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Chancellor's Commission on the Status for Women (CCSW)
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2005 -2006 CCSW Annual Report

University of Nebraska at Omaha 2005-2006

Overview: This year CCSW engaged in a variety of educational projects by building collaborative relationships with campus and community organizations. CCSW continued to support initiatives that help students, staff and faculty to balance their professional and personal commitments. This year’s accomplishments and recommendations to the Chancellor are grouped below according to the organization’s themes of Awareness, Balance, and Community.

Awareness

Voter Registration and Education

CCSW was recognized by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) for its voter registration and education efforts in collaboration with the American Democracy Project. The AASCU named UNO’s project one of the “exemplary programs in voter education, voter registration, or voter participation” among its 400 campuses nationwide. Our voter registration and education project will be described in AASCU’s forthcoming monograph on promising practices, to be released in late summer 2006 before the November elections. In Fall 2006, CCSW will sponsor another voter registration and education drive along with the American Democracy Project and other campus organizations.

Susan B. Anthony Coffeehouse Activity

To reduce costs, the Commission looked for creative ways to partner with community and campus organizations to present educational programs in the Susan B Coffeehouse series. Two such collaborative events were held in 2006:

Sexual Assault Mock Trial and Cell Phone Drive

In April, the CCSW, YWCA Omaha, and the UNO Pre-Law Association sponsored a
Sexual Assault Mock Trial staged by professionals including a former judge, sexual
assault nurse examiner, police officer and two Douglas and Sarpy county prosecutors. Jurors were drawn from the audience. The mock trial organized by Elizabeth Keller (CCSW) and Pamela McCarthy (Outreach and Education Coordinator, YWCA Omaha) drew over sixty students, staff and faculty and was covered by local news media.
CCSW collected donated cell phones for YWCA, which gives them to clients who are escaping domestic violence situations.

Women and Finance
CCSW member Weiyu Guo partnered with investment advisor Ronald Manarin to educate the campus community about financial planning for women. The seminar was held on March 28, 2006 with 12 participants. Mr. Manarin has an investment business in Omaha and is a regular presenter in Guo’s business classes at UNO.

 

Mental and Physical Health Education


Throughout the past year CCSW worked with Marti Rosen-Atherton, UNO Counseling Services, Pamela McCarthy, YWCA and CCSW member Marcia Adler, UNO Health Services, to improve awareness of health issues and access to health care for students. A Health Education Liaison Committee consisting of the above members and other CCSW participants was created to coordinate ongoing projects in mental and physical health education. The Committee will distribute information cards for faculty to help them quickly refer students to needed resources, since faculty are often in the position of advising students for whom such assistance could be beneficial. The cards are intended to complement the UNO Counseling Center’s “Helping Students In Need” brochure, which assists faculty/staff in recognizing and helping troubled students. The Committee will also prepare a brochure with information and resource referrals designed for students dealing with the issues of domestic violence or sexual assault.

 

Sexual Harassment Training

The Commission commended the Office of Diversity’s Online Professional Development Program, developed to help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The training course is accessed online at http://www.newmedialearning.com/psh/unomaha/index.htm. With Sharon Ulmar’s input, CCSW will consider ways of promoting widespread participation.

Balance

Child Care

At the 2005 Fall Advance, CCSW members discussed the availability of on-campus child care with Chancellor Belck. Given the high demand and long waiting list for the current child care center, and considering the importance of access to quality child care for retention of students, staff and faculty, the Commission encourages UNO to continue its commitment to providing on-campus child care. The Commission noted that the nonprofit status of the UNO Child Care Center ensures more affordable access for students, thus having a positive impact on student retention. The Center’s support staff is composed of UNO students, many of whom pursue degrees in areas like early childhood education and child psychology, which enhances the quality of care. These factors indicate that a nonprofit University-run center remains preferable to private outsourcing, which would likely raise costs to prohibitive levels for many students and end the beneficial practice of employing UNO student workers. Commission members concluded that expanding child care availability in the 18-month through preschool age category could improve both retention and morale for the University.

Sick Leave and Maternity Benefits

In 2004-2005, the Commission had recommended that sick leave and maternity benefits for faculty be clarified, given such complex issues as the timing of maternity leave during the academic year or variations in faculty duties across colleges. Because this issue may involve AAUP, it was referred last year to Academic Affairs. CCSW recommends that each College, as advised by Academic Affairs, should continue to ensure that its faculty is informed about the provisions of the maternity leave policy. CCSW is also pleased to note the inclusion of a brochure on “Balancing Work and Family” on the UNO Benefits web site (accessible at http://www.unomaha.edu/humanresources/Documents/uno_b&f_resources.pdf).


Salary Equity Review
The committee studying Staff Salary Equity will complete its biennial review, which had been scheduled for 2005-2006, after receiving updated information from a staff survey. The review will be completed in 2006-2007 with input from Linda Mannering in Institutional Research.

Women’s Resource Center
CCSW members worked with WRC Director Tumelo Gobagoba to identify support needed for the Women’s Resource Center. As UNO pursues plans for expansion, particularly in the number of students living on campus, CCSW recommends that adequate resources be put in place to address new security and community education needs. Informational programs about alcohol, sexual assault, and other personal safety issues may need to be expanded, along with the ability to respond quickly and confidentially to student concerns in this area. CCSW will monitor this issue as campus development continues.

