In 2011 a group of six women attending the new faculty orientation raised some questions about the maternity policy, and it soon became clear that there wasn’t one. This group of women continued to meet informally as we navigated the first year of tenure-track, and in our experiences and conversations we quickly realized that there were numerous issues with the visibility and advancement of women within the institution that were worth having larger conversations about. This became particularly evident after a lariat editorial about public breastfeeding that was published in fall 2012. That really served as the impetus for us to begin meeting in the basement of Tidwell that October. We wanted to find a way to educate and mentor students about issues related to gender and race.
So we began spreading the word about a new “women’s colloquium” and watched as women eagerly began coming to the gatherings, a testament, we believed, to the desire and need for such a group. We have been gathering now for five years. In our history as a group some of our signature achievements include: parental leave policy, with the steadfast help of Tiffany Hogue, the revival of the Women’s and Gender Studies minor and growing toward a major and graduate certificate program under the directorship of Lisa Shaver, a mentorship program for graduate student women with the help of Laine Scales and the Women In the Academy group. Most recently, we are happy to have another of our hopes and dreams–a Spousal Hiring Policy–realized by Robyn Driskell, chief of staff to the President and longtime member and advocate for this group.
Our mission is to advocate on issues related to gender, race, and other inequities. In our meetings we share our research, strategize teaching issues related to gender, and address policy concerns. We aim to provide a forum for raising concerns, finding support, and speaking into the lives of academics.