The University of Maine
The President's Council on Women

Minutes

February 1, 2007

Present: Sharon Barker, Ann Schonberger, Ann Leffler, Sue Estler, Sandy Sigmon, Dianne King, Sherri Dow, Pauleena MacDougall, Mary Cathcart, Diane Genthner, Marie Dubord, Bonita Grindle, Karen Kemble, Sandy Butler (recording)

Welcome to Karen Kemble: Karen, the new Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, joined us on her very first day in her new job!

Announcements: Ann S. distributed WIC lunch flyers.  She asked us to pay special attention to next week’s WIC event (February 7) which will be a noontime basketball game. That same day at 6:00, Mariah Burton Nelson, a former professional basketball player will give a talk, “Throw like a girl, lead like a champion”.  Ann also passed out flyers on the Vagina Monologues which will be playing at 7:30 on February 15, 16 and 17.

Counter offers: Ann L. asked to have a discussion about counter offers before the “season starts”.  She wondered whether the PCW might want to make a statement regarding how these offers are made or not made so as not to compromise diversity on campus.  There was some general discussion on what have been the processes and procedures in the past.  It can be very chaotic without enough communication.  Sharon said this has also been discussed in the task force on the retention of female faculty.  Evidently there is not a clear process but there was general agreement that it would be good for there to be more communication with the faculty member potentially leaving, that money is not always what is needed to keep a person here if other changes can be made, that the OEO should be involved, and that considerations of maintaining and increasing diversity on campus be held paramount.  It was agreed that the PCW should recommend to the President that this process needs to be made more transparent, that Chairs need to be reminded to communicate with their faculty and the OEO, and pay attention to diversity.  Pauleena will draft a statement for the Council to review.

Progress on our brochure: Marie brought a mock up of our proposed brochure for us to review and discuss.  It was very helpful in helping us visualize what our product might look like and how to organize it.  She had captured some key points on students, staff and faculty.  It was agreed that Marie will continue to be our point person as the brochure evolves and that people should send her their ideas of important points that should be included.  We are looking for attention getters.

Sandy provided data on the distribution of students by gender in the various departments, identified by the Kanter groupings of uniform, skewed, tilted or balanced.  Sandy also distributed several pages from the report Education, Gender, and the Work Force (complete report posted earlier to PCW conference by Sue) which includes data on wages of graduates by gender.  It was agreed that some content from both of these sets of data might be included in the brochure.

We had further discussion on what we wanted to include.  We will look at the two prior reports on the status of classified staff to select out some key issues/statistics.  It was suggested that we include something on faculty by tenure/rank by gender and the distribution of classified staff by gender.  We had a side discussion about education benefits and how widely they are used both by staff and by their dependents, and also about how current data on the educational level of staff may be out of date, because as people further their education they often do not update their information at HR. 

Ultimately, the brochure will only be a snapshot of some of the more dramatic data, including lots of pie charts and other visuals.  Next year, perhaps the Council will choose to focus on particular aspects that draw the greatest reaction.  We discussed how to distribute the flyer once it is complete.  Some suggestions included a meeting with the President, an open meeting on campus to present it, a media release, etc.

Chilly or not so chilly climates: Sharon led a discussion of two recent papers on the experience of female students on campus.  Posted to the PCW conference was a paper that Phil Pratt suggested would be of interest to the Council, by Julie-Ann Scott called “An analysis of academic performance and experiences of undergraduate male and female students enrolled in programs nontraditional to their sex at the UM.”  Sharon offered a second paper for the Council to consider which she considered to be more grounded in feminist analysis and more methodologically sophisticated.  The second paper can be accessed online from the Journal of Higher Education (vol 77, issue 4, 2006) and it is by Elizabeth Allan and Mary Madden.  This paper is entitled, “Chilly classrooms for female undergraduates: A question of method?”   Pauleena, who had read both papers agreed with Sharon’s analysis, as did Sue and Sandy (who admitted to only having skimmed both papers).

Reception for honored women on campus: It was decided that the Council would like to ask the President if he would be willing to co-host (at his house of course) a reception for women honored on campus in the spring, those retiring, those promoted, those who have been here 25 years. 

Next meeting is March 22nd at 1:30 in the F.A.A. room.

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