campus news

Wolcott named director of UB Gender Institute


Published September 15, 2023

“We’re paying attention to the intersection of gender, sexuality, race and class to find ways to move forward. ”
Victoria Wolcott, professor of history and director
UB Gender Institute
Portrait of Victoria Wolcott an Associate Professor of History in her Park Hall Office Photograph: Douglas Levere.

Victoria Wolcott

Victoria Wolcott, professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences, is the new director of the university’s Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender, known informally as the Gender Institute.

Wolcott began her three-year term in July, succeeding Carrie Tirado Bramen, professor of English, who had led the institute since 2017.

“I’m delighted to be passing the torch to my colleague Victoria Wolcott,” says Bramen. “The timing is perfect for her personally, as she has already established herself as an award-winning scholar, and she is ready to take on the challenge of running an active institute with many moving parts.”

Wolcott says she’s thrilled to inherit an exciting institute from Bramen, whose work over the past few years is responsible for the larger budget the institute enjoys today. That funding has elevated and expanded the institute’s mission and supported its ability to reach a larger audience, enrich its programming and provide more fellowships.

UB’s Gender Institute, founded in 1997, is an interdisciplinary center dedicated to advancing the leadership, vision and influence of women and the LGBTQ community through research, outreach and teaching. It brings together scholars across a range of disciplines, with faculty affiliates within the College of Arts and Sciences and throughout the entire university, from the School of Architecture and Planning to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“The Gender Institute draws on all of UB’s talents, and we’re interested in continuing to develop and foster those connections,” says Wolcott. “We want to find innovative ways to creatively think about LGBTQ issues, bodily integrity, reproductive rights in this post‑Dobbs moment, caregiving and wage issues that reframe feminism and discrimination — not just as social and political categories, but as an economic category as well.

“We’re paying attention to the intersection of gender, sexuality, race and class to find ways to move forward.”

A confluence of expertise and scholarship drives an institute that is unique in the SUNY system. That distinction and its sweeping faculty contributions in the arts, humanities and STEM put the Gender Institute in a position to make it very much a part of President Satish K. Tripathi’s Top 25 Ambition, which is focused on achieving excellence in UB’s research, academic and creative endeavors, as well as promoting a university‑wide culture of equity and inclusion.

“No other SUNY campus has an institute dedicated to research on gender and sexuality,” says Wolcott. “In that sense, we can play a central role toward contributing to the university’s goal of being ranked among the Top 25 public research universities in the nation within the next decade.”

Wolcott joined the UB faculty about 10 years ago. Her research interests include 20th-century America, but as a historian guiding an institute through the 21st century, her goals — which include extending public outreach and increasing visibility both within UB and throughout the surrounding community — are richly informed by the nature of her discipline.

“There is an inherent interdisciplinary nature to the field of history itself,” she says. “Historians are also in the business of producing powerful narratives from disparate information and delivering that to the public in ways that can impact lives and inform policy.”