September 1, 2016

TO: President Tony Frank

FROM: Sue James on behalf of the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity

SUBJECT: Recommendation for a Vice Chair for the President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity


The recommendation for a vice chair came from the Commission in 2004, under the leadership of Ann Gill as Chair (see attached recommendation).  The vice chair model was followed for a few years and then slipped through the cracks as the charge and Commission membership evolved.  Through our historical research, we found that the Commission’s most productive years were during the time the vice chair model was followed.


The Commission recommends a vice chair of the Commission be appointed to serve during the last year of the current chair’s term.  Upon the end of the chair’s term, the vice chair would then become the chair and serve a two-year term, renewable up to two times, as outlined in the current Commission charge.  The vice chair would be picked by the President from a list of names submitted by the current chair (as already done according to the current Commission charge when a new chair is selected).  The President holds the appointment power of the vice chair.

Furthermore, the Commission recommends that the President consider allowing individuals other than academic faculty, such as senior level administrative professionals or state classified staff, hold the positions of chair and vice chair of the Commission.  If the recommendation to establish a vice chair is implemented, we recommend that the decision on whether persons other than academic faculty can hold the vice chair and chair positions be decided before the end of the ’16-’17 academic year so a vice chair can be put in place for ’17-18, the third year of the current chair’s term (and potential last) as chair.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you more in the coming year.

Promotes the Mission and Goal of the Commission

One of the setbacks of the current Commission has been the lack of knowledge passed down from one chair to the next.  While members and staff support can help fill in the gaps, having a vice chair for one overlapping year of the chair’s term will allow the Commission to function in a more fluid manner, and less time will be wasted playing catch up with the appointment of a new chair.

With all the activities and work the Commission is engaged with, the chair position becomes a heavy load to bear.  The vice chair role will allow relief to the chair and training for the incoming chair.  This recommendation is consistent with our retreat efforts to make team member transitions smoother and maintain better records of recommendations, feedback, and discussions.

Now that the Commission has a Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty that is chaired by a member of the academic faculty who sits on the Commission, many of the Commission’s other activities focus more on students and staff.  Having a chair who is not an academic faculty member may convey a more balanced effort to represent and include all university job classifications.

Suggested language to update Commission charge to reflect the recommendation
2004 Recommendation to the President to create a Vice Chair role