Women's Studies Herstory

For almost four decades before joining the Department of Philosophy, Women’s Studies at Waterloo relied on the commitment and leadership of women scholars and administrators for its continued thriving. Here is our herstory.

Portrait of Anne DaggANNE INNIS DAGG is a biologist, feminist scholar, and independent “citizen scientist.” Dr. Dagg was for much of her career an avid supporter of Waterloo’s Women’s Studies program. From 1978 to 2016, she was the Senior Academic Advisor of Waterloo’s Independent Studies program. When that program closed in 2016, Dr. Dagg joined the Women’s Studies program as an adjunct professor.


Mary Synnott holding an I Need Feminism Because signMARY SYNNOTT made an enormous contribution to Women’s Studies at Waterloo over the course of her career. She joined the program in 1985 as its first full-time staff member. She remained its only staff member until her retirement in 2016. Three decades of students, instructors and program directors benefited and learned from Mary’s wisdom, passion, professionalism and generosity. Women’s Studies is indebted to this exemplary feminist leader.


Sandra Burt, Political Science (Coordinator 1976-1980, Director 2007-2008)

Hannah Fournier, French (Coordinator 1980-1984)

Lindsay Dorney (Coordinator 1984-1986, Director 1986-1990)

Mildred Davies (Acting Director 1990)

Harriet Lyons, Anthropology (Director 1991-1997)

Nancy Theberge, Kinesiology (Acting Director 1996)

Vera Golini, Italian Studies, St. Jerome’s University (Director 1997-2004)

Susan Driver (Acting Director 2001-2002)

Rhiannon Bury (Director 2004-2007)

Alicja Musynski, Sociology & Legal Studies (2008 – 2011)

Doris Jakobsh,  Religious Studies (2011 – 2012)

Tracy Penny Light, Sexuality, Marriage and Family Studies/History, St. Jerome’s University (2012 – 2014)

Shannon Dea, Philosophy (2014-2016)