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Year-End Report, 2016-17

Chair: Hillary Fouts

Vice Chair: Barbara Thayer-Bacon

The Commission for Women is appointed by the Chancellor to advise on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of university programs, policies, and services designed to improve the status of women on the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee. Its main purpose is to cultivate a welcoming and inclusive campus environment with special attention given to the needs of women.

2016-2017 Accomplishments

The Commission contributed to the hiring of Chancellor Davenport, the university’s first woman Chancellor. In collaboration with the other UT Commissions and the Council for Diversity and Interculturalism, we created Chancellor candidate “diversity snapshots” of each of the final candidates for the campus. Representatives from the Commission also attended listening sessions and provided input throughout the hiring process.

The Status of Women sub-committee of the Commission conducted research on the representation of women in leadership and across tenure-track faculty ranks. A summarized report and specific recommendations on how to improve the representation of women at the rank of full professor was created and submitted to Chancellor Davenport.

The Commission participated in Women’s History Month during March, 2017. We created a central calendar of events occurring throughout the month and co-sponsored a number of events, including a viewing of the film Miss Representation. The graduate student STEM committee (Pipeline: Vols for Women in STEM) organized the Women in STEM Research Symposium and gave awards to nine students for their excellent research presentations.

The Commission presented two awards at the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet: Dr. Veerle Keppens received the Angie Warren Perkins Award, and alumna Mintha Roach received the Notable UTK Woman Award. We also supported two HERS Institute leadership candidates: Dr. Katherine Luther and Dr. Deborah Welsh. The Commission will promote the program next year (20172018) and in collaboration with the Chancellor will recruit and select two candidates for next year’s institutes.

The Commission collaborated with the Office of the Provost on research of work-life balance policies and programs across peer institutions, leading to recommendations to enhance work-life balance supports at the university. The Commission also collaborated with the Office of the Provost, the Commission for Blacks, and the Commission for LGBT people on the design of a university-wide mentoring program for historically underrepresented faculty.

Plans for 2017-2018

The Commission will continue to focus on the status of women at UTK through a number of prioritized efforts. We will continue to research and advocate for the representation of women in leadership positions and across faculty ranks, and pay equity across genders. We will also examine parental leave policies for the arrival of a child for staff in collaboration with the Office of Human Resources, as well as modified duty policies for arrival of a child for graduate research and teaching assistants in collaboration with the Graduate School. We will continue to support efforts to increase awareness around sexual assault at UTK. Finally, we will collaborate with the Commission for LGBT people, Commission for Blacks, and the Council for Diversity and Inclusion to support diversity efforts across campus and to promote a welcoming and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, and students.