The University of Maine
The President's Council on Women


November 19, 2004

Attending: Alice Bruce (Co-Chair), Nancy Lewis (Co-Chair), Robin Arnold, Sharon Barker, Catherine Berardelli, Laura Brothers, Sherri Dow, Cindy Erdley, Pauleena MacDougall, Susan Nichols, Ann Schonberger, Charlie Slavin, Janet Waldron, Holly Williams


~ Can still register for Spring Women's Studies classes; there are still some spaces
~ Women's Coalition for Change forming, if interested contact Sharon Barker
~ Rec Center input being sought; sessions today

Ann brought up the call for participants in the University's Strategic Plan process.  There is a Task Force with 4 subcommittees: Higher Education Park, Fogler Library, Graduate Education & Research, and Distance Education/Outreach Center.  It was agreed it would be good to have Council members on each of these bodies.

Holly presented the work of the Open Forum Subcommittee.  Tentative dates for Open Forums are January 25 and 26.  The Subcommittee suggested both a morning and an afternoon session.  It was also suggested that there be an evening forum.  It was agreed that a letter from the President emphasizing that employees be allowed to attend would be a good idea.  Publicity should include a bulletin board mailing and posters to be distributed around campus (Ann volunteered work student students to help with this), as well as FirstClass postings.  The Subcommittee suggested having a handout with a brief overview of PCOW available at the sessions.  Estimated costs for publicity and food at the meetings are $700-800.  The Subcommittee will meet again to iron out the details.

Interim President Kennedy joined the meeting and spoke about the Strategic Plan process; he agreed that having a PCOW member on the Strategic Plan Task Force was a good idea to bring diversity/gender issues into the discussion from the start.  He asked that we nominate 2-3 people for this purpose.  A discussion took place about recommendations that contained "hidden" gender issues, and it was suggested that the University be deliberate about bring women's voices into all planning processes.

The Council also had questions about the implications of cost-savings recommendations recently announced.  Interim President Kennedy, and Janet Waldron, explained that most savings would come from tuition discounts and waivers, primarily from out-of-country students.  There has been no discussion of eliminating tuition waivers for employees.  Suggestions were made to gather information on the accessibility of the tuition waiver to employees, and to provide support for employees to learn about, and take advantage of this benefit. 

A question was raised about the tourism program at UMaine in light of Governor Baldacci's call for the creation of a Center of Tourism at UMaine.  Interim President Kennedy explained that this will be called the Center for Tourism, Outreach and Research jointly supported by UMaine and USM.  Janet Waldron will send a copy of the report about this to our FirstClass Folder.

Interim President Kennedy outlined his overall goals: 1) enhance the national reputation of UMaine, 2) increase communication, both within the UMaine community, and with outside constituents, and 3) continue emphasis on UMaine's contributions to the economy and quality of life in Maine.

There were questions about open administrative positions.  Kennedy wants to change the Public Affairs & Marketing position to University Relations; there will be a national search.  He anticipates searches for the Association Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Associate Vice President for Research; he would like on-campus searches for these positions, but understands that the Faculty Senate would like to see national searches.

The Anonymous Communications Subcommittee then gave their report.  The would like to wait for the Open Forums to be held before they work on the actual instrument.  They will be meeting with Phil Pratt from Institutional Studies.  Some issues they have been discussing include random sampling and possible de-gendering of the survey.  A brief discussion was held on these issues, but time ran out.  We will hear back from the Anonymous Communications Subcommittee in January.

October 22, 2004 Meeting Summary

Attending: Alice Bruce (Co-Chair), Nancy Lewis (Co-Chair), Robin Arnold, Sharon Barker, Catherine Berardelli, Laura Brothers, Sandy Butler, Cynthia Erdley, Shezwae Fleming, Pauleena MacDougall, Susan Nichols, Ann Schonberger, Charlie Slavin, Brenda Willette, and Holly Williams


~ Maine Women's Studies Conference, November 6th, contact Ann Schonberger
~ National Young Women's Day of Action, October 27th, 7pm, film and discussion, contact Sharon Barker

Building on our September meeting, we received overviews on what information had already been collected.  Robin Arnold reported that very little had been collected about classified women.  There was a 2002 white paper from the Bureau of Labor Education on classified employees system-wide, but this did not specifically focus on women.  The 1988 Task Force on the Status of Women report did include mention of classified women employees.  A few years ago this Council looked at the availability of tuition waivers and made recommendations for some charges; most of these recommendations were implemented.

Laura Brothers reported that the Association of Graduate Students weren't aware of this Council; she plans to talk about the Council at the next meeting.  There is a group of women graduate students meeting on Tuesday afternoons.  Also, it was mentioned that the Council worked on the climate for graduate women in the mid-1990's.

