The University of Maine
The President's Council on Women


February 13, 2006

Taken by Pauleena MacDougall

Dr. Robert Kennedy, President joined our meeting this month.

Dr. Kennedy - In thinking about a role for PCW he mentioned his experience with other university groups such as ours at University of MD and Texas A&M.  He sees PCW as very important for improving the environment for all (gender, race, class).  He thought it important that PCW update it's web site and use it as a forum and marketing instrument to help raise awareness of climate issues and inclusive vs. exclusive behavior.  He offered to help - Janet Waldron can help PCW with web.  Secondly, he thought that we should study the data and reports in a more focused way and address strategies that we can use, providing information to the University  and the public.  He suggested we select and investigate from the list on the public forum summary.

Dr. Kennedy will help and do what he can but we should prioritize (can't do everything at once.)

Pam raised the suggestion that PCW work on benchmarks for the strategic plan.

Dr. Kennedy asked for Specifics?  The group was not ready to offer any.

Sharon Barker identified examples of poor climate for women in different parts of campus.  She gave an example of here own recent experience of exclusive language.  We have policies but what doesn't change is climate/isolation/allocation of resources.  We need to keep the conversations going.

Sue Estler suggested the term " Micro-inequities" for what is happening on campus.  Intent of PCW is to serve as an advisor to the President.  She suggested leadership at the presidential level should be an institutional priority.  Asked President to put money into web site and other extra curricular work.

Dr. Kennedy suggested Sharon Buchanan who works for Janet can help PCW get web updated and maintained.  He suggested we reflect more broadly on our mission and how we might help the president.  He again mentioned the web site and that Joe Carr can help us publicize.

Ann Schonberger mentioned employee orientation as an opportunity (brochure?), new faculty orientation addressed by her (used to happen but not any longer).

Cathy Pease - How can we use technology ie. webct?

Susan Nichols talked about mentoring program for all new employees.

Dr. Kennedy stressed the importance of marketing and communication through websites, brochures, messages to the community.  Council could work on ways to effectively get the message to students.

Sharon - There is too much acceptance of the status quo.

Sue - Feminism is a dirty word among students.  Message: there is still work to do.  We could provide links on our web page to groups that are working on this issue.

Cathy - Need for eldercare - we are the oldest state in the nation.

Sharon - the problem is with the underlying climate - there is a gap between our good intentions and how we continue with business as usual.  Sharon attended a meeting in which men using exclusive language and when she brought it up she was greeted with some hostility.  She expressed concern about the backlash to women who speak up about it.  We need meaningful creative feedback.

Make it an interactive web site so people can bring up issues.

Dr. Kennedy - This in not a new issue.  It is systemic.  Try to come up with comprehensive way to deal with it.

Ann - Concerned about faculty positions being filled when vacated by retirement.  When there is no money to do so it effects opportunity to hire women.  Women faculty are often isolated and overwhelmed.

Dr. Kennedy - budget shortfalls for the last few years.  Some redistribution but the numbers haven't gone down.

Isn't the real issue equal opportunity.

Class book theme: recommend a book or series of lectures.

What are the resources, where can you go for help.

Ann - these have not been well-attended.  There is a symbolic importance of leadership attending.  People will come if they see leadership there.

Dr. Kennedy - president's house receptions have been well attended.  PCW could plan to have something at the President's House

Students - Students are so crunched financially that they are not joining clubs or attending campus events.  Many are working - it is an increasing problem.  We need to bring messages into the classroom and into the dormitories.

Dr. Kennedy - Some good news.  This year Kathryn Musgrave will receive an honorary degree.  Also new VP for development is Barbara Beers.  Now 2 VP's are women.

Dr. Kennedy - offered to meet with us again this spring.

Back to PCW meeting page