Guest Column: Commission on the Status of Women Works to Make UA Better for All Employees

Guest Column: Commission on the Status of Women Works to Make UA Better for All Employees

By Linda Breci, Ph.D.Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women and Associate Director of the Arizona Proteomics Consortium
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The UA's Commission on the Status of Women held a successful and energy-filled retreat last Friday to kick off our activities this coming year.
With this new energy, I am very pleased to share a brief history of CSW and tell you about the many things the all-volunteer commission does that benefit the campus community.

In 1991, the Arizona Board of Regents issued an assessment of the conditions of women at Arizona universities. One of the recommendations from that report, "Arizona Universities in the Year 2000," was that each Arizona university establish a Commission on the Status of Women.

The report's vision was clear. It stated that by 2000, each university would provide "a supportive and challenging environment in which diversity is valued" and that women would be "present at all levels in numbers reflecting the national and local communities served." The report also included a list of recommendations.

The report was clear that the universities must improve ethnic and gender diversity and also make improvements in the workplace to allow employees to achieve professionally in a safe and supportive environment.

The UA's CSW began in the fall of 1992 and has worked toward those goals ever since. The commission was involved in the Millennium Projects that compared our campus's progress by the year 2000 with the goals from the 1991 report.

While both final reports contained positive comments, the Phase I report identified aspects of the campus climate that had to change for faculty and the Phase II report indicated that there were still areas of dissatisfaction in salary, supervision and opportunities for promotion for appointed professionals and classified staff.

CSW's ongoing activities are led by five work groups: Equity, Family Care, Outreach & Education, Professional Development and Special Events.

These activities include the Vision Awards to recognize UA managers who contribute to the campus diversity goals and to CSW's mission. We are currently soliciting nominations, which are due by Monday, Oct. 13.

The awards will be presented Nov. 6 at the conference CSW holds to provide professional development for UA classified staff. The conference is called "Intersections: Living, Learning and Working."

Our mini-grant program provides small grants to people and organizations on campus to help them address issues important to CSW via projects and events. The call for applications will go out in January.

For the last two years, CSW has sponsored the Young Women's Empowerment Academy (YWEA) to bring young women onto campus to encourage and engage them in planning their future education and career growth.

The commission has also spearheaded improvements to make campus more family-friendly. Those changes include adding baby changing tables to restrooms, lactation stations in a variety of locations, high chairs in the Student Union, and posting a child-friendly campus map to help parents with children negotiate campus.

CSW continues to work on campus child care, an important but missing ingredient on our campus.

There is much more work that CSW can do to help make The University of Arizona a better place for all of our employees and students. Issues that have our continuing attention include salary equity, consistent maternity leave policies for graduate students, a central Web-based information source for professional development and one for child-friendly services, and of course, campus child care.

We have a recruitment event in late April for potential new members. Applications are due in May. Commissioners are appointed by the president and serve from one to three years.

The commission is supported in its mission by liaisons and ex-officio advisers, including Juan Garcia, vice president for instruction, Raji Rhys-Wietecha, director of the Diversity Resource Office, and many others that provide strong connections to key stakeholder units.

CSW has a voice in shared governance as our vice chair is appointed as an ex-officio to the Strategic Planning & Budget Advisory Committee (SPBAC). Christine Salvesen, the UA's assistant director of Disability Resources, is our current vice chair.

I want to close by thanking the many caring and dedicated individuals who have spent one- or three-year assignments on the commission since it began in 1992.

More information about CSW can be found on our Web site,

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