The UWI Regional Headquarters Jamaica. 23 August 2017 – The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Opal Palmer Adisa as the new University Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS). Dr Adisa’s appointment takes effect from August 9, 2017, succeeding Professor Verene Shepherd who held the post since 2010.
Professor Adisa is an internationally recognised writer, educator, cultural activist and diversity trainer who works with institutions on issues of inclusion and fairness. She holds a BA in Communications/Educational Media from Hunter College of the City University of New York, an MA in English/Creative Writing as well as an MA in Theatre/Directing from San Francisco State University in California and PhD in Ethnic Studies/Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
Prior to taking up the directorship of the IGDS, Professor Adisa was a Distinguished Professor of the Master of Fine Arts Programme in Writing and Diversity Studies, Graduate Faculty Mentor, Faculty Advisor for the Diversity Studies Programme and Supervising Faculty Member of the Undergraduate Writing and Literature Programme at California College of the Arts since 1993. She has also served as an Associate Professor and Chair of the college’s Diversity Studies Programme and worked as a visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley in the African American Studies Department and other universities including, Stanford and the University of the Virgin Islands.
Professor Adisa’s accomplishments as an author and poet include over twenty publications, both scholarly and creative, that centralise women, explore issues of gender, and the interstice of Caribbean and African Diaspora history. Her poetry, stories, essays and articles have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications and she has also lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, England, and Prague, and has performed in Italy and Bosnia.
Speaking on her appointment, Professor Adisa stated that she is “happy to return home to contribute to gender justice and all other diversity issues which are fundamental and essential to the development of the region. When we are able to acknowledge, appreciate and provide space for everyone to contribute to her/his full potential, then we have created a society that works for everyone. Our growth and development must be informed by these humanistic values, so we really celebrate our hard-earned independence."