhaps look into graduate school. Not only will the WLRC Tuition Award help reduce student debt, but also provide some financial relief so I can take care of living expenses."
"I am so incredibly grateful to be awarded the WLRC Tuition Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. By receiving this award, I can focus on completing my degree as a first-generation college student and woman in engineering, and less on working long hours to afford it. Furthermore, receiving this award shows me that it is possible to come from a disadvantaged background and still obtain a college degree, even when it feels like all of the odds are against you. Thank you, WLRC, for being an advocate for women in their educational pursuits. I can’t wait to see what my future holds!"
WLRC Spotlight: Sounds of Feminism
Want to learn more about the kinds of feminist ideas that inspire WLRC's programs? Every week on WLRC's Instagram and Facebook, we'll be sharing critical feminist conversations and insights on key concepts, ideas, and debates that shape our everyday lives.
Words and ideas matter. So does form. WLRC’s “Sounds of Feminism” is intended to educate, engage, and inspire our UIC community and beyond. How? By featuring critical feminist conversations about history, politics, media, culture and beyond. Whether you are new to feminist struggles and debates, or have weathered all the ups and downs and are still waving your flag, you will find “Sounds of Feminism” useful, provocative, and always loudly pushing for justice.
We offer this as a tool for everyone to learn the importance of reaching into history to see how we got to where we are, how feminist warriors use language to heal, build bridges, and speak back to power, and to point to ways of working in solidarity with communities that might be different from the ones that we identify with. Mostly though, “Sounds of Feminism” is about helping you make your own sounds, as you find a feminism that you can own.
“I set out to research feminism in the 90s,” says Lisa Levenstein, “but the story I found was about women of color, working-class women, and LGBT activists.” In this podcast, Levenstein gives us insight about how understanding the difficult history of the United States and recognizing how the fight for gender equity that has taken place through marches and grassroots activism gives us the tools to organize under an intersectional banner for lasting change.
Don't Cancel Your Class!
Are you thinking about cancelling class or assigning “busy work” because you can’t teach due to personal, family, or work obligations? Don't Cancel Your Class!
Arrange for a CAN presentation instead and keep your students learning and engaged even in your absence. DCYC! Is for any instructor--tenure-track, adjunct/contingent, graduate teaching assistants--who wants to make alternative arrangements for a class. We offer a variety of topics, including consent, dating violence, harassment/stalking (online and in person), healthy relationships, and toxic masculinity.
WLRC will be working remotely for the Fall 2020 semester. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and will continue to stay connected with you through email and social media.
The Campus Advocacy Network will continue to serve UIC students, faculty, and staff. Our confidential advocate is available for virtual appointments. To schedule a meeting or request more information, please email email@example.com. You can also call (312) 413-8206 and leave a voicemail.
We are open to connecting with you in multiple ways:
- Phone: (312) 413-8206 or (312) 488-9784
- Video conference (Webex or Google Hangouts)
- Online chat (Google Chats)
More info & resources
UIC's Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change will all be open and available virtually this semester! Click each center's name below for this week's events, services, and resources:
African-American Cultural Center
Arab American Cultural Center
Asian American Resource and Cultural Center
Disability Cultural Center
Gender and Sexuality Center
- Check back next semester for new programs!
Latino Cultural Center
- Check back next semester for new programs!
UIC Online Events Accessibility Guide
The Disability Resource Center and the Disability Cultural Center have partnered to create this guide, which offers a consolidated resource for event planners as they facilitate accommodations. It details ways to build accessibility into events from the start and covers
- Responding to Access Requests
- Setting Up ASL/CART in Online Platforms
- Facilitating Events for Accessibility
- Access Practices for Events of All Sizes.
COMMUNITY BUILDING AND WELLNESS
Friday, December 11
Please join us for a celebration and dance party honoring GWS Majors, Minors, SJ Minors, and GWS Grad Concentrators graduating this Winter 2020. We lift up the naes of our graduates, hear remarks from Golden Apple Award-Winning Radical Educator Jenine Wehbeh, and then switch over to Twitch for a dance party with DJ Emancipation! For questions or accomodations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for a deep community as you navigate Covid? Longing for a fresh approach to spirituality? Need some practices that help you stay rooted as you organize and agitate for justice? Join the Inclusive Collective, UIC's LGBTQ-inclusive Christian ministry.
Gender and Women's Studies Spring 2021 Courses
GWS is offering some amazing courses this spring, including ones on contemporary Latina literature and gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Check them out!
JOB, INTERNSHIP, and VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
College of Nursing Undergraduate Research Assistant Position
Are you an undergraduate student and interested in an hourly paid research assistant position? If yes, please contact Dr. Sarah Abboud to learn more about the research position. Email: email@example.com
This funding opportunity aims to support a long-term goal of the Strike Force: to create UIC structures and norms that facilitate community engaged scholarship developed in collaboration with community priorities and address systemic racism and its devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of communities of color. Applications are due December 4, 2020.
Contact Gabriela Peña with questions.
Thursday, December 3
Join the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London for a talk with Ronak Kapadia on how a contrapuntal queer feminist analysis of visionary aesthetics in the work of London-based Palestinian visual artist Larissa Sansour provides an alternate perceptual regime through which to understand the “facts-on-the-ground” of contemporary US/Israeli security policing and counterinsurgency warfare. Find out more, including how to register here.
Friday, December 4
Join Haymarket Books for a panel with Jesse Sharkey and Beverly J. Silver who will discuss the power of teachers unions and the fight for racial justice, equitable funding, and democracy. For the past 10 years teacher unionists across the country have built the most powerful strikes in a generation. From red states to blue states, Chicago to Arizona, teachers are rising up to challenge vouchers, privatization and racially disparate school funding schemes. Why have teachers been able to turn the tables on the austerity program and charter industry in such a short period of time? Find out more and register here.
December 9-11, 2020
OutSummit is a space to share insights, challenges and best practices, and to strategize across civil society, state and private sector boundaries for the human rights of LGBTIQ people. Our keynote speakers this year will be Hamed Sinno, lead singer of the Lebanese-American indie-rock band Mashrou' Leila, and Filipino American supermodel and trans rights activist Geena Rocero.
Thursday, December 13
Join the Chicagoland Trauma-Informed Congregations Network for a special Post-Election Community of Practice. Using Non-Violence Communication and Restorative Justice Principles we will explore the question of How do we speak to trauma and faith traditions in addressing the polarities at this time?
In this 2-hour session network members and Rev. Michelle Day and Hema Pokharna will guide us through a presentation and discussion on addressing polarities - opposites through the intersection of faith and restorative justice. Register here.
Call for Submissions:
Palestinian American Research Center
PARC's four 2021-2022 fellowship competitions are now open! After reading all the information and checking the corresponding page on our website, please contact us with any questions.
NEH/FPIRI Fellowships for Scholars Conducting Humanities Research in Palestine
Applications due January 11, 2021
Fellowship awards $4,200 per month
Fellowships for U.S. Scholars Conducting Field-Based Research on Palestine
Applications due January 4, 2021
Fellowship awards up to a maximum of $9,000
More details are available at: http://parc-us-pal.org/
Have you checked out our websites (WLRC and CAN)? We add lots of useful content throughout the year, so be sure to bookmark both!
Get social with us!
We post regularly on WLRC's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and on CAN's Facebook.
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