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New UI intiatives: Making academic life more hospitable for women

In an effort to make academic life at The University of Iowa more hospitable for women faculty, the University will take several major steps over the next three years, including investing $250,000 in a new program called the Dual Academic Career Initiative.

The new initiatives are in response to a report submitted last year by the UI Gender Equity Task Force.

Announced April 2 by Michael J. Hogan, UI executive vice president and provost, the Dual Academic Career Initiative will help fund spouse and partner appointments at the University. In addition, Hogan says, the university is working on enhancing parental leave policies, improving mentoring programs for new faculty, monitoring performance on goals for diversity and gender equity, and other actions.

Hogan will discuss these and other initiatives in his annual Spring Speech at 3:30 p.m., Thurs., April 26, in the Old Capitol Senate Chambers. Faculty, staff, students, and interested members of the community are invited to attend the event, sponsored this year by the UI Faculty Senate. A reception will be held immediately following the speech.

Chaired by Adrien Wing, UI professor of law, the task force made 11 primary recommendations on the recruitment and retention of faculty, parenting issues, and ongoing faculty support. The report is available on the Office of the Provost web site at http://provost.uiowa.edu/work/getf.htm.

The task force identified as a pressing issue the need to invest more in helping spouses/partners of female faculty find employment. In response, the Dual Academic Career Initiative will be phased in over three years, starting with an investment of $100,000 in the first year and building up to $250,000 in the third year.

Parenting issues also create a variety of challenges that may affect the recruitment and retention of female faculty, according to the task force's report. To address these challenges, work is under way to enhance parental leave policies. For example, Hogan already has taken steps to implement an automatic one-year extension of the tenure clock for all probationary faculty, following the permanent addition of a child (by birth or adoption) to a faculty household.

Other actions completed or under way as a response to the report's recommendations include the development of new marketing materials in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity; new data collection and monitoring efforts; several draft policies to address issues related to parenting, such as the leave allowed and the workload expected following the birth or adoption of a child; the creation of a task force on mentoring; and discussion of a standing committee that would monitor performance on goals related to both diversity and gender equity.

This article is from a news release prepared by University of Iowa News Services.

 

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