the Support and Advancement of Women at Pitt
Minutes for April
15, 2004 meeting
- People attending: Kit Ayars, Lisa Brush, Lynn
Conner, Tanya Fabian, Jean Ferketish, Pat Friedman, Irene Frieze (chair),
Leslie Hayden, Ellen Olshansky, Maureen Porter, Manjit Singh, Jennifer
Stephan, Judy Stern, Madalyn Turner-Dickerkon, Amy Wagner, Erroline Williams
and Darlene Zellers.
- Discussion of April 7 Plenary. Comments were
generally positive about the event overall, as well as the individual
speakers and panelists. The attendance was excellent, and may have set a
record for a Senate Plenary. Many staff and some students attended, as well
as faculty and administrators. Both men and women were present in the
audience. Concerns were raised about the focus on women marrying well [a
comment from the audience] and the lack of attention to structural issues
that impede womenís advancement. The event received excellent coverage in
the April 15 University Times.
- Review of the status of the Plenary recommendations.
The Recommendations were not completed in time for presentation at the
Plenary. Concerns were also expressed about waiting until we had input
from the workshops and the Plenary event itself to incorporate into the
recommendations. We will be working on this over the coming year.
- Report on Committee website. Old website is
being updated. See
- Brief Reports on Plenary Workshops. The
overall reaction to the workshops was quite positive. All were very good.
Attendance varied from a low of about 7 attendees at the Family Friendly
Benefits session to a high of nearly 40 for the session on Negotiations.
Many people asked about having more workshops in the future and this is
something we need to think about. One specific suggestion was that we ask
our panelist, Jane Thompson, to do a general workshop.
workshop leader was asked to report briefly on her workshop and to prepare
a report for
- Developing a relational work environment. Ellen
- Family friendly benefits. Lorie Ann Osho
- Surviving the high-wire act: Balancing work and
home. Amy Wagner
- Women of color on campus. Paula Davis
- Issues for lesbian and bisexual women. Ray Anne
- Negotiations. Katherine Wisner.
- Acquiring and using cultural capital for career
mobility. Consuella Lewis
- Discussion of Priorities for the new ad hoc
committee. Each person at the meeting was asked her ideas about future
- Amy Wagner. Each unit in the University has its
own culture and issues in one unit may not be relevant for others. But,
some ideas can be generalized and have wide relevance. The needs for
mentors is one such example.
- Lynn Conner. We need to develop better ways for
women to have discussions with other women, perhaps through setting up
groups for women to talk about personal and career issues.
- Kit Ayars. Groups for women, and more general
meetings and other activites are important ways for networking. We
might think of other ways that networking can be enhanced.
- Jennifer Stephan. She has very much enjoyed
working with the group as the undergraduate student representative from
the Campus Womenís Organization. CWO has received funding to sponsor
lunches where undergraduate women can meet women faculty members in an
informal setting. We need to develop additional mentoring programs for
- Leslie Hayden. It would be very helpful to have
more ways that new women faculty can meet women in other units. A group
for these women would be helpful.
- Ellen Olshansky. We need to think about multiple
models for women to be successful and incorporate this into our
activities. We might develop a seminar series to introduce new women
faculty to others in the University.
- Judy Stern. The Plenaryís welcoming of staff
participation in the planning and other events was much appreciated. We
should continue to be inclusive of staff.
- Darlene Zellers. Staff and faculty donít always
communicate well. The Plenary activities were a good forum for this.
Mentoring programs are needed specifically for staff.
- Lisa Brush. We need to make sure that we donít
ask women to give too much service. Women are often expected to do this
as part of other work demands, but are rarely rewarded for this. We
canít blame women for the barriers they face. Departments need to be
made accountable for these barriers and for finding ways to eliminate
- Maureen Porter. The History of Women at Pitt
exhibit was an excellent addition to the Plenary and many people looked
at this. We need to make sure this exhibit is updated and expanded.
The Plenary website served as an important resource and we need to
continue to maintain this. Her students may be able to assist us in our
activities in the coming year.
- Madalyn Turner-Dickerkon. She, too, was glad that
staff were invited to participate in Plenary activities. We need to be
concerned with diversity on campus, as well as with women. We need to
explore additional ways that minority members can be appointed to staff
- Erroline Williams. Racism on campus continues to
be an important issue. We need to continue to develop mentoring
programs and networking opportunities for minorities and women.
- Pat Friedman. Women do tend to have good
relationship skills. We need to continue to bring womenís perspectives
into our activities.
- Tanya Fabian. We need to educate people more on
what the issues are.
- Jean Ferketish. We need to examine the culture
and determine how to release some of the barriers to change.
Traditional female leadership skills such as building strong teams are
often not rewarded in the University context, and may not be as visible
as they should be to others.
7. Plans for future meetings.
There will be another general meeting at the end of May or early June. There
was interest in having a party or picnic later in the summer or
early fall, but no specific plans were developed.
Submitted by Irene