Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spring 2013 update

Hello WFCers, and happy 2013!

Having started my term as chair of the WFC last summer, I wanted to give everyone an update on what we accomplished in summer and fall 2012, and what we’re looking forward to in the coming semester.

We did quite a bit of networking / socializing in the past few months.  In July, a group of WFC members and their guests got together at Bozeman Pond for our first-ever “bookluck” party – everyone brought food, drinks, and books to trade, and it was really fun to catch up with each other outside the regular school setting.  Of course, being July, a lot of people were on vacation, so we might re-consider the date if we decide to hold another summer party like this.

In September we learned that former WFC chair Jessi Smith (and her team) have been awarded a five-year, $3.4 million NSF-ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant, which targets the advancement of women in STEM and SBS fields in a way that transforms the university as a whole in terms of equity and diversity. This is excellent news for everyone at MSU, and I anticipate hearing a lot about the impact that this award has on gender issues within the university -- it should be truly transformative, as the name suggests.

In late October, we hosted our annual fall luncheon, introduced the new Steering Committee members, outlined the broad agenda for the year, and solicited ideas and volunteers for the subcommittees that are doing the majority of the “behind the scenes” work for the year.  We feasted on MSU catering, but the nuclear lemonade was sorely missed…

The members of the expanded Steering Committee – who represent TT and NTT faculty from across MSU – are:

Graham Austin – chair (Business)
Beth Burroughs – past chair (Letters & Science)
Meta Newhouse – incoming chair (Arts & Architecture)
Sarah Allen – Education, Health & Human Development
Sheila Bonnand – Libraries
Jennifer Brown – Engineering
Lauren Cerretti – Graduate school
Yoshiko Colclough – Nursing
Irene Grimberg – Science & Math Resource Center
Mary Leonard Education, Health & Human Development
Lucy Marshall – Agriculture
Christine StantonEducation, Health & Human Development

If you’d like to take a turn on the Steering Committee – or help the WFC in any capacity – we’re always on the lookout for energetic and creative people who want to serve!

In other fall news, the newly-formed constitution and bylaws subcommittee began the process of making the structures and functions of the WFC official.  It might surprise some of you to learn that since our inception, the WFC has not had a sanctioned set of rules or procedures.  This wasn’t due to an oversight, but rather by design, allowing the Caucus to “find its level” organically during its early years.  As such, we’ve been able to identify the strengths and opportunities of the group, as well as revise and refine our membership and leadership structures.  We’re now at a point that we have large enough membership, visibility, and authority on campus to make formal policies both necessary and beneficial.  The constitution and bylaws subcommittee will continue to work throughout the spring to write the new charter, and we’ll need members’ help when the time comes to ratify it.

Also during the fall, MSU Family Advocate (and former WFC chair) Sara Rushing drafted two family-friendly work policies to include in the collective bargaining process that AFMSU and the administration will work on this spring.  The two areas that the policies address had previously been identified by WFC members (and others) as being particularly important to improve both equity and quality of life for all MSU faculty:
(1) Standardizing the option to stop one’s tenure clock for a year, due to the addition of a family member (such as through the birth or adoption of a child), and
(2) the establishment of a sick leave donation pool, which can be used to supplement sick leave for those employees who haven’t accrued enough sick leave to cover a medical absence
During December’s “dead week,” we had another social gathering, this time in the Helen Copeland Gallery.  Lots of people were able to attend, and the mingling was delightful, thanks to the beautiful setting, delicious food, and a really fun ice-breaker that party planner extraordinaire Meta Newhouse put together. 

At the December party, we announced that Laura Black (associate professor of management) is the winner of this year’s WFC Distinguished Mentor Award.  The university will recognize Laura’s substantial and ongoing contributions to MSU’s vitality and success at the Spring Convocation on January 10.  

Other WFC members who are receiving University-level accolades at Thursday’s Convocation are Bethany Letiecq (the Betty Coffey Award), Jessi Smith (the Cox Family Faculty Excellence Award), and Linda Young (the Anna K. Fridley Award for Outstanding Teaching).  Congratulations to all of you!

In keeping with her mentoring spirit, Laura Black has generously offered to facilitate two workshops for us this spring on writing narratives about one's work (for retention, tenure, promotion, and/or annual reviews).  Each workshop will be limited to 8 participants, and Laura insists that everyone bring student evaluations, previous annual reviews (especially critical ones), and other stuff that causes us angst.  Participants will also need to bring their own laptops, since these will be work sessions. She proposes that one workshop be scheduled for late March (following spring break) and another for early-to-mid May (after the end of the semester, but before people leave town for the summer).  Each workshop will last approximately 2 hours, and Laura promises that attendees will learn to appreciate their “crap,” and to love the magic of the subordinate clause.  If you’re interested in attending one of these workshops, please email me (gaustin (at) montana.edu) and let me know which date you’d prefer.

This coming spring, the programming subcommittee will use suggestions from you to put together more of what we hope are stimulating, exciting programs that will help keep you connected with your female colleagues, while nourishing your creativity and productivity.  We hope to focus significant energy on programming that ties into President Cruzado’s “Year of Engaged Leadership” initiative.

We’ll have more to discuss at our spring meeting, which will be on Monday, March 4.  Save the date!

Thanks for reading, and happy spring semester!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer reading potluck

Have you blasted though all the John Grisham books you set aside for vacation reading and are now wondering how you're going to spend all your free time?