Pauleena MacDougall reported that monthly lunch meetings for professional women have begun this semester.  Issues raised include establishing connections with each other, professional development opportunities, supervisor accountability, the lack of mentoring, and the sense that the University is not backing up its policies promoting gender equity.  Pauleena and Sharon Barker did some focus group work, with the support of CFO Janet Waldron, and submitted a report with their findings.  Sharon also mentioned that the Council, in the early 90's, wrote a report recommending development opportunities for professional and classified women employees.

Sharon Barker sent an "informal" survey to faculty last Spring that found that women faculty were interested in receiving more recognition, access to power, and ways to alleviate the isolation of women in predominantly male departments.  Their are several groups interested in looking at this issues; the Task Force on the Retention of Women Faculty, the Faculty Senate Committee on the Environment, and the Task Force on the Climate for Women Administrators.

Our discussion included difference between classified and professional designations, mentoring programs, and anonymous reporting mechanisms.  It was decided to break into two subcommittees., Anonymous Communication and Open Forums.  Once all have a chance to sign up for a subcommittee, each will meet and submit a report to our FirstClass folder.  These reports will include both ideas for gathering information, an possible budget requests for doing so.  The Subcommittees will share info in the FirstClass folder by November 12th, and we will discuss the proposals in our meeting November 19th.

The next meeting will be at 1:10 pm, in 218 Corbett Business Building, on November 19th.

September 24, 2004 Meeting Summary

Attending: Alice Bruce (Co-Chair), Nancy Lewis (Co-Chair), Sharon Barker, Catherine Berardelli, Laura Brothers, Sandra Butler, Katherine Carter, Sherri Dow, Cynthia Erdley, Ashlyn Giles, Pauleena MacDougal, Susan Nichols, Ann Schonberger, Charlie Slavin, Janet Waldron, Heather Westwood, Brenda Willette, and Holly Williams.

The meeting began with members of the Council introducing themselves.  Several events were announced:

~ Maine Women's Fund dinner, Oct. 12th, in Portland; Sharon Barker is receiving an award.
~ Maine Women's Policy Center breakfast, Oct. 19th 7:30-9 am, Bangor Sheraton; contact Nancy Lewis soon if  you would like to attend (we still have some tickets paid for by the President's Office).
~ the WIC lunches have begun; go to for more info.
~ the Maryann Hartman Award Ceremony is Oct. 13th from 5-7 pm in the Buchanan House; contact Ann    Schonberger if you can attend.
~ the Student Women's Association has begun a vote registration project in the Union.
~ October 6th there will be a conference in Bangor on domestic violence in the workplace
~ Media Literacy and Girlfighting conference, Oct. 19th at Colby; contact Sharon Barker for more info.
~ the Maine Women's Studies Conference is Nov. 6th; contact Ann Schonberger if you are interested in presenting, or attending.
~ Human Resources will be holding a 2-day Wellness event Nov. 16 & 17.

Co-Chair Alice Bruce provided a summary of a meeting some PCW members had (Alice Bruce, Nancy Lewis, Sharon Barker, Ann Schonberger) with Interim President Kennedy and Executive Assistant to the President Evelyn Silver on August 31st.  The meeting went well, with Interim President Kennedy demonstrating his willingness to maintain open communication with the Council.  He approved the agenda for this semester of self-evaluation through open forums around campus.  He plans to attend a meeting this Fall, and will meet again with this small group in December.  He also indicted that he would be pleased to accept a budget request for our work.

Co-Chair Nancy Lewis facilitated the Council separating into four small groups to brainstorm around the idea of open forums.  The groups discussed how best to gather input, including structure, times, and places.  At the end of these lively discussions, we shared our ideas, and agreed to use our FirstClass conference to continue the discussion and to begin to set some goals.

The next meeting of the Council will be Friday, October 22nd from 1:10 - 2:30 pm, place to be announced later.

Below are some of the ideas/questions generated through these groups:

~ important to have meetings that are not separated by group, i.e. classified, professional, faculty; perhaps a combination of targeted group meetings and meetings open to all
~ good to have meetings with students on campus in dorms, on both sides of campus
~ meet with existing groups, i.e. the Association of Graduate Students
~ perhaps we should have focus groups, instead of forums, and allow women to sign up
~ a few from the PCW should be in attendance at every meeting, both to facilitate and listen
~ we need to provide a safe space for women to speak
~ need opportunities for anonymous written communication, perhaps electronically and on paper
~ we could have specific questions to get the conversation started, and to help women identify gendered behavior
~ we could have meetings around a particular topic, perhaps with a short presentation before eliciting comments
~ we should not publicize them as collecting information for an "official" study
~ we could post flyers around campus to publicize our forums
~ we could get email lists to send notices
~ providing food at the forums would be a way to draw women