Prof. Lora Bex Lempert is honored for using sociology to better the lives of women through her advocacy and outreach efforts

October 15, 2009

In the photo above, Prof. Lora Lempert accepts her award from the Sociologists for Women in Society alongside her granddaughter, Esther. “I ended my remarks with a mantra that Esther and I use when she's complaining about something being too hard or too scary: ‘We can do hard things because we are’ and Esther yells: strong women!” Lempert said. “It brought the house down!”

DEARBORN / Oct. 15, 2009---Lora Bex Lempert, professor of sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, has been honored with the 2009 Feminist Activism Award by the Sociologists for Women in Society, an international organization of social scientists working to improve the position of women within sociology and within society in general.

Lempert, who received the award during a ceremony in San Francisco on Aug. 8, was recognized for consistently using sociology to better the lives of women, particularly through advocacy and outreach efforts.  She will travel as a guest lecturer to two applicant colleges/universities this year as a part of the award process.   

Lempert joined UM-Dearborn in 1994 as an assistant professor of sociology, and was promoted to associate professor in 1998; she became a full professor in 2003.  She served five years on the campus's "Agenda for Women" committee and was director of the Women's Studies program for two years. She teaches courses in sociology and women's studies, marriage and family problems, family violence, and criminal justice. Lempert also is an executive committee member of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender on the Ann Arbor campus.   

In 2001, Lempert was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Sociology Department and Women and Gender Studies program of the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.  At the request of UWC and the American Consulate in Cape Town, her year-long appointment was extended by six months.   

During her service as director of the UM-Dearborn Women's Studies program, a certificate program was established and an overall framework developed that led to significant growth of the program.  She also created an internship program that provided students with opportunities to analyze social problems as they provide direct service in sites such as shelters for abused women, Head Start programs for children, victim advocacy units in prosecutor's offices, adolescent transitional housing and other programs.   

In 2000, when Lempert won UM-Dearborn's Distinguished Teaching Award, she was described by a nominator as "a transformative teacher, waking students up to gender, racial, and social class inequalities, and helping them to understand the interactions between all three." Four of her course syllabi have been published by the teaching resources unit of the American Sociological Association.

In her family violence class, Lempert modified the national Clothesline Project to bring student research on domestic violence and grassroots activism together on campus. Every Fall Semester students create t-shirts that memorialize the violence experienced by individual women and display them in public spaces.    

In 2003, Lempert received two major awards for her leadership, scholarship and service on behalf of women: the Sarah Goddard Power Award from the University of Michigan Academic Women's Caucus and UM-Dearborn's Susan B. Anthony Award, which is given annually to a member of the UM-Dearborn community "who exemplifies the dedication, fortitude and involvement of Susan B. Anthony," a leader in the women's suffrage movement.  

In 2006, the American Association of University Women’s Legal Advocacy Fund honored UM-Dearborn faculty and students teaching in a local prison with the group’s Progress in Equity Award.  Directed by Lempert, the program brought college-level courses into the Scott Correctional Facility for Women in Plymouth, which closed in May.  Several of the students in that program are now enrolled at UM-Dearborn.  This year, with the close of the Scott Facility, UM-Dearborn has collaborated with Eastern Michigan University to continue offering courses to incarcerated women at Women’s Huron Valley in Ypsilanti.   

In addition to her teaching and research, Lempert publishes extensively on domestic violence, prison pedagogy, and issues related to gender and racial equality. She has served on the editorial board of the journal Gender and Society and is on the board the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and she reviews for the feminist journal Signs.


About University of Michigan-Dearborn
The University of Michigan-Dearborn is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout the 2009/2010 academic year. Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, UM-Dearborn has been distinguished by its commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities responsive to the needs of southeastern Michigan. The university has 8,700 students pursuing undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education, and public administration. With a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of interaction with business, government and industry in southeastern Michigan, and is committed to responding to the needs of the region in the future.


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