Summary of Commission on Women Advisory Board Meetings

Fall Semester 2004




Commission on Women Board Members:  Therese Buchmiller, Jennifer Rothchild, Shaheen Haji, Fang Du, Donna Bauck, Colleen Frey, Miriam Panton, Randi Peterson, Michelle Page, Sara Haugen (Coordinator), Andrea Stout (Student Assistant), Jennifer Connolly (Women's Resource Center representative)


September 15


04-05 Goals

The Board members reviewed the Commission's mission and goals and discussed specific areas that might be the focus for this year.  Some questions that might guide programs and activities for 04-05 included:  What is today's classroom climate for women?  How do women balance family and professional goals and responsibilities?  What is the role of a mentor?  How can we recruit and retain more women, including more women of color, to faculty and staff positions?


Communication is key in understanding what is already being done at UMM, what needs attention, where the Board's energies might be concentrated.  People involved with the Violence Prevention Program, Women's Studies Major, and Title IX and Athletics at UMM will be invited to attend future CW meetings to update the Board on issues and activities in their areas.  Other possible guests might include:  Dian Lopez, CW''s liaison to the Morris Area Childcare Center, Sarah Mattson regarding family leave policies. Christine Peacock from Someplace Safe.


Fall Programs

A subcommittee was established to work with the Women's Resource Center and Women of Color Association on a fall semester social and information sharing expo that would include other groups who work on gender, equity, and equality issues.   Subcommittee members are Randi Peterson, Fang Du, Jennifer Rothchild, and Shaheen Haji.


The Board agreed to sponsor the Women and Finance seminar again.  Eleven staff and faculty members are signed up.  The seminar will be conducted over a six week period beginning October 7.  Tamela Sperr from Edward Jones Investments will conduct the seminar.


Sara Haugen will attend the Violence Prevention Program Department of Justice Conference, mid-October, with Henry Fulda  and Gail Hockert, UMM Counseling Center, and Chuck Grussing, UMM Police. 



September 29


Guest:     Bridget Joos


UMM Violence Prevention Program

Bridget Joos, UMM's Violence Prevention Program Coordinator, gave the Board an overview of UMM's grant from the Justice Department.  In addition to various programs being presented on campus, Bridget has been working with others from the campus and region on developing advocacy connections, getting the word out on services available, increasing safety awareness, etc.  One major program that is in the works involves training for campus role models/leaders in violence prevention.  The grant also provides training for area nurses and law enforcement personnel in working with sexual assault victims and in the use of rape kits. 


CW Grants

Board members reviewed the proposed 04-05 budget, CW grant criteria, and types of grants awarded in the past. The Board will ask grantees to write either a summary report when their grant activities are complete or do an oral report at a Board meeting. 


A grant application was received from Dian Lopez and Elena Machkasova, UMM Computer Science Discipline faculty, requesting $230.  The grant would cover expenses related to social activities intended to encourage and support female students in the discipline and meetings where information regarding mentoring, internships, graduate schools, etc. will be shared and related discussions are fostered.  The grant was approved in full.


October 13


Guests:  Gretchen Murphy, Women's Studies Discipline Coordinator, and Anna Koslowski, Women's Studies Intern


Women's Studies

Handouts, provided by Nancy Helsper, UMM's Director of Institutional Research, were distributed with data related to the Women's Studies Major and course enrollments, 1999-2004.  Forty-four courses have been offered during this time period.  Since Women's Studies became a major in 2000-01, the number of graduates with a WS major or minor has steadily increased.  In 2003-04, 6 women graduated with majors and 3 with minors; many men and women take the WS courses.


Gretchen and Anna described some of the challenges that Women's Studies faces:  as an interdisciplinary major, they receive no monetary support from a discipline or from the Dean; a one half time position has been retrenched following Jeanne Purdy's retirement so Women's Studies Across the Curriculum will no longer be offered; Mimi Frenier is teaching Intro to Women's Studies without pay.  On a more positive note, Sarah Buchanan will be offering an advanced course in feminist theories.  The WS discipline and students are interested in working with the Commission on events and programs.  Specifically, they have begun planning a panel on gender issues.  Some of the questions to be posed would be intentionally provocative:  "Shouldn't Women's Studies be Gender Studies?"  "Isn't feminism just a white, middle-class women's movement?"  "Why do we need a campus Commission on Women when women are no longer a minority on campus?"  The intent is to open up discussion among/between feminist groups and a larger audience.  The Board indicated that it is interested in partnering with WS on this project.


