Runyan is a professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) who has chaired both women’s studies and political science departments. She focuses on and co-founded the field of feminist international relations. Runyan notes that many people do not understand this approach to the study of international politics and economics. “I sometimes over simplistically describe it as women and world politics. But it is actually about much more than that. It is about understanding how world politics is organized on the basis of inequalities.”
The most challenging aspect of Runyan’s work is “time—there is never enough of it.” She teaches undergraduate and graduate students. Her classes include Women and Global Issues, Gender and International Violence, and Women, Gender and Globalization.
Besides significant time devoted to teaching in the classroom and online, Runyan is busy supervising student research, drafting letters of recommendation for students and colleagues, coordinating campus and department events, reviewing books and articles for presses and journals, serving on a range of campus and professional association committees (including chairing the Committee on Women in the Academic Professions for the national AAUP), and conducting her own research and writing. She is a prolific writer and has published numerous books and articles.
Runyan believes that her students are driven by a passion to challenge inequalities. Because WGSS at the University of Cincinnati pioneered a joint MA/JD program in WGSS and Law, many have pursued careers in public interest law as well as other activist careers. Other WGSS students have become professors themselves.
Feminist international relations has experienced transformative growth since Runyan co-founded the field. There is now a fourth generation of scholars working in the field and it has its own journal (for which she is an associate editor), professional associations, and international organizations. Runyan takes justifiable pride with her role in its development. “I believe I have made a difference in the world—from no attention to gender in international affairs when I started my research to it becoming a major issue.”