We would like everyone on campus and in the community to feel welcome during their visit to the UMKC Women’s Center. Our friendly staff is always willing to assist with inquiries whether it be discussing programs, finding resources or just getting on-campus directions. Our office is open Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Friday, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Click here for contact and location information.
Brenda Bethman, Ph.D., Director
Brenda has served as Director of the Women’s Center since January 2007 and as Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Race, Ethnic, and Gender Studies since August 2019. Before coming to UMKC, she was founding Program Coordinator of the Women’s Center and then Director of the Women’s & Gender Equity Resource Center at Texas A&M University. She is a past chair of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) Women’s Centers Committee, as well as past Secretary for NWSA. Brenda was a member of the committee that revised the CAS Standards for Women Student Programs and Services.
She has presented and published on social media, assessment, women’s leadership, women’s literature, Elfriede Jelinek, Marlene Streeruwitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, and feminism in a variety of venues. She holds a B.A. in German Literature from Dickinson College, an M.A. in German Literature from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Modern German Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from UMass Amherst. She has published two books: a co-edited volume, University and College Women’s and Gender Equity Centers: The Changing Landscape, and a monograph, “Obscene Fantasies”: Generic Perversions in Elfriede Jelinek, which examines Elfriede Jelinek’s investigation of Austria’s and Western Europe’s “obscene fantasies” through her “perversion” of generic forms in three of her best-known texts, women as lovers, The Piano Teacher, and Lust.
Arzie Umali, Senior Assistant Director
Arzie joined the UMKC Women’s Center in August 2009. Prior to joining the Women’s Center staff, Arzie worked as the Student Services Coordinator for the UMKC Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and Program Coordinator for the UMKC African American History & Culture House. With several years in higher education, Arzie has extensive experience in program development for multicultural student populations and in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented and first-generation college students. An advocate for women’s issues and social justice, Arzie served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center for two years and has been an active volunteer for the local affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union for more than a decade. In 2007, the ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri awarded Arzie with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Arzie holds a B.F.A. in Painting from the University of Kansas and an M.P.A. in Organizational Behavior from the UMKC Bloch School of Management. She is an active member of the Kansas City arts community exhibiting her artwork, judging various art scholarship competitions, and contributing to panel discussions regarding women in the arts. Arzie is also the proud mother of two children, Max and Mimi.