by Gail Hairston
(April 29, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences recently announced the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women.
The office’s purpose is to shape the creation, implementation and evaluation of public policy as it relates to intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking. Specifically, the office will work to enhance direct services to victims, legal response and legislative reform related to violence against women through policy research and analysis, and empirically driven advocacy and practice.
“The Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women is a creative opportunity to weave together the interests of several departments in the College of Arts and Sciences with the policy expertise the office affords,” said Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The office is aligned with the existing commitment the college has to advancing scholarship related to violence against women. This is an ideal way for the faculty and students of the college to reach beyond the confines of the campus and contribute to the needs of Kentucky families in crisis.”
Dean Kornbluh also announced that the college welcomes Carol Jordan to serve as the office’s director. Jordan served for 10 years as the founding director for UK’s Center for Research on Violence Against Women, and prior to that she served for eight years as executive director of the Governor’s Office of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Services.
“We are delighted to have Carol Jordan in the College of Arts and Science to lead the office,” Kornbluh said. “Her national reputation as a policy and legislative reformer and the quality of her scholarship since coming to UK make her the ideal person.”
“I am honored to have been asked by Dean Kornbluh to assume this leadership role,” said Jordan, “and I look forward to innovative partnerships with faculty colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences. From the perspective of my own career, the office is an ideal return to the policy arena in which a great deal of my career has been invested.”
The office, to be housed under the Office of the Dean, will formally affiliate with departments, including the Department of Political Science and the Department of Psychology. In some of its first projects, the office will join the legislative internship program operated by the Department of Political Science; will work with the Department of Psychology on a mental health policy project related to battered women; and will provide graduate student support for both departments.
The office will also operate endowment programs previously created by Jordan, including the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship, an undergraduate scholarship program for abuse survivors; the Mary Byron Scholars Program, a graduate student stipend; and the Georgia Davis Powers Endowment.
The office’s mission is to shape the creation, implementation and evaluation of public policy to improve the lives of women harmed by violence and abuse. The office will strive to enhance direct services, legal response, and legislative reform related to violence against women through policy research and analysis, and empirically driven advocacy and practice. Specifically, goals will include:
- The office will provide training and education on public policy; and legislative and legal reform for advocates, practitioners, and policy makers.
- The office will serve in a senior consultant capacity to legislative reform efforts related to violence against women, including those prioritized by the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association and the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
- The office will support research and scholarship, which directly informs the design of policy and the provision of services.
- The office will provide graduate student support through fellowships, assistantships, and summer support programs, including the Mary Byron Scholars Program.
- The office will operate a Women’s Empowerment Scholarship (WES) Program to provide abuse survivors with access to post-secondary education as a means to recover from victimization experiences. The office’s goal is to establish five undergraduate scholarships and presently offers one, the Verizon Wireless Women’s Empowerment Scholarship.