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Chancellor's Commission on the Status for Women (CCSW)
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2004 -2005 CCSW Annual Report

University of Nebraska at Omaha 2004-2005

Overview: The overarching theme of the Commission continues to be “Awareness, Balance, and Community.” Within this focus, Commission members identified and implemented appropriate projects and initiatives. Given that 2004 was a national and state election year, the primary focus of the Commission was voter participation. A secondary focus was guiding the implementation and marketing of Infant Care Stations. Finally, the Commission’s bylaws were reviewed and updated.

Significant Accomplishments:

Awareness

Susan B. Anthony Coffeehouse Activity

Voter registration efforts began in the fall with a Susan B. Anthony’s voter registration drive co-sponsored with the UNO American Democracy Project (ADP). CCSW volunteers, who were trained as deputy registrars, represented the Douglas County Election Commission at several voter registration events across campus, including a UNO Maverick football game. CCSW with the ADP also cosponsored a “Rock the Vote” event held outdoors at University Village on Oct. 14. CCSW deputy registrars helped students register to vote, while DJs from local station KQCH, Channel 94.1, played music and served food. A picture of the UNO’s “Rock the Vote” event appeared on the front page of the Oct. 27 Omaha World-Herald (above the fold), featuring CCSW members Michelle Gauchat and Marvel Maring registering student James Covey to vote. CCSW registered more than 850 people to vote during the period between Sept. 21 and Oct. 15. Dennis Womack with the Douglas County Deputy Election Commission reported that UNO registered more voters than any other site in Douglas County.

 

Organization Name Recognition

CCSW continues its efforts to increase UNO and Omaha community awareness of CCSW’s underlying goals. The CCSW website was re-organized with a new front page and moved to the new server. This website is featured on the Chancellor’s UNO webpage for easy access. The Awareness Committee updates the CCSW website to include current information, award histories, and ongoing program notices.

In an effort to increase student awareness of our activities, and recruit new student members, an article on the CCSW ran in the Aug. 24 edition of The Gateway.

Additionally, the effort to, “brand” CCSW messages continued. The following message appeared at the bottom of all internal communications, as well as external news releases.

“CCSW serves as an advisory council to the chancellor and other university administrators on issues that relate to women faculty, staff and students. The commission’s goal is to provide a forum for women at UNO in conjunction with the organization’s core themes of A, B, C – Awareness of women's issues, Balance in women's lives, and the Community and women's roles.”

Members of the Awareness Committee designed a showcase display in the Eppley Building for March (Women’s History Month), honoring women’s contributions to the arts and literature.

Regent’s Survey

In November, the CCSW co-chairs were asked to submit information about gender related issues to the Gender Equity Subcommittee of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, which was created to review such issues. (See attached.) CCSW highlighted areas where UNO policies have successfully improved the status of women on campus, and suggested areas where further positive results could be produced, including improved mentoring and family-friendly support. The Gender Equity Subcommittee, chaired by Regent Charles Wilson, presented its findings and recommendations to the Board of Regents in spring 2005.

Media Watch

In the fall, the Awareness and Media Committee noted an item that appeared in the Omaha World-Herald. In the article, UNO’s soccer coach referred to his players as ‘girls.’ It was the only article on the page where a coach referred to his/her players as ‘girls.’ Committee members reviewed the dictionary definition of girl, which refers to a woman under the age of 18. It was agreed that the committee would send a note to the interim athletic director Bill Wakefield asking that coaching staff adopt the term women when referring to female athletes. It was noted that in subsequent articles the coach talked about his team as players or women.

Balance

Sick Leave and Maternity Benefits

In Fall 2004, a Commission review of sick leave and maternity benefits with Human Resource directors led to the conclusion that there are variations in faculty maternity leave related to the time of year in which the child is born or adopted. For example, when the delivery occurs in the middle of the spring or fall semester, the faculty member may be granted a longer leave than if the delivery occurs in the middle of the summer. Realizing that faculty maternity leave may involve AAUP, the issue was referred to Academic Affairs. The assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs plans to discuss this issue at the first meeting of UNO chairs in the fall.

Faculty salary review

In Spring 2005, Linda Mannering from the Office of Institutional Research presented the results of a major faculty salary study to the CCSW. Improvements have been noted in several areas. Current differences are attributable to salary variations across fields of study, or length of employment and rank. As more women advance in rank, it is expected that female salaries will rise correspondingly. The CCSW subcommittee on faculty salary review is preparing a report on the findings for the beginning of the 2005-2006 year, and faculty salaries will be revisited in 2006-2007 and compared with the 2004-2005 results.

Infant Care Station Implementation

CCSW participated in the development of an Infant Care Station proposal that was approved by the CCSW and forwarded to Chancellor Belck in May 2004; CCSW continued to work with Facilities Management to develop suitable lactation areas across campus for nursing mothers.

