Mission Statement

Women Invigorating Curriculum & Cultivating Diversity (WICCD) honors the diversity that exists in Maine while also educating our campus and larger community about local, national, and international issues, initiatives, and ideas related to “diversity”. Because women have been historically underrepresented in social, cultural, political, institutional, and economic spheres, WICCD centers women, gender, and sexuality while working to challenges injustices and inequalities of all kinds.

We recognize that diversity is about all of us working toward equality, justice, inclusion, and respect for all races, genders, classes, sexualities, ethnicities, and abilities. WICCD works to support these values through events—panels, performances, lectures, workshops, campaigns, trainings, and initiatives—that enhance our curriculum and create a welcoming atmosphere for all of our diverse community members.

What is WICCD?

WICCD is a committee at UMA composed of faculty and staff who work toward gender equality and social justice. In addition to providing funding for events and initiatives related to our mission, WICCD works to provide programming that raises awareness and provides opportunities for education and engagement.

We also seek to provide resources and insights related to contemporary issues related to gender, sexuality, and diversity. Members of WICCD actively engage in and support the work of Rainbows Across UMA. Learn more about Rainbows Across UMA here!

Committee Leadership

Sarah Hentges
Associate Professor of American Studies

Michelle Lisi
VAWLT (Virtual, Accessibility, Writing, Library, and Technology) Tutor Coordinator

Rebecca White
Assistant Professor of History

This grant opportunity is open to all UMA students, faculty, and staff to support your ongoing learning or research projects on any women’s and gender studies related subject. Grants of up to $200 are available per person. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2021.

What kind of books are included? Books can be in any discipline or genre, fiction or non-fiction, but must be clearly related to some aspect of women, gender, and sexuality studies (including, for instance, masculinity, feminism, or queer culture). We especially encourage you to request books and resources written by and about marginalized people and/or add new perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, immigration status, class, disability, and other identities. Let us help build your library of women, gender, and/or sexuality-related books and resources!

The application process is quick and easy. Complete the application form with your contact information and list of requested books by March 31st.

Looking for Ideas? We Have Suggestions!

  • Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene Carruthers
  • Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman
  • Feminism is for Everybody, 2nd edition by bell hooks
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
  • On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life by Sara Ahmed
  • In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe
  • A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

UMA Spring 2021 Moose Book Club Reads

  • A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G.
  • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Each year, WICCD presents an award to one student, one faculty, and one staff member who each embody our mission, working to challenge injustices and inequalities of all kinds through their support of women, gender, and sexuality scholarship and advocacy.

Nominees can be any gender and can be submitted by any member of the UMA community, including fellow students, faculty, and staff. You are also welcome to nominate yourself.  Please use this form (link coming soon) to nominate one or more members of our UMA community who work to make UMA more “WICCD”.

Please make your nominations by Tuesday, April 13th, by entering a name and short description of this person’s work and commitment to WICCD-related topics and issues.

Alicia Bessey's headshot

The loss of Alicia Bessey in December 2020 rocked a community already struggling with the complications of a pandemic and political unrest. In the midst of a snow storm, we gathered by Zoom to grieve and to honor our memories of Alicia with a memorial service. We painted rainbows on rocks and placed them in the UMA Bangor Garden where Alicia worked hard to grow food for the community. We collected memorial notes to permanently display on the Bangor campus.

To further honor Alicia’s impact on UMA, we hope to establish a UMA scholarship in Alicia’s name; donate funds in her honor to organizations like The Bangor Humane Society, Mabel Wadsworth, and the Health Equity Alliance; commission a mural for her on the UMA-Bangor campus; and rededicate the Rainbows Space Alicia established in her name. 

