Karen Stein was named a Woman of the Year by the Rhode Island Commission on Women for her significant positive impact on the lives of women. The non-profit state agency’s mission is to advance women toward full equity.
Stein joined the English Department as a part-time lecturer in 1970. Two years later, she helped found and develop the Women’s Studies Program and is its current director.
The program began with 200 students and 10 faculty members. With Stein’s guidance, it has grown to encompass more than 1,000 students involved in more than 25 interdisciplinary courses.
In addition to developing the introductory course in women’s studies, Stein helped develop the senior seminar that helps launch women’s studies majors into their professional lives. As an English professor, she also developed more than 12 courses on women writers and American authors.
Stein has headed various committees to improve working conditions for part-time faculty, who are primarily women. She served for two years as the co-chair of the URI President’s Commission on the Status of Women and helped to develop a new parental leave policy.
“Many people helped build the organizations that I currently represent or work for, so I am enormously grateful to accept the award on their behalf,” said Stein.