Fall luncheon/information expo update.  Randi reported few response have been received to the e-mail inviting groups to participate.  The subcommittee decided to send out a printed invitation to see if that would elicit more response.


November 3


Guests:  Mark Fohl, Heather Pennie, Sandy Olson-Loy, Kristen Invie


Title IX and Athletics at UMM

Mark Fohl, UMM Athletic Director, Sandy Olson-Loy, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Heather Pennie, UMM Softball and Volleyball Coach and Senior Woman Administrator for Athletics presented information on Title IX at UMM, compliance and challenges.    Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 requiring equity in education.  Most often people associate the term with athletics.   In athletics there is a three-part test used to determine if an institution is in compliance with the law:

€Proportionality:  Are participation opportunities substantially proportionate to enrollment for men and women? 

Fohl:  it is almost impossible for UMM to meet this test because of the number of men involved in football and the high enrollment rate of women (60.1%).  There are currently 7 men's sports and 10 women's sports, however women account for only 48.1% of all UMM athletes (data from 2003).  If 60% of students are women, 60% of students in athletics should be women; if not, they would be considered underrepresented.

€History:  Is there a history and continuing practice of program expansion for the underrepresented sex? 

Fohl:  UMM has attempted to comply with this test.  There have been no new men's sports added since 1964 and all 10 women's sports have been added since 1970.

€Accommodation of students' interests:  Is the institution fully and effectively accommodating the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex? 

Fohl:  UMM has attempted over the years to meet women's athletic interests.  The choice of adding swimming and diving in 2004 was a response to interest expressed by current and prospective students. 

UMM must submit an EADA (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act) report to the U.S. Department of Education annually.


Commission members inquired about gender balance in UMM's coaching staff. 

Fohl indicated that gender balance is lacking, in part because football has 5 assistant coaches, all of whom are men, while other sports have 0-1 assistant coaches.  It has been difficult recruiting and hiring women for assistant coaching positions - the positions are very part time and the pay/benefits reflect that.


Outside of athletics, UMM self-monitors Title IX compliance unless there is a complaint filed.  Tenured faculty members, committee members, etc. are tracked for gender balance and Nancy Helsper has this data.


Grant Request

Kristen Invie, MARCH rep, submitted a grant request to help co-sponsor a presentation by feminist scholar/vegetarian activitist Carol Adams, "The Sexual Politics of Meat."   $3500 is needed to cover expenses and speaker¹s fee.  MARCH has secured $2500-$3000 in co-sponsorships from Humanities, Philosophy, Women's Resource Center and others as well as a grant from Activity Fee Review Committee's Assistance to Student Groups Fund (ASG). 

Request approved - $1000.


November 17


Guest:  Amanda Eklund


Grant Report - Amanda Eklund reported that the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign went very well.  A group of volunteers made and sold cookies and scarves and purchased and sold awareness bracelets; all supplies were purchased through a CW grant.  They raised over $375, which was sent to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  They also distributed pink ribbons, brochures, self-exam shower cards and gram-o-grams and mom-o-grams, reminders about breast exams to be sent to loved ones.  Eklund thanked the Commission for its continuing support and indicated that she hopes the campaign will be a yearly collaboration between interested students and the Commission.


Grant Requests

Sexual Assault Nurses Examination Training - Bridget Joos.  Action on this grant was tabled until January so Joos can provide more specific details about how the money would be used, number of people affected, etc.


"What to do with a Women's Studies Major" - Gretchen Murphy.  The grant would fund a presentation by Gary Donovan, UMM Career Center, and two UMM Women's Studies alums and includes money for posters, refreshments, and mileage reimbursements.  Request approved in full - $170.


Panel on Gender Issues - Gretchen Murphy.  Murphy is planning a panel discussion to get people talking about gender issues.  Panel will be made up of faculty, staff, and students and will address provocative questions - e.g. Isn't feminism just a white, middle class women's movement?  Why study gender when racism, homophobia and other problems are more prevalent than sexism?   The provocative questions to be asked will be designed to encourage evaluation and discussion related to gender.  Request approved in full - $70.


