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A WICCD Reboot (Women and Gender)

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Dear UMA Community,

We are all tired. We all work so hard. We can see change happening, but sometimes change seems impossibly slow. Over the past couple of years, due to a variety of factors, WICCD (Women Invigorating Curriculum and Cultivating Diversity) has lost momentum. However, we are back in action with some new (and old) ways to invigorate our campuses and curriculum!

Given the rise of women involved in politics, the reach and impact of the #MeToo movement, the evolution of pronouns, and the continued structural and societal barriers that exist on (and beyond) our campuses, we hope you agree that the work that WICCD does could not be more timely.

And, thus, we invite you to join us in setting our annual agenda and re-establishing the voices and visibility of women’s issues and the important education around gender, sexuality, and diversity that WICCD has provided at UMA.

More information about WICCD is included below. Please contact Sarah Hentges if you are interested in joining this committee. Any UMA faculty or staff member is welcome to join this committee. We will do some of our work via email and some work in meetings that will be scheduled soon. In the spring, Rebecca White (our new History faculty member in Augusta) will be co-chairing in order to grow our reach in Augusta and bring new dimensions to our work. We’re building from the foundations of WICCD with a fresh start; we hope you’ll join us!

Sincerely,

Sarah Hentges, Chair of Women Invigorating Curriculum and Cultivating Diversity (WICCD)

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 (see below), 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.

A short history

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mission Statement for Women Invigorating Curriculum and Cultivating Diversity (WICCD)

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.