Community

Community Award

Commission members discussed the specifications for the Community Award presented annually by CCSW, considering that for legal reasons many companies cannot provide assistance earmarked only for “women” as a gender-exclusive category. As a result, it may be difficult to properly document the contribution of companies or organizations which work to advance gender equity, either on the UNO campus or by providing important opportunities to UNO students, when considering such groups for the award. It was agreed that members should award companies and organizations which have played a role in “advancing gender equity”. CCSW will work with the Foundation and Alumni Association to ensure compatibility with documentation.

CCSW Awards Luncheon

This year’s Awards Luncheon honored Mary Sweaney for her distinguished service in advancing gender equity at UNO. The Omaha chapter of Girls, Inc. received the community service award, with particular emphasis on their partnerships in service learning and mentoring. The CCSW Scholarship was awarded to Jessica O’Neel, a UNO student majoring in Athletic Training who had compiled an outstanding record of both academic achievement and service. The academic and athletic accomplishments of UNO’s women’s teams were celebrated at the luncheon, along with a certificate presented to the national champion women’s soccer team. Luncheon guests were entertained by dancers from The Moving Company and a slide-show of notable American women who broke new ground towards achieving gender equity. Over 100 luncheon tickets were purchased this year. The tickets were sold through the MBSC Ticket Office, and this more efficient and economical method will be used again in the future.

In order to improve the financial status of the Individual and Scholarship Awards, the Commission continued to limit the Scholarship award to $500 and specified that the $1,000 Individual Award would be a gross sum, with benefits to be calculated accordingly. The principal in the Alumni Association award fund (held at the NU Foundation) continues to generate approximately $130 per month, which should provide sustainable growth to cover the awards at the current amounts.

To meet its goal of offering two $500 scholarships or one $1000 scholarship each year, the Commission encourages additional contributions to the Award Fund. Incoming chairs Esther Scarpello and Marvel Maring met with Mary Bernier of the NU Foundation to discuss options for increasing the fund principal. CCSW tentatively plans to include a list of donors to be thanked, along with an address or card for donations, in the Awards luncheon program. Members also suggested the possibility of a silent auction to be held at future luncheons.

Women’s Centennial Archive Project

CCSW will be the sponsor of a service learning project for UNO students called “Writing a Woman’s Life: Women’s Centennial Archive Project,” in conjunction with the University’s centennial anniversary celebration in 2008-2009. The Archive, to be created under the direction of CCSW member Susan Maher, is an oral/written project to gather stories from women who graduated from UNO across the decades since its founding. The stories of UNO alumna, which provide a more intimate look at individual experiences that connect the evolving university with national history, will be made available to the UNO and greater Omaha communities via the UNO webpage. Together with Paul Sather of UNO’s Service Learning Academy, a projected timeline for completion was created and plans were made for collaboration with faculty teaching service-learning courses in several departments.

UNO Women’s Walk
Under the leadership of team captains Kim Volpone and Elizabeth Keller, the Commission participated in the annual UNO Women’s Walk for Athletes. A campus wide guessing-game fundraiser was held prior to the Walk. The team raised over $500.

Sponsorship of Sudanese Family

The UNO Service Learning Academy and CCSW member Jodi Hume have been involved in educational programs for a group of Sudanese refugee women at Grace Lutheran Church. In December CCSW sponsored a family and raised donations from UNO to support ongoing educational programs for women in the Sudanese refugee community.

Continuing Efforts

Several projects from the 2005-2006 year will be carried forward in 2006-2007, including:

  • The Women’s Centennial Archive Project. CCSW will offer a preview of the Archive Project at its 2007 Awards Luncheon.
  • Health Education Liaison Committee. CCSW will continue to work with other organizations on campus to ensure that appropriate mental and physical health information and referrals are available, with particular attention to issues of sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Staff Salary Equity. The committee will complete its review, based on a recent survey.
  • Adopting the UNO web template for the CCSW web site. Assistance from a student or other technical expert may be needed to make this change.
  • Continuation of membership-building efforts for CCSW, representative of UNO’s diverse campus population.
  • Ensure that each College makes maternity and family leave policies available to its faculty.
  • Monitor campus growth to ensure that gender equity issues are considered appropriately.

Future Directions


The commission intends to address the following new programs and projects in the 2007-2008 academic year:

    1. Mentoring. CCSW will continue to support and promote mentoring programs on campus, including Women’s Leadership training and networking events. In Fall 2007 CCSW will host a networking tea, bringing new faculty together with other staff and faculty who are interested in developing mentoring relationships.
    2. CCSW Procedures. In order to build on the collective wisdom of past Commissions, the 2006-2007 CCSW will prepare project management procedures for use by future members. 
    3. Outreach and Community Education. CCSW will continue to inform the campus community concerning women’s issues. Collaborative events with YWCA Omaha are planned for domestic violence awareness month in October and sexual assault awareness month in April.
    4. In Fall 2006, before the November elections, CCSW will work with the American Democracy Project and other campus groups on a Voter Registration and Education campaign. This year’s campaign will focus on educating students about voter participation for both women and men in the 18-30 age group.
    5. Catalog Review. CCSW plans to review UNO’s catalog to ensure that gender-inclusive language is used where appropriate.

We look forward to another year of assisting the UNO Chancellor’s Office in monitoring gender issues on campus and promoting equity.

Respectfully submitted,

Laura Grams
Outgoing Faculty Chair

Esther Scarpello
Staff Chair

Marvel Maring
Incoming Faculty Chair