Message from the Director: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

CATEGORIES: News & Events
Dr. Ann Oberhauser - Director - she/her/hers

March 24, 2020

Greetings from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and our new (virtual) lives at Iowa State University. This message is to reach out and check in about developments and updates that affect all of us.

The impacts of COVID-19 are widespread and very dynamic. In teaching, faculty are now working remotely to transition face-to-face courses to online instruction. Our staff is working from home to keep the program going. Students also transitioned to online learning after Spring Break. In short, we are all adapting to this new world of social distancing, virtual forms of education, and the uncertainty of the next few months.

The health and safety of our WGS and the broader community is a priority during this mounting spread of the coronavirus. We are adapting our work, research, and teaching in accordance with guidelines from the ISU central administration, local and state governments, and our public health experts as we navigate the new world brought on by this global pandemic.

I hope you are staying well and taking care of yourselves, your loved ones, and neighbors during this period.  We strive to maintain open communication and transparency about how we can continue to support your education and overall wellbeing. This includes sharing information that we receive on a daily basis about university instruction, working remotely, financial needs, and efforts to keep the ISU community safe and functioning. (See ISU Wellness page for some excellent resources.)

Please be patient as this is a challenging situation without much preparation or warning. In addition to the university news and resources for instructors and students, here are some updates for WGS instructors, staff, and students.

  • Please communicate with your students and instructors so everyone is informed and has the resources to keep up with classes. Some of this may entail access to computers, broadband, or a supportive community. Let us know how we can support and reach out where needed.
  • Since all of our business will be conducted electronically, check your email and other sources regularly for important messages from your advisers and instructors.
  • Our awesome WGS Program Coordinator Kim Hope ( ) and Program Assistant Elizabeth Settles ( ) are working remotely, but are available to help with any of your questions or concerns.
  • Develop a backup plan in case you or a close family member become ill. The university is developing policies and providing guidance to support students and employees during the COVID-19 emergency that will help in these cases
  • Reach out and show care and support to each other and continue to reject stigmas associated with this pandemic.

Finally, this virus and the instability it has created (and exacerbated) in our lives is not going to bring us down! We are creative and compassionate, as well as talented problem solvers. We will confront and overcome the challenges of this pandemic.

Thank you for your support and good will as we all try to manage the ‘new normal’.  Please reach out if you need anything. Be safe and stay healthy!


Ann Oberhauser

Director, Women’s and Gender Studies

Professor of Sociology

Iowa State University


Pronouns: she/her/hers

515.294.9283 (office)

Women’s and Gender Studies Website

Website – Dept. of Sociology