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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Catherine Squires Named RIGS Director

I am pleased to announce that Professor Catherine Squires has agreed to serve as the Director of the RIGS Initiative.

Over the past 18 months, a team of department chairs developed and discussed with governance and consultative groups an ambitious initiative that leveraged the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure already existing on campus.

The recommendations of that group form the basis of the Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Initiative (RIGS). In addition to consultation with governance groups, the initiative received the support of our CLA Roadmap Goal Team on Diversity and was a recommended action for the College. RIGS will establish a recognizable intellectual hub that builds upon the interdisciplinary strengths of individual units -- African American and African Studies, American Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies--to make productive connections to other units across the College and the University.  

Among the activities of the RIGS Initiative in 2015-16 will be organizing the college’s diversity cluster hire; discussing coordination of curricular initiatives across departments, including efforts to draw new and underserved students to CLA in ways that align with the CLA Roadmap; convening and coordinating research clusters for faculty and graduate students working in race, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality studies; developing and launching digital and other communications that highlight and translate faculty and graduate student research; and pursuing opportunities for community engagement. I am grateful we will have Professor Squires’s leadership to guide us on these efforts.

Catherine Squires, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and former director of graduate studies for the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, brings robust and relevant experience to this new role. Professor Squires received her Ph.D. in communication studies from Northwestern University in 1999. Prior to arriving at the University of Minnesota, she was on the faculty of the University of Michigan. Her most recent book is The Post-Racial Mystique, published by New York University Press (2014).

As part of our CLA Roadmap we have stated that CLA must mirror the community as we build a college that addresses important societal challenges.  Diversity is essential as we develop undergraduate and graduate student leaders to engage in the intellectual and societal challenges of our day.  

-John Coleman, dean