Dr. Stephanie Sellers, Director of Women’s Center, resigns and leaves behind a legacy
By Kara VanBlargen, Staff Writer
Dr. Stephanie A. Sellers has been the Inaugural Director of the Women’s Center since 2009, the first to hold a professional position directing the Women’s Center in its 20 year legacy.
During her tenure as Director, the WC underwent a transformation that created tremendous student engagement and significantly expanded programs and campus partnerships.
Though these are wonderful outcomes, the expansiveness of the WC has created a greater demand on Professor Sellers’s time, and on March 6 she notified the College that she will step down from the position as of the end of the spring 2014 semester to better devote her time to her teaching.
In 2009, Professor Sellers revamped the WC, building on the strong legacy of those students and advisors who came before her. She hired a staff of six student office assistants and two program coordinators, trained them in sexual assault reporting and referral protocols, and opened the WC facility every day of the week to support students.
The WC’s webpage was turned into a dense, highly educational student and staff resource.
In 2013, she created the Program Coordinator for Residence Hall Education in Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner issues position, currently held by AnnaMarie Houl is ’14. AnnaMarie’s sole duty is to educate first year students about sexual assault prevention and dating issues and she does this weekly in the Res halls.
Under the WC, four student-led clubs were created and are advised by Professor Sellers: Lilith Salon partnered with Gettysburg Hillel, Students for Reproductive Justice Club, Students Against Sexual Assault Club, and the College’s first student-chapter of the American Association for University Women.
Each of the clubs has a dedicated following of student members. Professor Sellers created the Women’s Leadership Program in 2013 in partnership with Andy Hughes of the Garthwait Leadership Program and it currently enrolls nearly 50 women students in only 6 months.
Student direct participation numbers in WC events range from 600 attendees at Vagina Monologues performances, to 150 for some lunch lectures, to five students in small group discussions held bi-monthly at the WC about Healthy Relationships.
The WC directly reaches approximately 1300 students per academic year and passively reaches most of the student body through poster campaigns and bi-monthly Gettysburgian articles.
Importantly, the WC is a strong campus partner that aids in bringing the College into compliance with federal laws mandating education about sexual assault reporting and prevention at institutions of higher learning.
These achievements are something the former and current student staff and student club leaders can be very proud of since their engagement and leadership is what makes the WC such a success.
Professor Sellers said, “It has been an honor and a joy leading the Women’s Center, and a privilege to work with some of the finest students on campus. I will greatly miss them and leading the Women’s Center. I want to thank each and every one of them for their dedicated service to the WC’s mission and to the well-being of the Gettysburg College student body.”