End of the Year Report and Recommendations for 2015-2016

September 1, 2016


Dear Tony,

I am excited to present to you the annual report of the 2015-2016 President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity.

As you know I took over as chair last fall and had not been on the Commission the year before.  When I inherited the Commission we had several empty membership positions and some additional turnover of members who stepped off the Commission for personal and professional reasons not related to the Commission.  As a result, we added 11 new members, including myself, in the last year!  In other words, almost 50% of members were new this year.  Given the extensive change in members, we decided to “reset” our approach, and get to know each other, before attempting to tackle old and new business.  I think you’ll find the Commission has worked hard to recreate a working model with the goal of becoming even more productive and effective.

Our “reset” involved a half day retreat in which the history of the Commission was visited to see what methods had worked most effectively/efficiently in the past, and to acquaint and remind members of the work that has been done in the past.  We restructured and formalized how the Commission generates recommendations and how budget requests will be submitted to the Commission.  We also agreed to implement a new member orientation process to improve efficiency.

Many of our actions over the last year are evidenced by what we spent our budget on, and are outlined in the attached budget report.  We began planning a development campaign for CWGE and related units and we met with Prospect Research and the Directors of Development to get this process started.  There is clearly a strong group of individual, corporate and foundation donors who support women and gender equity issues.  By working with University Advancement we believe we can significantly elevate our ability to raise donor funds for women and gender equity initiatives.

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty had a highly productive year, making progress on a wide range of topics from salary equity to parental leave and the campus climate for women faculty.  With the Standing Committee focused on faculty, the Commission can dedicate even more of its meeting and member efforts to students and staff issues, which will be more evident in the coming year.

The Commission has decided that it will re-introduce the idea of keeping a running list of topics that interest Commission members and each year, top priorities will be picked from the list for the Commission to work on.  In the upcoming years, recommendations will be put forth to you in the spring and the Commission would appreciate written feedback from you regarding your thoughts on the recommendations once you have reviewed them.  This written feedback will assist the Commission with tracking input and decisions, while improving their internal communications and processes.  The Commission’s work this year has resulted in a number of recommendations, including revisiting several past recommendations that were not previously acted upon but have resurfaced in our historical review and warrant re-consideration.  the Commission will schedule a meeting with you during the fall semester to discuss the recommendations in this report.

The Commission would like to thank you for your support and leadership.  I would like to personally thank you for the opportunity to chair the Commission – is very rewarding and I look forward to a productive and exciting year ahead.

Enclosed with this annual report of the 2015-2016 Commission are:

Budget Report

Recommendations and attachments

Priorities and Draft Agenda for 2016-2017 Commission on Women and Gender Equity


Susan P. James, Ph.D.
Chair, President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity
Professor and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering