Office of the President

Meetings: 2001 (4.19) | President’s Commission on Women’s Issues

President's Commission on Women's Issues Meeting Minutes

MINUTES – 4/19/01
2105 Main Administration Building
Meeting called to order at 12:15 pm.

Dianne Sullivan made available revised copies of the PCWI membership list and mission statement.


Speaker: Lauri Grunig reminded Commission members that Dr. Linda Clement, new vice president for student affairs, was invited as a guest speaker. She will be speaking about how she sees the challenges of her new cabinet-level position and will answer questions from the Commission.

Office: The office of the PCWI will relocate from 3194 Taliaferro Hall to 2148 Tawes between the end of May and July 2001. Advantages in this move are parking and elevator accessibility. Also, Lauri will be able to visit with Dianne because Tawes is handicapped-accessible.

Membership: Paula Broglio submitted her resignation as a PCWI member effective April 2001. She has accepted a job offer and needs time to settle into her new environment. Wendy Higgins, an undergraduate student, has joined the PCWI replacing Karen Luensman.

CUWL conference: The Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership (CUWL) is hosting its annual Women’s Leadership Conference on April 27. The conference will explore issues facing women such as personal growth and development, leadership, and finding balance. The theme is “Choices: Balancing Roles and Responsibilities.” The PCWI is a co-sponsor, which makes it appropriate for Lauri to deliver welcoming remarks. The conference will involve high school students, undergraduates, graduates, and faculty women.

Informational workshop: Lauri, in collaboration with Johnetta Davis, associate dean for graduate studies, will be hosting a workshop on April 30 for graduate women students. The purpose of this workshop is to educate women on safety and security issues. Workshop participants include: Sonya Linn, Health Center; Bill Hodos, associate dean for graduate studies; Ken Krouse, chief of police and head of the campus Department of Public Safety; Joanne DeSiato, graduate ombudsperson; Laura Drake, assistant professor of communication; and Valerie Woolston, director of International Education Services. Depending upon the outcome of this prototype workshop, Lauri will consider expanding it to involve the PCWI.

Professional Concepts Exchange Conference: The 19th Annual PCEC, “Professionalism at a New Level,” will be held on May 18 at the Stamp Student Union. Gaynor Sale, co-chair, reported that registration forms for the conference have been mailed to campus employees. The conference anticipates having 350 attendees, a reduction from the 450 attendees at the last conference. This is due to space availability since renovation is underway at the SSU. There will be 27 workshops on site. Morning keynote speaker is Dr. Linda Clement and lunchtime keynote speaker, Dr. Marcia Guenzler-Stevens, associate director of Stamp Student Union. Dr. Jim Osteen, director of Stamp Student Union, will give closing remarks and door prizes.

Concerns were raised about some employees not obtaining time off to attend conferences and other service responsibilities and how this kind can be resolved. Gaynor informed the Commission that a letter from President Mote was sent to all head departments recommending that they encourage their employees to attend. However, this does not guarantee that all departments will do so. Some departments have explained that they are single staffed and need phone coverage.

Old Business:

Outstanding Woman of the Year award: Lauri thanked the OWY Committee, chaired by Andrea Hill Levy, for doing a great job on the Outstanding Woman of the Year Award. She extended thanks to the people who submitted nominations and those who attended the ceremony to support the recipient, Sapienza Barone, from the president’s office. Members shared fond comments and admiration for Sapienza. Photographs of the event were obtained and given to Dianne to keep in the PCWI archives.

Childcare and Eldercare: Lauri gave the Commission feedback on Dr. Mote’s Coalition of Commissions breakfast meeting April 10 for those who were unable to attend. She said the PCWI was the first Commission to present its issues to the president. These issues included elder care and the importance of communicating plans to develop childcare and eldercare; campus safety; campus climate; and collaboration among the four commissions on a celebration of diversity each fall. Dr. Mote explained that negotiations remain underway for a daycare center.

Elizabeth Platz followed up on the childcare issue and explained that property has been identified for project. However, consultants from UNIDEV LLC must first develop a needs assessment. Both Elizabeth and Helen O’Ferrall advised them to request a CWL survey that was done by the University of Maryland to assist them in their information gathering. Helen is planning to take Dr. Charles Sturtz, vice president of administrative affairs, to Holy Cross Hospital to see a model of an eldercare center. Dr. Sturtz is the main contact person for the PCWI on the daycare center.

