Inside CAS

College of Arts and Sciences


Changing the Face of Diversity at UNCW, One Woman at a Time

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Written by Morgan O'Neal ’17; Photo by Jeff Janowski

With all the changes being made to the Office of Diversity, the director of Women’s Studies and Resource Center (WSRC) is planning to bring positive change to the department. Dr. Katherine Montwieler, professor in the Department of English, has been working to connect the WSRC to the Wilmington Community. Her biggest initiative is to create a major in Women’s Studies and to improve the overall diversity on campus.

The Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion consists of El Centro Hispano, The Upperman African American Cultural Center, LGBTQIA Resource Office, and Women’s Studies and Resource Center. Over the years, the LGBTQIA Resource Center has become a haven for LGBT students. Montwieler wants the same influence from the Women’s Studies Resource Center. Currently, the center assists students involved in the Collaboration for Assault Response and Education (CARE) and other inspired students.

Montwieler’s primary goal with Women’s and Gender Studies is to grow the department to eventually include a major. She says, "Women's Studies courses fill every semester due to the fact that many fulfill University Studies requirements. We need more full-time positions to keep up with the demand." Women’s Studies’ connection with other departments inspires Montwieler to show its multidisciplinary value to the university. The department has a minor and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies, but she is fighting for more professors to grow the department.

Montwieler has opened up a network between WSRC and youth within the Wilmington community. One such partnership includes the Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, a women-only charter school of grades 6 through 12. Montwieler gave advice to students hoping to make a difference: “Working together, we are stronger than we are individually.” She hopes to create scholarships for Wilmington high school students for Women’s Studies. In 2014, UNCW hosted the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association Conference. The WSRC has since adopted the idea and started the UNCW Women’s Conference, where students have the opportunity to meet with local professional women, faculty, and business leaders with the goal of empowering the women of our university. The 3rd annual UNCW Women’s Conference will be held February 18th at Fisher Student Center. The WSRC is also hosting a speaker series for Women History Month in March. For more information, go to