Kathryn Hagy | Professor of Art, Department Chair

Kathryn Hagy

Q&A with Kathryn Hagy, professor of art and department chair.

MMU: I understand you presented at the International Gender and Language Association conference, how did you become involved with this conference?

KH: I became interested in the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) conference through my research on the intersections of language and gender.

MMU: Can you give a quick synopsis of your presentation? What were you hoping conference attendees would walk away with?

KH: My presentation focused on critically analyzing the language of job advertisements for executive leaders in private, higher education. Higher education executive leadership (e.g. positions of dean, provost, president) disproportionately represents men compared to women. I wanted to show how our societal perceptions of leadership as a more masculine domain shapes the way colleges and universities write job advertisements to attract applicants. Many ads are implicitly biased to attract men, even if the organization really wants a diverse applicant pool.

MMU: How did you become interested in the topic? Where does your passion for the subject come from?

KH: This presentation stemmed from my PhD dissertation in educational policy and leadership, which I'm finishing up now at the University of Iowa. I've always been interested in social justice issues such as gender equality and women's empowerment.

MMU: How does your research or work outside of MMU inform what you teach in the classroom? In what ways do students benefit?

KH: The social justice orientation of the Mercy Critical Concerns segues with my own research interests. I try to encourage classroom discussions and create course projects where students can express their social justice concerns in art and hopefully find an audience for their creations.

MMU:  Was there an idea or bit of research you learned during the conference and found especially interesting? What did you walk away with?

KH: I heard presentations from and hung out with scholars from around the world whose voices aren't as well represented at U.S. conferences. IGALA makes every attempt to include scholars from around the globe by holding their conferences in financially accessible countries with friendlier visa policies.  I heard presentations on everything from the successful use of an invented word for girls' genitals in Swedish preschools to the language of exclusion in social media.