NWSA Journal 15.2 (2003) 94-98
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The State of NWSA:
NWSA Presidential Address
The presidential address given at the National Women's Studies Association Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 2002.
Today we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) at the twenty-third annual conference in Las Vegas. On behalf of the Women's Studies and Conference Chair, Ellen Cronan Rose; Meg Wilson, Conference Coordinator; the Women's Studies volunteers serving on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, organizing committee; and the Plenary Committee, I am very pleased to extend a warm welcome to all of you.
Today's opening ceremony features my presentation on the "State of NWSA," which will be followed by a panel of former presidents who served between 1994 and 2001. It will be moderated by president-elect Maria Gonzalez. We miss the presence of former president Sandy Coyner, who was invited, but could not attend this meeting.
While former presidents will reflect on how they were able to shape NWSA during their respective terms in office, I want to look at the role and functions this organization could play in the coming years. I will do so as a relatively new member of NWSA, with a different perspective from that of NWSA-founding members.
I have been connected with Women's Studies for about twenty years now, thanks to some wonderful feminist friends I encountered upon my arrival in Columbia, Missouri. It was when I took the position of Director of the Women's Studies Program at the University of Missouri that I felt it necessary to become an active member of NWSA. In 1995, I attended my first NWSA conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. I was quite impressed with the dialogue, the debates, and the range of issues presented in the panels and plenary sessions. So I made the decision to become involved with groups that were, at the time, planning interesting initiatives such as reviewing and changing the role of program administrators within NWSA. I was elected to serve as member-at-large on the Governing Council; I also co-chaired, with Colette Morrow, the first, largest, and rowdiest gathering of the Association's history. At that time this Caucus of Program Administrators became the current Program Administration and Development Standing Committee to the Governing Council of NWSA. [End Page 94]
In 2001, I was elected president-elect, and I will serve my term as president until the end of this conference cycle. Finally, I will act as Conference Chair for the 2002 conference in New Orleans to complete my role as president in the organization. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve in these various capacities. It has been a true learning experience in a number of ways. I have also had the opportunity to meet many of you, so remarkably dedicated to the well being of this association.
I would like to highlight some accomplishments during my year as president.
- At the instigation of our dedicated treasurer Diana Scully, we at the Governing Council concurred that the twenty-fifth anniversary was an appropriate occasion to plan a fundraising campaign to generate sufficient revenue for the appointment of an executive director. This goal is proving to be harder to achieve than we anticipated. We have received generous gifts from our members. However, I want to urge those of you who have not yet done so, to contribute to this campaign with whatever is possible and within your means.
- I worked hard to create a more harmonious relationship among the different groups that encompass this organization: I became a member of the NWSA Journal Editorial Board, I proposed the panel of former presidents for this year's opening panel, I attended meetings representing NWSA, and have acknowledged and followed up on members' requests regarding important additions and changes in conference programming.
- We have also worked long and hard in the Plenary Committee to feature substantive plenary sessions. I believe we have been successful.