Women's BB Coaches Association National Convention - Randi Peterson.  The convention is a valuable staff development, skill-building, and networking opportunity.  Total cost = $1510; requesting $700 with balance paid by participant.  The grant generated discussion about out-of-state travel funding for P & A staff.  Peterson indicated that coaches are not eligible for funding through the Dean's Office and that the Athletic Department has no staff development funds available.  She was encouraged to contact the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for possible support and to apply for a staff development grant.  Request approved in full - $700.


Voices of Minnesota Farm Women film presentation - Margaret Kuchenreuther and Therese Buchmiller.  $175 requested for partial funding of filmmaker's fee for lecture and viewing.  Target audiences are the Why We Eat What We Eat FYS and Beginning Photography.  The public will be invited.  The CW voted to fund the grant at $100 and encouraged the applicants to make another request when the video is ready for distribution; it could be added to the Briggs Library collection so more people would have access to it.


Update on proposed 'gathering of women' - the subcommittee reported that the hard copy invitation to student groups, departments, and programs yielded a better result than the earlier e-mail invite.  10 affirmative responses have been received.  The event will occur early in spring semester and will be both a luncheon and expo - an opportunity for groups to share information about their mission, activities, and dreams and to build bridges between the groups for collaborative efforts.


Fall Newsletter  A suggestion was made to resurrect the CW newsletter.  Content could include reports on the status of/work of the Violence Prevention Program, Women's Studies Major, and Title IX and Athletics at UMM.  Discussed the pros and cons of electronic vs printed and decided that hard copies are more visible, handy for reading at one's leisure.  Haugen will seek out writers and editor to see if it is feasible to accomplish before fall semester ends.



December 1


Women's Week Keynote Speaker Traditionally, the Women's Resource Center, Commission on Women, and CAC Convocations Committee co-sponsor the keynote speaker.  CAC Convocations is in the midst of preparing its budget request for 05-06, so the 06 Women's Week speaker must be chosen now.  CW members brainstormed possibilities. 


Women's History Month - A local theater company would like to present A Piece of My Heart at UMM during Women's History Month in March.  The cost is $1200 and a member raised the possibility of working with the local VFW and American Legion on the project.  Connolly will bring information to the Women's Resource Center's December 2nd meeting to see if WRC is interested in co-sponsoring.


Video donation to Briggs Library  The following videos from the CW files were donated to the Library:  Contemporary Gender Relationships on Campus, EEOC (1990), Redefining Liberation (2000-NOW), and Women in the Media (UMM women students' project).


"Fall" Gathering will now be a Spring Soup and Soul luncheon and information expo.  It will occur the week before Women's Week.  So far 19 student organizations, departments, disciplines, and campus committees have indicated that they are interested

in participating.  Each participating group will have a booth with information about their mission, activities, and resources.  All campus community members will be invited to attend.  This event is not intended to replace CW's traditional celebration of women at a spring luncheon.


Newsletter  Jennifer Connolly would like to explore the possibility of editing the newsletter as an internship.  Sara H. has checked with a couple of people - Women's Studies Coordinator and the Violence Prevention Program staff - and they were interested in writing articles. 


December 15 

Guests:  Carol McCannon, CAC Convocations Committee Advisor, and Steph Charboneau, Women's Resource Center


Women's Week '06 Keynote Speaker Carol provided background and contract fee information on names generated by CW, WRC, and CAC Convocations.  Possibilities included Ariana Huffington, Gladys Redmon, Cheryl Swoops, Krista Tippit, Andrew Weil, and Alix Olsen.  The consensus choice, based on cost, name recognition, and breadth of work related to women and spirituality across cultures, was Krista Tippit, National Public Radio host of "Speaking of Faith." 


Soup and Soul luncheon update  Brainstormed a set of questions to ask participating groups to address.  The questions and answers will be printed out and provided to the groups along with a table display board.  The goal is for attendees and participants to browse and discuss, similar to FYS Jamboree, but with more emphasis on facilitating conversations.



Therese Buchmiller report on the "Voices of Minnesota Farm Women" event.  The audience - two UMM classes and area women farmers - indicated that they really enjoyed both the video and the speaker.   A copy of the video will be made available to the Briggs Library.


MPIRG submitted a grant request for helping in funding an appearance by the director of the film "Afro Punk."  CW will review at 1/20/05 meeting.


