Feminist and Gender Studies Professor Elected President of National Women's Studies Association

Heidi Lewis, Colorado College Associate Professor for Feminist & Gender Studies, has been elected as president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA). The honor comes nearly 30 years after CC started its Women’s Studies program.

The two-year run (2023-2025) at the helm of the organization is a first for the David and Lucile Packard professor as well as for representation from CC.

Lewis says she is committed to “catalyzing change through understanding the past and present as much as focusing on visualizing the future” of the association, which has roughly 3,350 members.

“As a leader, I aim to amplify the knowledge and experiences of my collaborators, as well as my own, in service to transformational work guided by a collaboratively defined mission that communicates who we are and a vision for who we aim to be,” says Lewis. “This requires building substantial relationships and developing meaningful institutional knowledge. My learning from people who aim to serve and who are served by an organization—from those who joined recently to those who have been members for decades—is paramount.”

Established in 1977, the NWSA prioritizes promoting and supporting knowledge about women and gender through teaching, learning, research, and service in academic settings. Their mission statement includes “a commitment to illuminate the ways in which women’s studies are vital to education.”

The first women’s studies program in the U.S. was established at San Diego State University in 1970. Nationwide, women’s studies programs began to appear in the 1980s.

At CC, the Women’s Commission was formed in 1974, with the primary goal of having more teaching about women and women’s accomplishments presented in academic courses at the college. But it wasn’t until 1995, when Kathryn Morhman served as the first female president of CC, that a Women’s Studies major was adopted and became a recognized part of the curriculum. The program changed its name from Women’s Studies to Feminist and Gender Studies in 2006 and finally became a department in the spring of 2023.

As a boundary-spanning feminist scholar dedicated to collaborative and transformative leadership, Lewis says she is committed to centering communities that have been systemically subjugated and oppressed. 


Lewis is also writing a book entitled Make Rappers Rap Again: Interrogating the Mumble Rap ‘Crisis.’ She will give a lecture about the book on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 12:30 at McHugh Commons.

Report an issue - Last updated: 11/03/2023