CCSW Bylaws

The CCSW Bylaws were revised in May 2005. Significant changes included altering requirements to reflect the possibility of conducting business through electronic communications, and changing the membership terms of students to begin in the fall, in hopes of conducting more effective recruiting and retention of undergraduate students to serve on the CCSW.

Community

UNO Women’s Walk

The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women fielded a team of 15 people for the April 16th UNO Women’s Walk for Athletes. The team met its goal to exceed a $1,000 contribution.

State Legislation on Women’s Issues

State Sen. Nancy Thompson of La Vista introduced Legislative Bill 104 at the request of Dr. Laura Wilwerding, a pediatrician and clinical assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. According to the article, both believe that state law and society in general should be friendlier to women who wish to breast-feed in public. After discussion, the Commission voted to write a letter in support of LB104, which was delivered to Sen. Thompson.

Infant Care Station Ribbon Cutting

On Feb. 22, Chancellor Belck welcomed Sen. Nancy Thompson to campus for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the first Infant Care Stations on the UNO campus. Chancellor Belck recognized Sen. Thompson for her support of nursing mothers, and both spoke about the importance of family-friendly policies. Dr. Laura Wilwerding of the UNMC provided information on the medical benefits of nursing and the impact of laws and facilities supporting nursing mothers. Other speakers from the UNO campus included Dr. Karen Falconer Al-Hindi, Director of the Women’s Studies program, Dr. Timi Barone, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and Dr. Boyd Littrell, Professor of Sociology, who offered a celebratory poem.

Faculty Mentoring Survey

In the Fall of 2004, former CCSW members Connie Schaeffer, Education, and Kristine Swain, Special Education, and Co-Chairs Lanyce Keel and Laura Grams met with Chancellor Belck to discuss the results of the 2004 faculty mentoring survey. Mentoring was identified as a need for all faculty, including women and men, and especially junior faculty. The CCSW mentoring committee developed ideas for presenting these results to Deans and Directors, and will continue this project in Fall 2005.

CCSW Awards Luncheon

This year’s Awards Luncheon honored Marcia Adler for her distinguished service to women’s issues at UNO. The Omaha Business and Professional Women’s organization received the community service award. The CCSW Scholarship was awarded to Nicole Solis, a UNO student majoring in Psychology who had an excellent academic record and was involved in numerous organizations and activities supporting women. Focusing on the importance of women’s history, and women’s involvement in the political process, members of the luncheon committee presented a slide show celebrating women who made an impact on history by championing women’s and human rights.

Challenges:

The Commission intends to address the following ongoing challenges in the 2005-2006 academic year.

  • Delivering the results of CCSW’s mentoring survey, including suggestions for innovative and cost-effective means of increasing access to mentoring programs.
  • Continued improvement in linkages with other gender-related campus, university system, community and state groups and organizations.
  • Continued monitoring of the schedule of meetings to ensure broad participation. CCSW will also clarify use of electronic means of communication such as e-mail, webpage and its Blackboard organization
  • Development of a plan to increase undergraduate student CCSW membership and participation in CCSW events and programs. The commission may consider creating a student recruiting schedule that fits better with their academic calendar.
  • Ongoing updating of CCSW’s website and Blackboard site.
  • Continuation of membership-building efforts for CCSW representative of UNO’s diverse campus population
  • In keeping with our biennial review of gender equity in salary and benefits for women employees, we plan to review staff salaries for equity.

Future Directions:

The commission intends to address the following new programs and projects in the 2005-2006 academic year.

  • Developing of new topics for the Susan B. Anthony series, in hopes of pursuing further collaboration on these issues with community experts. For Fall 2005, a workshop will be organized on financial planning for women, including credit awareness and investing. Other topics of interest include care for the elderly, given that many women must balance the role of caregiver for their parents or others; domestic violence and sexual assault; Latinas in Omaha; and methamphetamine awareness (how this drug is impacting our community and women’s lives, and what parents, students, teachers, and others need to know).
  • Implementing a web-based staff mentoring survey. This will involve revision of the existing survey instrument.
  • Supporting women’s leadership activities, including sponsorship of networking events for new women faculty, leadership training, and similar opportunities for women staff and students.

The 2004-2005 year was especially productive for the CCSW. Recognizing the under-participation of women in the political process, especially voters between the ages of 18 and 30, the CCSW began the year with a focus on voter registration. In collaboration with other University groups, we examined policies that affect the status of women on campus, made recommendations supporting family-friendly measures, and reviewed salary equity for faculty. We look forward to another year of assisting the UNO Chancellor’s Office in monitoring gender issues on campus and promoting equity. Respectfully submitted,

Lanyce Keel Outgoing Staff Chair

Laura Grams Faculty Chair

Esther Scarpello Incoming Staff Chair