Academics: Majors and Programs

Women's Research & Resource Center (WRRC)

A pioneer in teaching, research, and advocacy, the Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) nurtures our students' critical thinking about many issues, including human rights, healthcare, and leadership development. By raising $1 million to match the Ford Foundation's million-dollar challenge grant, Spelman was able to advance the Center's pioneering work in teaching and research.

Our History

In 1981, Spelman was awarded a grant from the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation to establish the Women’s Research and Resource Center. The goal was to provide an academic unit of the College that focused on curriculum development in Women’s Studies, research by and about women of African descent, and community outreach.

The Women’s Research and Resource Center is the first women’s research center at a historically Black college and the first one to offer a women’s studies major. Over the course of its 35-year history, with sustained support from the Ford Foundation, the Center has facilitated faculty and student leadership development; collaborated with other departments/programs on and off campus to establish new courses (most recently Black queer studies) that address issues of gender and race; established international linkages with universities outside the U.S. to increase their capacity to promote faculty and student development; and hosted a number of events that explore the lives of African and African-descended women in a variety of cultural contexts.


  • Spelman Alumnae Named HBCU LGBTQ Council Co-Chairs

    October 2016

    Beverly Guy-SheftallThe National Black Justice Coalition recently announced the co-chairs of the organization’s HBCU LGBTQ Equality Initiative Advisory Council. They are Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., C’66, founding director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman, and Anika Simpson, Ph.D., C’95, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Morgan State University. The co-chairs will provide guidance and strategies to fulfill NBJC’s commitment to build and implement public policies that encourage institutions to ensure a welcoming, nurturing and affirming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people at historically Black colleges and universities.

    Anika SimpsonThe coalition credits Spelman’s groundbreaking work to promote greater understanding of LGBTQ issues as the inspiration for the creation of the advisory council. Under Dr. Guy-Sheftall’s leadership, the College hosted the first LGBTQ summit at an HBCU in 2011. “The Women’s Center at Spelman College is excited about this cutting-edge project as we craft an even closer partnership with NBJC,” said Dr. Guy-Sheftall. “The project is bold, compelling, and committed to long-term transformative change at historically Black colleges and universities.” 

    Read More: NBJC Announces HBCU LGBTQ-Equality Initiative Advisory Council Co-Chairs

Reflections on the Black Panther Party at 50: Elaine Brown with Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Beverly Guy Sheftall Reflects on Black Panther PartyThe James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University hosted a public conversation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

The dialogue reflects upon the Party’s legacy in ongoing struggles for racial justice, and honors Black women’s leadership in the Black power movement. Featured guest Elaine Brown, legendary activist and former chairperson of the Black Panther Party, is joined by Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D.,chair of the Women's Research & Resource Center/Comparative Women's Studies, Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women's Studies, in this powerful one-on-one conversation. View the Video


The Making of Brave

Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall  editor of "All the Blacks are Men, All the Women are White, But Some of Us are Brave" gives her lecture titled, "The Making of Brave," at the Black Women in the Ivory Tower Conference on March 5, 2009 in Trayes Hall at Rutgers University. View it here.


IWPR Releases First Ever Status of Women in the South Report at Spelman

On February 25, 2016, ahead of Super Tuesday, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College hosted an event to release the first ever Status of Women in the South report in Atlanta.

The report grades each of the 14 southern states in six topic areas related women’s political, economic, health and social status. The event focused on the economic and political power of women in the South, with a particular focus on women of color. Panelists and presenters discussed report findings and delved into the broad themes of power and diversity, reflecting on the pace of progress, the implications of the data for varying sectors of society, and how leaders and the public can catalyze change.

See photos and highlights of the event and speakers on Facebook and Storify.


See Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., C'66, discuss the development of the Women's Center on, a digital platform produced by filmmakers Dyllan McGee, Betsy West, and Peter Kunhardt, developed by AOL, showcasing hundreds of compelling stories from women of today and tomorrow.

This historic video initiative features exclusive access to trailblazing women – both known and unknown.


A Conversation with Gloria Steinem and bell hooks

November 2015

Steinem joined renowned feminist, journalist, and social and political activist bell hooks to discuss her new memoir, “My Life on the Road.” 

The book captures the breadth and depth of Steinem's life, as well as the rich tapestry of the women’s movement and its many important threads. The co-founder of Ms. magazine, Steinem became nationally recognized as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


Contact Us

350 Spelman Ln. Box 115
The Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, 2nd Floor
Atlanta, GA 3031

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