On Tuesday, the University of Michigan announced the appointment of Anna Kirkland as director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. The position change went into effect Sept. 1.
Kirkland has been a professor of women’s studies and political science at the University since 2004 and is also the current director of the Science, Technology and Society Program. Kirkland previously served as associate director for the IRWG from 2014 to 2017.
Kirkland will be replacing Sarah Fenstermaker, whom Kirkland worked closely with during her time as associate director. Fenstermaker has served as director of IRWG for the past five years.
“The progress IRWG has made toward success in supporting faculty gender research, administering extramural funding for faculty research and providing stimulating dialogue about gender, in no small measure is a result of Anna's efforts,” Fenstermaker wrote in an email interview. “I believe she is perfectly prepared to be the next IRWG director, and I have every confidence that she will continue to contribute to IRWG in new and innovative ways.”
One of Kirkland's main goals is to bring the research done by IRWG into the spotlight, both on the University’s campus and on a larger national scale.
“I’m really trying to think of ways to promote the research that we do, particularly our research faculty,” Kirkland said. “We have journalists reaching out to us, and we connect with them, but I think we could do a lot more of that.”
As director, Kirkland says she has more oversight of the research projects done with IRWG — but her position is to promote the projects, not influence them. She also mentioned creating a research blog as another way to reach out to journalists and get the word out about the research done at IRWG.