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Lillian named director of Appalachian’s women’s studies program

DonnaLillian_t.jpgBOONE – Dr. Donna Lillian joined Appalachian State University as director of the women’s studies program with the goal to increase awareness of the importance of the women’s studies field.

Lillian plans to put more emphasis on building women’s leadership skills, and she wants to help the program evolve based on what students want out of it while maintaining its existing academic integrity.

“Women have many more rights than they used to, but there is still inequality. We need to make people aware of those inequalities and help people learn how to move forward,” she said. “Women’s studies has a lot to offer that will empower women and men alike.”

The women’s studies program is one of five degree programs located in Appalachian’s University College.

“Women’s studies is a very interdisciplinary program,” said Lillian, an associate professor. “For example, students need to understand how political systems work and how women fit into the study of sustainability. In the program, students learn what rights they have and what rights other people have. They learn about the history of women around the world and strive to make global connections.”

Appalachian’s positive atmosphere and openness of working together are what attracted Lillian to the university.  She was also attracted to working with and advising undergraduate students and recruiting new students into the women’s studies program. The program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in women’s studies and a women’s studies graduate certificate, as well as minors in women’s studies, girl’s studies, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) studies.

Lillian currently advises undergraduate majors, coordinates with Appalachian’s Women’s Center, is on the University College Council and serves on the Faculty Senate. She also teaches a graduate course in feminist theory, and will continue teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in the coming summer and fall semesters.

She holds a Ph.D. from York University in Toronto, Canada, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University.

Before coming to Appalachian, Lillian served as associate professor of discourse and linguistics and associate chair in the Department of English at East Carolina University.  Previously she taught at York University and University of Toronto, and was a public school teacher for Victoria County Board of Education in Canada.

“I get to build on an already strong program,” said Lillian. “The key strength of the women’s studies program is its 70 faculty members based in departments and programs across campus.  Appalachian’s administration also understand the importance of the program, which is why it succeeds.”