Center Celebrates 15 Years of Working for Women
Anniversary to be Observed with Gender Studies Lecture Series Kickoff
Sep. 22, 2011
The Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein Women’s Center is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. More than an estimated 40,000 people have been served by the Center through its various services and programs.
The milestone will be marked with the kickoff of the annual Gender Studies Lecture Series at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, followed by a reception in the McDermott Suite at the McDermott Library. The Galerstein Women’s Center and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies are partnering to present the lectures.
The center was named in honor of Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein, former dean of the School of General Studies (now the School of Interdisciplinary Studies). Galerstein was an advocate for increased opportunities for women.
The idea for the center was hatched during discussions among Galerstein and several other faculty women who regularly met for Association for Professional Women meetings. The Association addressed issues such as recruitment of women, harassment, tenure, equity, support, maternity leave and networking.
Dr. Karen Prager, a professor of psychology in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, said it has been gratifying to see the center make a difference.
“Both the Gender Studies program and the Women’s Center have had a very positive impact on the climate at UT Dallas for women, and they are raising awareness of the incredibly rich legacy of scholarship that is available now on gender and what makes men and women who they are,” said Prager, who is one of the center’s founding members. “I couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of it, and for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Gender Studies program to be a part of it.”
Lauren M. DeCillis, the Galerstein director, said the center has evolved to take on roles beyond those of a traditional women’s center. For instance, the center addressed awareness of sexual assault on campus by developing a response team, training and programs. The center also worked with the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement to launch MentorNet, an e-mentoring program for female STEM students who are linked up with mentors from various industries.
The Comet Camp for Girls (at right) and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (below) are part of the center's support for girls interested in math, science and technology disciplines.
Faculty, staff and students can also receive counseling if they have issues related to relationships, identification and sexuality, or life transitions.
“I think that’s what has always been our strength over the last 15 years and what we’re most proud of is that it seems like the people that we touch are the people going through life changes and we help them transition through those life changes,” DeCillis said.
DeCillis said the center’s impact has been in helping women lift one another up.
“The impact has been fostering an atmosphere of support and passing-the-torch kinds of activities so that women graduate from UT Dallas, and helping them to develop those kinds of characteristics where they also do outreach to other women and help them succeed,” she said.
A History of Helping
The Galerstein Women's Center opens in the Student Union. The center is named in honor of Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein, former dean of the School of General Studies (now the School of Interdisciplinary Studies).
October 1997 – The Women’s Center forms its first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure team.
April 1998 – The Women’s Center recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month on campus with programs to raise awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence issues.
Self Defense Class 2001
January 2003 – The Safe Zone project is developed with the Student Counseling Center, the Multicultural Center and International Student Services. This signature project promotes a respectful ally environment for people of all differences.
June 2003 – The Women’s Center brings the Mobile Mammography van on campus, which becomes an annual service.
July 2003 – The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau commissions the Women’s Center to work on the Wi$e Up program, which provides seed money to start the Women’s Center Scholarship fund.
September 2005 – The Women’s Center addresses sexual assault awareness on campus by developing the UniTeD Against Sexual Assault project.
April 2006 – The Women’s Center develops its first awards program, “Spirit of Women,” for students, staff and faculty members.
October 2006 – The Women’s Center unveils the “Lilypad,” a private room where mothers can nurse their babies, a first for the campus.
September 2008 – The Women’s Center joins the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement, and becomes a strategic force in supporting a gender and culturally inclusive environment.
January 2008 – The Women’s Center offers the first campus-wide Safe Zone Ally Training.
February 2008 - The Women’s Center develops a successful, annual program called Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day. The program invites high school girls to UT Dallas from the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School for a day of fun and engineering activities to inspire interest in STEM fields of study.
September 2010 - In response to the need to support retention and graduation rates of current female STEM students at UT Dallas, the Women’s Center and the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement launch MentorNet, an e-mentoring program for female STEM students.
The Galerstein family visits with staff members at the Women's Center in January 2011.