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Hearing Women's Voices 

President Convenes Panel on Women in Higher Education 

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 22, 2018) – A diverse group of approximately 50 female stakeholders from across all three campuses convened in the Campus Center Boardroom last week to provide University leadership with feedback and discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with the one thing they all have in common: being a woman at the University at Albany.

Director of the Center for Leadership and Service Martha Asselin led the first workshop of the day. 

Organized by the Office of the President and attended by faculty members, staff and student leaders, along with several male administrators, the objectives of the event were to:

  • Provide an opportunity for female stakeholders to reflect on the issues, challenges and opportunities for women within our campus community
  • Cultivate engagement of these colleagues as partners in realizing the University’s strategic priorities
  • Position the experience of women as a critical measure of success, particularly in the core priority of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Identify specific initiatives and actions to reach strategic goals
  • Build experience and capacity as an institution for future conversations

President Rodríguez welcomed the group and opened the afternoon’s forum, saying “it is our responsibility to develop an environment where people feel welcomed and are welcomed. We’ve made significant progress as an institution throughout the years and we are in a better situation than many universities across the country, yet so much progress still needs to be made.”

Martha Asselin, the director of the Center for Leadership and Service, opened the first workshop by asking the participants to anonymously write answers to the following three questions:

  • What are three words to describe the campus climate for women?
  • How can UAlbany help women reach their goals?
  • How can participants help UAlbany meet its strategic goals?

Responses to the questions ranged from positive to noting room for improvement, though as Vivien Ng, associate professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies noted, “there is also a sense of optimism here.”

Ng led attendees in using the conversation as guidance to develop ideas that UAlbany could pursue as part of the implementation of the Strategic Plan.

“Despite being employed at the same University, our workplace experiences are different,” said Alyssa Lotmore, assistant to the dean for Alumni Outreach and Engagement in the School of Social Welfare and a participant at the forum. “Being able to come together and have an open, honest dialogue with other women about issues, challenges and opportunities is incredibly valuable. This initial conversation went beyond a simple discussion, as we then reflected and brainstormed possible University-wide changes to improve the workplace experiences of women on campus.”

Rodríguez told the group that his office would provide a summary document of the ideas generated during the session and asked the group to reconvene in the fall to continue the conversation and work on next steps.

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