Reports from Participating Centers

 

Simmons School of Management

The Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management, Boston, (CGO )

The Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management, Boston, (CGO ) used this grant to address the underrepresentation of women of color who were based at the School of Management and served as Center Affiliates. Only one of those Affiliates was a woman of color, and as a result, although unintentional, the influence of white women was dominant in determining the direction of research, publications, speakers series, and other CGO activities. 

 

To address this imbalance, the Center implemented two strategies:

1)    Institutionalization of a Steering Committee of Women of Color to provide a collective and influential voice in all Center programming. The Committee included five African American women and one Latina affiliated with the Center but not necessarily based at Simmons. During a one-day retreat, this Committee developed a strategic vision and two year action plan to:

a.      identify areas of research and publications related to gender and diversity;       

b.     increase the number of women of color available through the CGO speakers bureau, and

c.      identify a minimum of five women of color scholars to be invited to become CGO Affiliates.

 

The retreat became the first in a planned annual series by and for women of color, open to other scholars, to ensure that the perspectives and foci of underrepresented populations are central to CGO programming.

 

2) Creation of a New Generation of Scholars Program to provide stipends and professional support to three young, high-potential women of color engaged in significant research on gender and diversity. They were mentored in their research and writing by one or more members of the Women of Color Steering Committee, and received editorial, publication and dissemination support from the CGO.

 

To read the full project report, click here.

 

Patricia H. Deyton, Director

 

 
CSWS,

2. The Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University

The Center for Research on Gender & Sexuality at San Francisco State University (mini-grant for self-assessment) addressed challenges in its own makeup. While San Francisco State is itself diverse, the Center has had difficulties recruiting and retaining women of color, including queer women of color, in leadership positions, as faculty members, students, and research assistants despite attempts to be inclusive. This mini-grant provided an opportunity to undertake a self-assessment to (1) establish the need for change and (2) identify the most optimal routes to change.   

 

To achieve this goal, project directors included two women of color graduate student as research assistants who participated in the planning, execution, and presentation of the findings. The project participants conducted a series of one-on-one interviews and focus groups with selected graduate students, research assistants, faculty, administrators, and staff in SFSU’s Ethnic Studies and Sexuality Studies. In April 2009, the team presented preliminary findings from the interviews and focus groups at the monthly CRGS staff meeting and discussed various issues, including obstacles to recruitment of women of color, mentorship, support, recognition of women of color in leadership, allies and possible recommendations for change. The findings were also shared more broadly with campus leadership, including with the Cesar Chavez Institute which is engaged in their own study of career satisfaction, gender, and race among SFSU faculty.

 

To read the full project report, click here.

Jessica Fields, former Acting Director; Rita M. Melendez and Amy Sueyoshi, Researchers

 
 

3.  The Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) at the University of Oregon

The Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS) at the University of Oregon had a two-fold goal in this project: to provide an immediate space within CSWS that could advance academic success for women of color junior faculty at the university; and to engage the university’s upper administration with the institutional concerns of equity and marginality. 

 

The CSWS offered mini-grants and other support to 10 junior faculty women of color who came from a cross section of academic departments on campus. In an all-day retreat in May 2008, they identified key areas of concern with regard to the advancement of women of color campus-wide, including the dearth of senior women of color faculty at UO who could serve as models and mentors to their younger colleagues of color, who found the campus climate alienating, isolating, and often unsupported.

 

To address these concerns, the Center:

1.     scheduled a series of mentorship workshops and other forums in which senior women of color scholars from other institutions spoke about their own challenges and strategies.

2.      hosted workshops on research, writing, and publishing, including a book proposal workshop and a publication workshop with a professional editor and writing coach.

3.     held a promotion and tenure workshop with the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, who provided a general overview of the tenure process, and engaged in a candid and supportive conversation of the participants’ questions, concerns, and issues.