January 20

Guests:  Bridget Joos, Kristen Invie


Grant requests

Violence Prevent Program  - Bridget Joos presented a request to fund refreshments for the nurses attending the Violence Prevention Program's Sexual Assault Nurses Examination Training.  Funding for the training is provided for through the Department of Justice grant.  The request was approved unanimously - $200.


MPIRG - Kristin Invie presented a request for $1300 to bring the director of "Afro Punk" to UMM for a lecture and film showing.  Consensus was that the event was only tangentially related to CW's overall mission/goals and voted to approve $100 to show support for the program.  The group will be encouraged to submit a request for purchase of the video for the Library collection.


2006 Keynote Speaker

Things are moving ahead for Krista Tippet; her contract fee is very reasonable and both CAC and WRC are enthusiastic about the choice.


Soup and Soul luncheon/fair

Date and time are set:  Wednesday, 2/16/05, 11:30am -1:30pm.  Tickets and invitations will be prepared and distributed.  CW members will table in the Student Center to sell tickets for the two weeks leading up to the event.


February 3

Guest:  Bridget Joos


Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) "Train the Trainers" Program

Bridget Joos gave the CW an update on the program taking place at UMM March 4-6.  Graduates from the program will be qualified to facilitate MVP sessions with a wide variety of student professional staff groups.  She enlisted CW help in identifying students - men or women - who would be candidates for participation.


Mother's Room

A faculty member e-mailed Sara about the room's location, access policies, etc.  She couldn't find anything about it on the CW or UMM web page.  Discussed solutions for increasing visibility:  add information and access process to CW web site and UMM index; add more descriptive sign next to the room itself.


Soup and Soul work continues on the luncheon.  An e-mail was sent to all participants to answer questions, clarify details about displays, etc.


Naming a campus street after a woman

Prompted by a suggestion from a faculty member, CW discussed this proposal to honor women.  Sheila Wellstone's name was suggested.  We will explore the possibility with WRC.


February 17

Guests:  Alyssa Herzog, Dian Lopez


Grant Report - Alyssa Herzog reported on the American College Theatre Festival.  Eleven UMM students attend; seven were women.  The festival was exhausting, but very valuable.  Two of the students are developing a production focusing on women's issues, prompted by their experience at the festival.  They hope to present it on campus and at the Common Cup.  The opportunity to make contacts with graduate school professors was also deemed important.


Morris Area Child Care Center (MACCC) - Dian Lopz, the CW liaison to MACCC, gave a brief history of the Center and its relationship to the Commission.  The biggest change and improvement is a reduction in teacher turnover, at least partially attributable to the addition of health care benefits.  MACCC/West Wind Village/Head Start received a "Best Practice Award" from MN Health and Human Services.  Dian will be leaving her position as liaison and suggested Timna Wykoff, who has expressed interested, as a replacement.


Soup and Soul Evaluation  Overall reaction from CW members, other participants, and attendees - excellent.  Displays were inviting and very informative, people learned a lot and established connections for future programs, the food was excellent and people enjoyed the time set aside for visiting.


March 24

Guests:  Kristin Invie, Matt Senior, Stacy Parker-Aronson


Afro Punk grant  Kristin Invie expressed concern over the minimal funding awarded to MPIRG for this project.  She thought that the award indicated a lack of support and encouragement to campus women activists; she also thought that CW's assessment that the event was "tangential" to the CW mission and goals was in error.  CW members noted that the goals of the event were unclear in the grant application and additional information might have resulted in a larger award.  CW expressed appreciation to Kristin for voicing her concerns.


Faculty Parental Leaves - Matt Senior and Stacy Parker-Aronson expressed their concerns about the policies or lack thereof surrounding "back fill" when colleagues are out on leave:

- understanding among faculty that they are expected to pick up classes, directed studies, advising, and other duties, i.e. that accepting additional responsibilities is not voluntary

-added responsibilities negatively impact faculty members' research, work with students, work/life balance

-at minimum there should some kind of compensation

-may negatively impact person on leave, also, through colleague or student resentment

Subcommittee was formed to review current policies and practices and make recommendations to the Dean:  Sara Haugen, Therese Buchmiller, Randi Peterson, Pareena Lawrence, Jennifer Rothchild


Grant Request Registration for three women students to attend Computer Science Conference.  Request approved in full - $282.