The consultants are expected to come up with a proposal in three to four months. Elizabeth said the childcare proposal sounds more like a full daycare center than the “drop in” center that the PCWI has in mind. The Commission continues to advocate for an intergenerational center. However, despite all the ongoing discussions about intergenerational care, childcare seems to be the focus for Dr. Mote, who indicated that he is expecting the daycare project to become a reality by 2001.

Women’s History Month: Lauri expressed thanks to everyone who helped make the month-long series of special events a success. She gave special thanks to Laura Slavin for organizing the oral history program. Research on campus climate: Nancy Struna updated the Commission on the focus group project she directs, which was conceived three years ago as a follow up to an earlier climate study on campus. Nancy obtained a grant for $10,000 from Lt. Governor Townsend in addition to $1,000 contributed from the American Studies Department to pay a graduate student, Isabell Scerno, who is undertaking this project. Nancy explained that she had studied similar research conducted by the University System of Wisconsin; questions from that research helped develop our own queries—thus allowing for comparison with our university.

Seven focus groups of 10 to 12 participants each will be conducted: three of students (graduate assistants, minority students, and returning undergraduate students), two groups of faculty (junior and senior), and two groups of staff (exempt and non-exempt). The research focuses on (1) critical challenges and obstacles women face on campus, (2) the major causes, (3) specific actions that could be taken to address these causes, and (4) what seems to be working well for women (opportunities here). Results will be submitted to the PCWI, the president’s office, and the office of the Lt. Governor.

Oral history report: Lauri shared feedback with the Commission on the Oral History Project presentation given by Kathy Shollenberger on March 15 as one of our main contributions to Women’s History Month. Copies of the Shollenberger report were distributed to members. The questions surrounding the future of this report are ownership and copyright. Laura provided background on how the project was initiated. She said it contributed to an understanding of the PCWI’s history as it celebrated its 25th anniversary. Kathy took on this project as her thesis, as recommended by her adviser Dr. Robyn Muncy. Kathy gave audiotapes from the interviews and a comprehensive report to the PCWI.

However, the question of where we go with the report that has a potential for scholarly publication opened discussions, suggestions, and speculations among members of the Commission. Nancy suggested that Lauri discuss the future of the report with Kathy and Robyn. In the meantime, the PCWI members agreed that the report would be provided to past members of the PCWI and to chairs of the other three commissions. If legally possible, it will appear on the Commission’s website.

Guest speaker:

Lauri introduced Dr. Linda Clement by sharing her career background with Commission. Linda informed the Commission that as a PCWI member in 1991, she worked with the SAT Research Project. In sharing her perspective on her career, Dr. Clement highlighted the importance of taking risks. She thanked Lauri for being a good mentor to her daughter who was a student at the University of Maryland. In response to Lauri’s concern for women’s interest in leadership roles and how they could balance family responsibilities, Linda described her own—successful—experience. However, she also emphasized the importance of overcoming stress and understanding that it is okay to make mistakes. She urged women to seek opportunities for developing leadership roles without worrying unduly about whether that incurs the cost of experiencing isolation

Members of the Commission asked what could be done for older, continuing students attending the University of Maryland. Linda said that evening service hours had been offered to these non-traditional students but the service was underutilized and ultimately discontinued. John Zacker said that the University of Maryland, University College is better in helping these students in terms of flexibility but Laura said there is a limited range of choices in major at UMUC. For example, teacher education is not available to undergraduate students.

New business: Lauri would like to have all the reports and other documents of the PCWI catalogued. Elizabeth said the Commission should consider asking someone who teaches archivist studies to suggest a student for this project, perhaps for credit.

Lauri distributed a draft of the plan she prepared for her scan of the campus, beginning with interviews with deans.

The May meeting will be the PCEC. June’s meeting will be a working session to plan for the next academic year: dates for meetings of the membership and of the executive committee, special programs, other special events, and research.

Meeting adjourned at 2 pm.