Kent State Seeks to Establish New Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences seeks to establish a faculty-led academic unit that will enable the expansion and integration of LGBT Studies and Women’s Studies programs. In the coming weeks, an advisory group of faculty and students will help develop the mission and structure of the new Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.

The combining of the programs will bring Kent State to the forefront of gender and sexuality research while creating new undergraduate and graduate courses for the exploration and understanding of gender and sexuality, something James Blank, Ph.D., dean of Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences, had been seeking. 

“I have long had an interest in the area of gender and sexuality studies and have felt for some time that Kent State should move to bring together faculty and students with interests in these areas,” Blank said. 

Blank has appointed Molly Merryman, Ph.D., coordinator of Kent State’s LGBT Studies Program and an associate professor of sociology, to lead the formation of the new center along with Suzanne Holt, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Studies Program and professor in the Center for Comparative and Integrative Programs at Kent State. The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality will be part of the College of Arts and Sciences, and like other areas of study in the college, will provide foundational coursework for students across the university in addition to having both undergraduate and graduate curricula.

“This center will once again place Kent State University at the vanguard of critical scholarly inquiry and pedagogy by pulling together the stellar researchers and instructors already here with a united scholastic vision,” Merryman said. “It also will provide a supportive yet challenging classroom environment for our students, particularly for those who are sexual minorities, and will enhance already existing academic disciplines.”

The center will provide educational resources internally and externally, have undergraduate and graduate curricular and research opportunities and responsibilities, draw on the collective strength and historic identity of Kent State, and honor its legacy as a public institution with a strong regional campus system and international recognition. The advisory group hopes to have recommendations on the specific makeup of the new center, including its location, by July 1. 

“Women’s studies faculty and students responded to the announcement of this new center with gratitude, celebration and a measurable readiness to begin,” Holt said. “This marks an elegant moment not only for our people and program but also for the college: honoring past visionaries for their commitment and painstaking service, reading the present with an eye for what matters, and envisioning a future where Kent State can make rich, humane contributions to complex cultural conversations – local, national, even global – on volatile subjects that will never lose their relevance, importance or consequence.”

For more information about Kent State’s LGBT Studies Program, visit

For more information about the Women’s Studies Program at Kent State, visit

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Media Contacts:
Molly Merryman,, 330-672-0315
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797

POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 10:57am
UPDATED: Friday, January 11, 2019 - 4:23pm
Eric Mansfield