Here are some ways that you can honor Alicia as well:

  • Paint rainbows (and other shiny things) on rocks to be placed in the UMA-Bangor Community Garden. Alicia contributed countless hours to working in the garden and we know her spirit will continue to live there with us. Feel free to visit this space and to leave a rock in her memory.
  • Send memorial notes, art, etc. to be displayed on the UMA-Bangor campus. We will have a temporary memorial space on campus, which will be made more permanent. Please send contributions to this display to Alissa Gervais at Eastport Hall, Room 126, 128 Texas Avenue Bangor, ME 04401.
Progress Pride flag

In honor of Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) 2020, WICCD and Rainbows Across UMA presented the Bangor and Augusta campuses with Pride flags to be flown annually for one week. We stand against violence inflicted upon transgender people and offer support and solidarity to BIPOC and LGBTQIA communities commemorating their losses.

We chose the “Progress Pride” flag, designed by Daniel Quaser, to honor the history of the original Pride rainbow flag, and also update it to emphasize the needs and experiences of brown, black, and transgender queer people who are often disproportionately impacted by violence in this struggle.

Endorsed by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council at UMA, we hope to increase the visibility of queer issues at UMA with these flags, and we charge our colleagues to take action as diversity agents in higher education. We also invite you to visit the UMA Rainbows Facebook page for more information, collaboration, and support.

Learn more about TDOR from GLAAD and PFLAG. For more information about ways to support local Maine initiatives to support transgender Mainers, please visit MaineTrans website.

What is WICCD?

WICCD is a committee at UMA composed of faculty and staff who work toward gender equality and social justice. In addition to providing funding for events and initiatives related to our mission, WICCD works to provide programming that raises awareness and provides opportunities for education and engagement. We also seek to provide resources and insights related to contemporary issues related to gender, sexuality, and diversity.

What are Rainbows Across UMA?

We are very proud to support the UMA LGBTQIA+ student, faculty, and staff group – Rainbows Across UMA. This group, originally a student group co-founded by UMA-Bangor students Alicia Bessey and Jennifer Stano in 2015, seeks to provide a safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ community and all allies. This group meets the first Monday of each month during the academic year for community building and discussion of issues of relevance to LGBTQIA+ folks.

For more information about UMS resources for queer students, please visit the University of Maine Rainbow Resource Room page.

What does WICCD do?

In the past decade at UMA, WICCD has brought a number of guest speakers and workshops to UMA including: The Breakbeat Poets, Be Steady (a queer performance artist), the Identify project (by UMA graduate and local artist Jodi Renshaw), Rachel Hills (author of The Sex Myth), and more. We also have provided and hosted Bangor Pride events on the campus including a panel discussion about healthcare, yoga classes, and a drag show.  In 2019 we started a $1000 book grant program to support learning and research on gender issues for UMA students, faculty, and staff. We also presented the Bangor and Augusta campuses with progress pride flags to be flown annually for a week beginning on Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

How long has WICCD been around?

Women in Curriculum (WIC) has existed as a committee and initiative in the UMaine System for more than 30 years. On the Bangor campus, under the leadership of Sarah Hentges, we revised WIC’s name to WICCD, invited the Augusta campus to participate, and expanded our mission to include student representation and more focus on social justice and diversity issues, in addition to our focus on women and gender.

We have created and administered the Safe Zone program, initiated the creation of all gender bathrooms on campus, and established a WICCD Resource Center in Belfast hall on the UMA-Bangor campus. Regular events include: The Clothesline Project, Women’s Voices Read-a-Thon, and Soup & Substance. We also have regularly featured students’ work in our events.

Are you gender inclusive?

Yes! We loudly and proudly include and support transwomen and non-binary people in our understanding of the term “women”. We reject exclusionary feminism of all kinds, and instead embrace intersectional analysis of complex and interlocking inequalities.

I am not a woman; can I be WICCD too?

Of course! While there are fundamental reasons why WICCD focuses on women, this focus does not mean that men are not welcome. In fact, educating men about sexism and partnering with allies across categories of identification is part of the work that WICCD does.

How do I participate?

We meet monthly via Zoom to discuss WICCD related issues at UMA and to plan events. Please email one of the co-chairs for more information and to be invited to our next meeting.  All are welcome!