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Week of January 30, 2012

Fenstermaker named to lead IRWG

Sarah Fenstermaker of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been appointed director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG), effective July 1.

IRWG, an interdisciplinary research unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research, was established in 1995 and is one of the most influential centers in the field. The institute fosters collaboration and furthers the research of U-M faculty members and graduate students who use the lens of women and gender to pursue their studies.

Photo courtesy Sarah Fenstermaker.

“I have great confidence that Sarah Fenstermaker will provide outstanding leadership for IRWG and move the institute in new directions,” says Vice President for Research Steve Forrest. “I look forward to working with her as she carries the mission forward.”

Selected following a rigorous national search, Fenstermaker joins the university from the UC Santa Barbara, where she was the first woman tenured in the Department of Sociology, and served as the founding chair of the UCSB Women’s Studies program (now Feminist Studies).

For the last five years she has served as the director of UCSB’s Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research. She also served as the associate dean of the UCSB Graduate Division, and as divisional vice chair of the UCSB Academic Senate. Fenstermaker graduated from Goucher College and received her doctorate from Northwestern University.

Her research on women and work, domestic labor, family violence, and the workings of gender, race, and class have resulted in a long list of publications, most notably “The Gender Factory: The Apportionment of Women in American Households” (Plenum Press, 1985). Her publications also include an edited volume (with A. Goetting), “Individual Voices, Collective Visions: Fifty Years of Women in Sociology” (Temple University Press, 1995), and “Doing Gender, Doing Difference: Inequality, Power, and Institutional Change” (with C. West), (Routledge, 2002). Her most recent publication is “Sociologists Backstage: Answers to 10 Questions about What They Do” (with N. Jones), (Routledge, 2011).

Fenstermaker, who also has been appointed professor of women’s studies and professor of sociology at U-M, will succeed Jacquelynne Eccles, Wilbert McKeachie and Paul Pintrich Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Education, who has served as interim director of IRWG since Oct. 1 and will continue to provide leadership until the new director arrives this summer.



Mark Kirschenmann, lecturer III in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, on what made him interested in the creative process.