English instructor Lisa Verner has been named the new director of the University of New Orleans Women’s Center.
Verner, who has served as an honors faculty member and academic director of various study abroad programs, has taught a number of women and gender studies courses over the past 14 years. She succeeds Beth Blankenship, who recently became the coordinator of the Center for Teaching Innovation.
The Women’s Center is a valuable asset to the University, said John Nicklow, provost and vice president for academic affairs. It produces and supervises student activities and helps connect students with on- and off-campus resources such as UNO Counseling Services, the Family Justice Center and the NO/AIDS Taskforce. The center administers several scholarships for female students. It also coordinates a lecture series, known as Coffee Talks, that addresses some academic aspect of women’s and gender studies.
“The center serves as a safe, physical space for individual students and student organizations; it also offers individual services as well as group advocacy, not only for women but for members of the LGBTQIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and questioning) community,” Verner said. “The center promotes contact between students and women and gender studies faculty, providing opportunities for faculty to share their teaching and research insights with students.”
Verner holds a doctorate in medieval literature from Tulane University. She has served as the academic director of the summer study abroad program in Rome since 2011 and was academic director of the Japanese study abroad program in 2010.
“In the near future, I would like to contact student organizations and find out what they need from the Women's Center—what sort of advocacy services, faculty mentoring and collaborative efforts we might be able to coordinate,” Verner said. “The Women's Center is always a safe and welcoming place for students to seek help and information, but I would like to expand our reach into the student community.”