Pre-Conference Information

NWSA Annual Pre-Conferences

Program Administration and Development (PAD) Pre-Conference


Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) Pre-Conference


Pre-Conference Institutes



Note: The 2020 in-person NWSA Annual Conference and Pre-Conferences have been cancelled.


Program Administration and Development (PAD) Pre-Conference

The Program Administrators Caucus first met at the 1983 NWSA Annual Conference and became the Program Administration and Development Committee in 2006. The PAD Committee consists of women's studies program administrators (chairs, directors, coordinators) whose programs, departments or other academic units are member institutions of NWSA. This body is convened once a year for a Business Meeting at the annual NWSA Conference and is sustained by the PAD Listserv. The PAD Committee is a standing committee in NWSA specifically designed to represent the interests and needs of administrators of women's studies programs and departments to the Governing Council of NWSA and to assist NWSA in meeting the needs of women's administrators and their departments and programs

The first PAD Pre-Conference was held at the 2000 NWSA Annual Conference. The PAD Pre-Conference provides administrators with ideas, strategies, and approaches to both strengthen and grow WGSS programs in hard times. These include: supporting diverse leadership, building coalitions across campus and across town, fundraising, battling backlash, making external reviews successful, incorporating service learning requirements, and more.

In 2000, the PAD Committee initiated the Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP). The WoCLP is now jointly sponsored by the NWSA Women of Color Caucus (WoCC), Program Administration and Development Committee (PAD), and the Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) in conjunction with the PAD and WCC Pre-Conferences.


Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) Pre-Conference

Beginning as the Women's Centers and Services Caucus, the Constituency's first meeting was at the 1984 NWSA Annual Conference, eventually becoming the Women's Centers Committee in 2006. The WCC held its first Pre-Conference at the 2002 NWSA Annual Conference. NW5A recognizes that "women's studies" is broader than what happens in the classroom. NWSA acknowledges women's centers as chief out-of-class feminist educators and encourages participation in the national organization.

Campus-based women's centers have a long history of working together with women's studies to transform the curriculum, the campus environment, and society at large.

The Women's Centers Committee of NWSA provides an opportunity for women's center directors, staff and others to gather and share information, ideas, challenges, successes and support. The Women's Centers Committee sponsors an annual pre-conference event as well as sessions during the NWSA Annual Conference.

Along with the the Program Administration and Development Committee (PAD) and the NWSA Women of Color Caucus (WoCC), the Women’s Centers Committee (WCC) jointly sponsors the Women of Color Leadership Project (WoCLP) in conjunction with the PAD and WCC Pre-Conferences.

Each year, NWSA in coordination with the NWSA Women's Center Committee gives multiple awards to deserving programs and people working in women's and gender equity centers (WGEC). The awards include the Coalition Builder, Feminist Change Agent, Mentorship, and Outstanding WGEC Program Awards. You can find more information about the awards here.


Pre-Conference Institutes

Proposed and facilitated by NWSA members, Pre-Conference Institutes provide conference attendees a chance to engage with concepts, materials, and other attendees in a half-day format. Organized around certain themes connected to the general conference theme, Pre-Conference Institutes take a deeper dive into pedagogical issues and questions of interest to a variety of NWSA members including scholars, activists, administrators.


Past Pre-Conference Institutes

The Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin K-12 Feminist Teacher Pre-Conference (2017, 2018)

Teach-In Co-Chairs:
Karsonya Wise Whitehead, Loyola University Maryland
Ileana Jiménez, founder feministteacher.com
Stephanie Troutman, University of Arizona

The Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin K-12 Feminist Teacher Pre-Conference is an interactive pedagogy and activism workshop designed to engage elementary through secondary classroom teachers with the NWSA Annual Conference and its themes. This pre-conference serves as NWSA’s recognition of the importance of curriculum design and content in schools and the support of teacher professional development as critical feminist issues. In committing to the support of K-12 feminisms and education, the pre-conference workshop provides teachers with ways in which to apply feminist theory and content to their classroom practice; complimentary access to the conference at large; and other feminist resources--including the scholarly Meridians journal; gender, racial, and social justice training; and networking opportunities with experts in education and activism, especially those with a focus on feminist theory, women of color feminisms and intersectionality, as well as youth studies research.

The pilot initiative for this K-12 teacher pre-conference was launched as the Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin Teach-In Program (JRTP), at NWSA’s “Forty Years Since Combahee” conference in Baltimore, MD in 2017. Continuing the legacy of the work at the JRTP and its namesake, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, in 2018, it was renamed and relaunched as the Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin K-12 Feminist Teacher Pre-Conference. The focal point of this teacher pre-conference will be the training of educators in how to teach feminist content, theory, and activism effectively in the classroom in an effort to gauge and enhance their students’ gender, racial, and political awareness and critical consciousness.


Teaching Gender and Sexual Justice: Arab and Muslim Communities Institute (2018)

Director: Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, PhD, Director and Senior Scholar, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, San Francisco State University

This four hour institute will create a transnational feminist setting that enlists multiple co-learning pedagogies, class material (text, genre, inter and multi-disciplinary, etc.), and facilitators. The institute is geared toward educators (high school and college) who might be well-versed in gender and sexuality studies but are not as familiar with Arab and Muslim communities.

Teaching Gender and Sexual Justice: Arab and Muslim Communities is grounded in historical and contextual understandings of colonialism/settler colonialism/neocolonialism, racism, exclusion, displacement, war and imperialism not only theoretically but in pedagogical praxis and the lived experiences of marginalized communities and the mobilizing resilience and resistance strategies they employ toward social transformation. Finally, The Institute on Teaching Gender and Sexual Justice: Arab and Muslim Communities will explore how such dialectical and interconnected conceptual framing intervenes in and outside formal and informal classrooms, the streets, community spaces, prisons and detention centers to arrive at transformative and non-exceptionalizing vision of justice, dignity and peace for all our communities.