Patricia Wismer Professorship

Two-year professorship for gender and diversity studies.

Flowers on campus

About the Wismer Professorship

The Patricia Wismer Professorship for Gender and Diversity Studies is a two-year fellowship offered through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and the Provost’s Office. The award supports academic scholarship in the fields of gender and sexuality and its intersections with race and class. It enables the Professor to pursue activities that enhance their development as scholars, teachers, and campus leaders, enables their advancement within the Seattle University system, and promotes diversity within the SU community.   

The Wismer Professor serves the University as an intellectual leader, modeling academic excellence through a scholarly agenda that is focused on issues of structural inequality, in keeping with our commitment to education for justice in the Jesuit and Catholic tradition. The Wismer Professor aligns with two University areas as follows:  

  • The Office of Diversity and Inclusion: Works collaboratively with the Vice President, and pools resources to sponsor or co-sponsor university-led events such as Women’s History Month; sponsors book launch events; offers thought leadership and works to support Goal 4 of Reigniting Our Strategic Directions (Promote Inclusive Excellence) and other related aspects of SU’s inclusive excellence priorities as led by the ODI; and can include working with students on events to foster skills for research, advocacy, activism, and community organizing and engagement. 
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Executive Committee: Serves as an ex officio member representative of the larger WGST Network; attends Executive Committee meetings (three/term) during the academic year to assist the Director in operations of the program, including recruiting of faculty for specific courses; and includes full voting privileges on all major and minor motions related to the Program.  

Award Components (per year)

Course release(s) provide release time from teaching and resources to conduct an individual research project, lead and participate in relevant ODI endeavors, and present research findings in various Seattle University fora. Awardees will receive three course releases (15 work units), if the Professor teaches on a quarter system (Albers, ASC, CAS, College of Education, Nursing), or two course releases (10 work units), if the Professor teaches on a semester system (Law School).   

Monetary compensation includes:   

  • Professional development funding: $7,000
  • Programmatic funding: $3,000   


Tenured faculty who are accomplished interdisciplinary scholars in the areas of gender and diversity. 

2023 - 2025 Wismer Professor

Sharon Suh HeadshotPresident Eduardo Peñalver appointed Dr. Sharon A. Suh as the 2023-2025 recipient of the Patricia Wismer Professorship for Gender and Diversity Studies. Dr. Suh’s research resides at the intersection of religion, race, gender, trauma, and embodiment, and includes numerous articles, book chapters, speaking engagements, as well as three books – Occupy This Body: A Buddhist Memoir (Sumeru Press, 2019), Silver Screen Buddha: Buddhism in Asian and Western Film (Bloomsbury, 2015), and Being Buddhist in a Christian World: Gender and Community in a Korean American Temple (University of Washington Press, 2004).   

Dr. Suh is a highly sought after intersectional feminist scholar. In addition to her myriad scholarly endeavors, she has spoken at events engaging even wider audiences, including speaking at a Luce-funded project on religion and sexual abuse where she discussed trauma-informed practices for survivors and leading a workshop connecting religion, the body, and the nervous system at the United Method Women’s organization. She is President of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women and serves on the board of directors of The Center for Mindful Eating and most recently served on the board of directors of Yoga Behind Bars.

Read more about Professor Suh