4.     engaged the University’s administrators in a conversation about institutional diversity and institutional change with Syracuse University’s Chancellor, Nancy Cantor, and Associate Provost Kal Alston. 

 

To read the full project report, click here.

Lynn Fujiwara, Principal Coordinator

 

4.  The Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy (CWPP), McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston

The Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy (CWPP), McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston identified the need to increase the diversity of its research staff. 

 

To achieve its goal, the Center developed a Research Fellows Program targeting a junior and a senior women of color. The initiative had three main goals:

1.         Enhance the research, writing and leadership skills of women selected as Research Fellows in order to prepare them for leadership roles in academic research settings;

2.         Contribute to the personal and professional development of women of color at key stages in their research careers by identifying barriers to advancement and using the resources of the Center and University to help women overcome these barriers;

3.         Incorporate perspectives and approaches into the Center’s research activities that are shaped by the racial/ethnic identities and backgrounds of Research Fellows.

 

Over the course of the grant period, the Research Fellows engaged in four targeted activities:

  • Mentoring Program: The Research Fellows were mentored by senior women of color, and they in turn coordinated a mentoring program for undergraduates. Mentors came from UMB programs and departments focused on issues related to diversity.  

  • Skills Workshops: The Research Fellows coordinated two workshops to develop leadership and research skills of women of color.

  • Visibility: The Center showcased the work of the Research Fellows at its bi-annual Public Research Forum for female scholars at the University of Boston in October, 2009. 

  • Resource List: A resource list of women of color faculty members, researchers and staff at the University is posted on the Center’s website. It also includes links to available scholarships, fellowships and grants for undergraduate and graduate students of color.

 

To read the full project report, click here.

Donna Stewartson, Principle Investigator   

 
 Southwest Women's Law Center

5.  The Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC)  in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC)  in Albuquerque, New Mexico was, at the time of this grant, a small, young organization, looking to grow and diversify. The grant provided the opportunity to integrate diversity into all aspects of that expansion. 

It pursued three strategies in achieving this goal:  

 
  1. Providing professionally facilitated diversity training for its Board of Directors, which was largely white and professional, in order to raise board members’ consciousness of internalized and institutionalized racism and sexism, and give them a new perspective on social justice work and the day-to-day experiences of persons of color. This diversity training prepared the board to bring on new members representing Latino and/or Native American communities.
     
  2. Increasing the cultural and language competence of SWLC’s staff.  Staff training focused primarily on the Latino community, including the immigrant community in New Mexico. This training too took place within the context of staff expansion.
     
  3. Creating and institutionalizing relationships with local university departments and professional schools that serve underrepresented populations. For a small, free-standing organization, this outreach expanded the population of underrepresented women in positions to participate in SWLC programming and take on leadership roles. 

 

To read the full project report, click here.

Jane Wishner, Founder & Executive Director

 
 

6.  The Women’s Studies Program & Research Center at Miami University of Ohio

The Women’s Studies Program & Research Center at Miami University of Ohio used this grant to diversify its own leadership as part of the larger strategy laid out in the President’s 2007 Strategic Goals for the university to transform research priorities, community connections, curricula, and build a climate where difference is respected and diversity valued.   

With this grant, the Women’s Studies Program established 3 new positions to serve as leadership paths for young scholars from underrepresented populations:

  • The Nellie Craig Women’s Studies Research Scholar award for an African-American scholar

  • The Miami Tribe Women’s Studies Coordinator position for a Native American scholar

  • The Las Mujeres award (divided between two applicants) to provide leadership on Chicana issues and research initiatives.
 

The three awardees received stipends to support their personal research and became part of the Women’s Studies Program Steering Committee. They participated in Miami’s Race, Class, Gender and Sexualities Conference in February 2009. Each undertook a number of other activities, for example, organizing a Women’s Gathering of Miami tribal women, and recruiting students from underrepresented populations.                                                                       

 

To read the full project report, click here.

Cheryl Johnson, center director (2008)