Kathy Hickok

Honored by:Verda L. Williams, Nancy Tepper, M. Kayt Sunwood, David and Anne; The Women's Studies Program
Brick location:F:28; PAVER:14  map

Kathy Hickok (Kathleen K. Hickok b. 1946) has been a prominent feminist, teacher, lecturer, scholar and activist in Ames during the 1980's and 1990's.

An ISU English professor, Dr. Hickok taught about 30 different courses in English and Women's Studies between 1979 and 1995. Half of them she designed and developed herself, including graduate seminars in women writers from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Zora Neale Hurston; feminist criticism and feminist literary history; and undergraduate courses in African American women writers, feminist writers, lesbian literature, and images of women in literature and popular culture. A gifted and dedicated teacher, Kathy Hickok has educated and inspired legions of students. She received two ISU awards for her teaching - a $1000 Outstanding Teacher Award in 1989 and a Liberal Arts & Sciences College Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1995.

Sacrificing her own career advancement to the demands of administrative work, Prof. Hickok spent fifteen years chairing developing and teaching in the ISU Women's Studies Program. When she came to ISU in 1979 to teach women's literature, the Women's Studies Program had a few crosslisted courses and one core course Women's Studies 201 which was taught every other semester to about 15 students. She started by redesigning and teaching this introductory course, doubling and tripling the enrollment. By the time Kathy Hickok finished her work as chair of the program (1984-1990 1992-1994), Women’s Studies offered a dozen crosslisted courses and six core courses, some in multiple sections serving hundreds of students every year. An undergraduate Women's Studies major was approved in 1994 to take effect in fall 1995.

Dr. Hickok received her B.A. from Sophie Newcomb College of Tulane University in 1968, her M.A. from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1970 and her Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Maryland in 1977. Prof. Hickok’s area of academic research and teaching is nineteenth-century English literature, with a special emphasis on women writers. In addition to dozens of encyclopedia entries and various essays in journals, she published the first major book in this area of study. Representations of Women: Nineteenth-Century British Women's Poetry (1984) is internationally acknowledged as the critical study upon which subsequent research has been based.

An activist on campus and beyond, Kathy Hickok has held leadership roles with the YWCA, the Women's Center, the Ames Civil Rights Task Force, the National Organization for Women, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Democratic Party and the National Women's Studies Association. She has been generous with her time, giving more than 20 local lectures between 1979 and 1992 plus expanding the limits of her teaching to libraries, church groups, women's organizations and Iowa Humanities Board audiences throughout the state of Iowa. She received several awards for her contributions to political and cultural change: the Ames Women's Political Caucus Award (1981), the ISU Human Relations Award (1987) and the Carrie Chapman Catt Award for Contributions to Gender Equity (1992). Kathy Hickok continues to pursue research, to work for political justice, and to teach and mentor her many advisees students and friends.

Submitted September 13, 1995, by Verda L. Williams, ISU Extension

Paver Inscription:

Women's Studies
Linda Busby
Kathy Hickok
Rosanne Potter
Linda Galyon