Have you been feeling lonely,  missing your colleagues since the end of spring semester?

Do you feel the need to eat around 6:00 pm every evening?

Well, mark your calendars, because THIS is the event for you!

WFC Potluck and Book Swap 
Wednesday, July 18
Bozeman Pond Pavilion 
(the park west of the mall)
5:30 pm (or so)

Please bring
A dish to share
Something to drink
Books you'd like to get rid of
(that you think others might be interested in reading)
A bag to put your new books in

Please note
We've gotten an alcohol waiver, so beer and wine are welcome!
Spouses, kids, friends, and well-behaved dogs are also welcome!
Books can be claimed on a first-come basis
We'll donate any books that nobody takes home

Monday, March 5, 2012

All member lunch and spring meeting

The Women's Faculty Caucus will hold its spring luncheon and all-member meeting on Friday, March 9, from noon - 1 in SUB Ballroom B. Membership in the WFC is open to all women faculty on campus, including non-tenure track, tenure track, and research faculty.

In addition to taking this opportunity to interact on a professional and personal level, at this meeting we will divide into interest groups to generate ideas about issues that are relevant to our organization in the coming year. These issues include

  • Codifying our membership  by establishing by-laws and membership criteria
  • Convening a family-friendly working group to address issues that affect female faculty members
  • Identifying professional development opportunities that will benefit our members.
We'll provide lunch - the menu will include a choice of a deli sandwich or soup (the soup is vegetarian and gluten free), tossed salad, iced tea, and an assortment of cookies. If you can, let us know you are coming by emailing an RSVP to Gale (gough@montana.edu). But if you get inspired at the last minute, please join us anyway and we'll find a plate for you! 

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Miss Representation

    WFC Steering Committee member Meta Newhouse recently watched a documentary film called Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. It was pretty terrific, and as an official Sundance entry, is getting lots of press right now

    Meta tells us, "The amazing news is that Jennifer will be coming to MSU next semester (March 20th) as part of the President's Fine Arts Series. Kate Jo, our gallery director, has played a large role in getting her to visit."
    The screening has been set for Wednesday night at the Ellen Theatre, followed by a panel discussion. The WFC is exploring programming around Jennifer's visit. We'll keep you posted!
    In the meantime, check out the website and see if you can catch a screening!

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Holiday Mixer, part 2

    Hey, hey, hey!

    Our end-of-the-semester snowshoe outing is happening this coming Friday, Dec. 16, and we hope lots of you can make it.  It'll be wonderful to get outside and unwind from finals!

    Here are the details:
    • Meet on campus at 1:00pm in the parking lot closest to the ORC (to accommodate those who need to rent snowshoes, gaiters, etc.).
    • Carpool up to Hyalite.
    • Convene at Blackmore Pavilion; do an easy snowshoe hike (~3 miles) around the lower Blackmore loop. Those who want a shorter hike can turn around prior to the 1.5 mile mark.  (Here's a downloadable trail map, if you want to see where we're going.)
    • Reconvene at the pavilion around 2:30-3:00ish.
    • Drink hot chocolate or apple cider, try to stay warm by the fire, chat.
    • Depart Hyalite by 4:00 (or sooner, if people would prefer), be back on campus before dark.

    In order to make sure that we have enough refreshments for everyone -- while not being stuck with 3 gallons of leftover drinks -- please click here to place your advance drink orders.

    The poll is the same for both the blog and the listserv, so you only need to vote once  :-)

    If you have questions, are running late, need to get in touch for another reason, you can call my cell (my number is in the email I sent out on 12/13).
    Let's see how fried everyone's brains are at this point in the year.  Here's a quick quiz:

    a. We won't be wearing as many clothes.
    b. There will be a lot more men there.
    c.  Hyalite Reservoir is a lot deeper than this.
    d.  We won't need rescue personnel or an audience.
    e.  This is actually what springs to mind when I imagine an outing with the WFC.

    This is much more like it, eh?

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Yesterday's mixer

    Thanks to everyone who came to the party yesterday evening!  It was a great turnout, and I hope/think that everyone had a good time.

    For those who couldn't attend, this is pretty much how it went down:

    It was really fun to be able to catch up with friends from other colleges & departments who I haven't seen in ages, and to meet new members of the WFC (as well as long-time WFC'ers who I just haven't had the pleasure of getting to know yet).

    Thanks to Meta for arranging the venue, the Baja Fresh, and the margaritas!

    Keep watching this space for info re our winter wonderland outing that happens 2 weeks from today...

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Holiday Mixer, part 1

    Dear current and future WFC members,

    Doesn't the picture above perfectly capture how you're feeling right about now?

    On Thursday, December 1, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, the WFC will be hosting the first of two end-of-the-semester get-togethers, and we hope you can join us for treats for the eyes and the palate!

    (I suppose this first one is really more of an almost-end-of-the-semester gathering, since we've still got a couple of weeks to go...)

    Please join us in Haynes Hall in the Copeland Gallery for eats, drinks, conversation, and art by Sean Caulfield and Akiko Taniguchi. It should be an aesthetically stimulating good old time!

    The second, actual end-of-the-semester get-together will be something off-campus, outside, and a little athletic (think snowshoeing at Hyalite, followed by a mug of something warming...).  We're looking at Friday, December 16 as the best possible date, and hope you'll be able to join us for one, if not both, of these fun gatherings!

    It'll be just like this, except with snow.  And a fire.  And drinks.