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August 29, 2003

Campus equity experts visit ISU

by Linda Charles
Three experts on campus equity for women and ethnic minority faculty will visit campus this fall to help Iowa State prepare a National Science Foundation grant application that helps universities diversify their scientific and technical workforce.

In addition to consulting on the NSF Advance grant preparation, the three will hold workshops for faculty, staff and administrators.

Institutions selected for Advance grants must demonstrate that they have examined their policies and practices, and plan to pursue new organizational strategies to improve women's access to senior and leadership ranks.

Advance grants have supported university-level data collection on issues related to women in science and engineering, awards for teaching or research, research assistantships after the birth of children, development of leadership programs and development of educational materials for search committees.

Lectures scheduled
Consultants on the grant preparation are Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner, professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University, Tempe; Denice Denton, dean of engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle; and Joan Williams, professor and director of the Program on Gender, Work and Family at the American University Law School, Washington, D.C.

Turner is the author of Faculty of Color in Academe: Bittersweet Success. She also wrote Diversifying the Faculty: A Guidebook for Search Committees, which takes a holistic approach to increasing faculty diversity and offers practical suggestions for procedures before, during and after a search. Turner will discuss "Bittersweet Success and Diversifying the Faculty" at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8, in 210 Bessey.

Denton directed a University of Wisconsin engineering program to diversify the undergraduate student population. The program spawned Wisconsin's LEAD Center, which supports university faculty in educational reform activities. Her talk, "Strategies to Diversify Faculty and Staff Ranks," will begin at 10 a.m., Monday, Sept. 22, in the Howe Hall auditorium.

Williams is the author of Unbending Gender; Why Family and Work Conflict and What We Can Do About It. The book outlines her vision for workplaces that focus on family needs. She proposes policies and legal initiatives to reorganize employment and home so people can lead healthier, more productive lives. Williams also is a regular contributor to the Chronicle of Higher Education's "Balancing Act" column, which focuses on balancing family and career. She will discuss the topic at noon Friday, Oct. 10, in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room.

Campus focus groups
Focus groups also may produce ideas included in the NSF grant application. A retreat for women faculty will be held Oct. 29 at Reiman Gardens. Dean of Agriculture Catherine Woteki will speak, and focus groups will discuss potential policies and organizational strategies to increase recruitment, retention and promotion of women faculty members at Iowa State.

Preparing Iowa State's Advance grant proposal are Jackie Litt, acting director and associate professor in the women's studies program and sociology; Diane Debinski, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology; Judy Vance, professor and chair of mechanical engineering; and Carolyn Heising, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.

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