General Information

The Women’s Center exists to create awareness of gender concerns, both local and global. Adjacent to the concourse of Kutztown University’s Old Main, the Center’s high-profile location draws persons from all backgrounds through its doors. As part of the Division of Student Services and Campus Life, the staff provides resources for students, faculty, and the community at large regarding contemporary issues that affect women’s well-being. These issues include: work equity, health problems, body image, relationships, childcare, harassment and violence against women.

From residence hall programming through health awareness fairs to speakers, panels, and media presentations, the Women’s Center works to keep these issues in front of the campus community by working with community and national organizations as well as other Women’s Centers. Frequently assisting in these projects are personnel from the Women’s Studies minor, Multicultural Center, Counseling Services, Health and Wellness Center, Women’s Consortium, Commission on the Status of Women, and the GLBTQ Resource Center.

The Women’s Center includes a lending library of books, periodicals, articles and audiovisual resources available on short-term loan to anyone with a current Rohrbach Library account. It also boasts playback media for research or leisure time, Internet access, and snack preparation capabilities.

Personnel welcome telephone calls and visits from individuals seeking advice and information; all contacts are handled in a confidential manner.

Mission Statement

The Kutztown University Women's Center is part of the Division of Student Services and Campus Life and works with the University Health Center, University Counseling and Psychological Services Department, the Women's Consortium, the Women's Studies Minor program and the Commission on the Status of Women to plan programming related to women's and alternative lifestyle issues.

The Center's staff attempts to increase awareness of gender concerns and alternative lifestyle issues within the Kutztown University community. It organizes residence hall programs, candlelight vigils, flyers, speakers and panel discussions.

The Women's Center works with community and national organizations and interacts with other university Women's Centers. The Center has a library of books, periodicals and videos available to the public.

Phone calls and visits from individuals seeking advice, information, or direction are handled in an understanding and confidential manner. Referrals are made to university and community agencies.

The mission, vision, and philosophy of the Kutztown University Women's Center falls within the purview of the 11 Kutztown University statements of mission as articulated in the Kutztown University Undergraduate Bulletin 2003-2004 and specifically addresses the following statements:

1. Pursue a commitment to academic excellence.

2. Provide opportunities for all students to increase their appreciation and knowledge of the physical universe, of human society and cultural diversity, and of values, through general education, major study and co-curricular programming.

3. Provide a quality of campus life, which will encourage the growth of self-esteem, respect for the beliefs of others, and the open exchange of ideas.

4. Respond to the diverse needs of society by ensuring equal access to its educational programs and services without regard for race, gender, creed, age or national origin.

5. Serve as a center for cultural activities.

6. Provide leadership and support services for schools, businesses, industries, government, health and other appropriate agencies.

Our History

In 1988, the Commission on Women in Education, sponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE), developed a document outlining 15 ways in which universities could improve the status of women in higher education – a document unanimously approved that spring by the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

That fall, Kutztown University’s Women’s Consortium, headed by Dr. Constance P. Dent, proposed that the ACE recommendations could be met in part by the establishment of a Women’s Center. The Center opened for the 1989-1990 academic year with Dr. Sandra McSwain as its first director. She was succeeded in 1991 by Dr. Ann T. Gundry, who formed its advisory board the following year and added a full-time coordinator, Grace Hill in 1999. Grace graduated from KU three years before with a B.A. in Professional Writing and was one of the first graduates with a minor in Women’s Studies. She earned her M.A. in Counseling in 1999. During graduate school, she coordinated Women’s Center activities and was hired as the full-time Coordinator of the Center upon completion of her M.A. She now serves as the Associate Director of the Center and has served in that role since 2008.

Upon the retirement of Dr. Gundry, Dr. Kimberly Johnston became director for the fall of 2004. In the spring, Dr. Elaine Reed headed the center until Fall of 2009 when Dr. Claire Van Ens began a one-year term. As of fall 2010, the faculty director’s position ended.

Throughout its changes in leadership, the focus of the Women’s Center remains constant: To provide services and programs that address women’s issues relevant to all members of the KU community.