2005-06 CW membership openings  Colleen Frey, Pareena Lawrence, and Michelle Page have completed their current terms and have declined to serve second terms.  Donna Bauck and Randi Peterson have each agreed to serve a second term.  Nominations will be solicited from the campus community for one faculty position and one USA position.


April 7

Guests:  Sara Kloek, Sam Schuman, Sandy Olson-Loy, Aida Martinz, Alisande Allaben, Carla Riley, Laura Thielke, Judy Riley


Presentation on Women's Student Leadership Conference in Dubai - Sara Kloek gave an overview of the conference that she and Johanna Farmer attended in March.  Conference attendance for the two UMM students was funded by Chancellor Schuman.  This international conference of university women was organized and run by students from the Dubai university.  The highlight for Sara was the chance to learn about different cultures through personal interaction with people from those cultures and the opportunity to hear Norway's former Prime Minister speak. 


Draft of Recommendations to the Dean regarding Backfill Policies Associated with Parental and other Medical Leaves

The main points of the draft include:

€creation of and communication about backfill policies that are clear and consistent across divisions

€active encouragement to divisions/disciplines to hire replacements rather than having colleagues take on additional responsibilities

€compensation for overload if hiring a replacement isn't feasible

€relief from committee responsibilities extended to faculty taking on additional responsibilities

€backfill should be considered part of the faculty member's service responsibilities


One recommendation in the first draft was stricken: tenure-track faculty accepting an overload should have his/her tenure clock extended.  The rationale for striking this recommendation:  several weeks of overload is not the same as adding permanent family responsibilities for which tenure extensions are currently granted.


Grant Request from French Discipline for a visiting scholar in Fall '05 will be held over to 4/21/05 meeting.


April 21


Grant Request - French Discipline and the French Club would like to bring Evelyne Accad, feminist scholar, composer and performer to UMM in November '05.  Dr. Accad, longtime professor at the University of Chicago, is originally from Lebanon.  Her presentations will focus on women and war.  Request for co-sponsorship by CW approved in full - $500.



Nominations for Open CW positions for 05-06

Five faculty members and six staff members were nominated for the open CW positions.  Sara will check with those nominated to determine if they will accept.


May 5


Backfill Policies  The subcommittee will  meet with the Dean on 5/12 to discuss the CW recommendations.  The Dean indicated that he took the recommendations to the Chancellor's Leadership Team and it prompted a good discussion.


New members of CW for 05-06  Jennifer Ropp Goodnough, Chemistry Faculty, and Diane Whelan, Science & Math Division Office staff, were unanimously elected for two year terms.


Grant Requests

MPIRG submitted a request to purchase the video "Afro Punk" for the Briggs Library.  Request approved in full - $275 + shipping.


Commission on Women extended an offer to UMM students to fund conference costs to the American Association of University Women Conference.  Grants approved for 3 UMM women students to attend - $1270.


Grant Reports

Oral reports were given by Elena Machkasova and Dian Lopez, faculty advisors, and Cedar Gillette and Sharon Jurina, UMM students attending the Midwest Instruction and Computing Symposium and by Randi Peterson on the National Women's Basketball Convention.  Written reports were also submitted. 


May 12

Subcommittee Meeting with Dean Schwaller regarding Backfill Policies

The subcommittee met with Dean Schwaller to discuss the CW recommendations.  The Dean shared the CW recommendations with the Chancellor's Leadership Group - Chancellor, Vice & Associate Chancellors, Division Chairs - and all agreed that UMM wishes to have policies in place that are family friendly and humane. 


Schwaller indicated to the subcommittee that:

€ He and the Chancellor will work to create a fund to be used to provide backfill to disciplines to assure that necessary parts of the curriculum are offered when faculty are relieved of their teaching assignment. 

€When hiring a replacement is not possible, e.g. in an unforeseen medical emergency, the Division Chairs will work to maintain the curriculum with existing faculty, however these assignments must be voluntary.  The Dean and Division Chairs will seek to reward faculty who take on additional assignments.  These rewards may include, but are not limited to, formal letters of commendation, release from committees and other service obligations, and offers of professional development opportunities. 

The Dean noted that the use of 'overload' in the CW recommendations is inaccurate - faculty do not have a defined load, contractually.  He also noted that the items brought forward provide a  good point of departure for creating a more humane response to family needs for the UMM community.