Evelyn Hu-deHart: Evelyn Hu-deHart reflects on her own career and how personal and poignant this discussion is to her own experiences in academe. She speaks about Duke University’s lacrosse team scandal and its effects on Duke’s women of color faculty. Hu-deHart notes that Duke University is on the “good list” of institutions but that such crises really exemplify the leadership’s position and the real status of minority faculty at such universities. She worries that issues of diversity are just a “numbers game” in terms of institution’s PR. Hu-deHart muses on her personal job searches as a women of color candidate. As someone in the trenches, she shares anecdotal evidence as to why we must move to the next step in diversifying higher ed. She speaks to the power of the practice of a diverse institution. Hu-deHart identifies the “culture piece” as the most important element to work on in effecting positive change. She also notes that “higher ed.” is a term that is too amorphous and imprecise. Her final thoughts focus on the question of how to make the decision-makers care deeply about these issues and read the pertinent reports (or attend these panels!).
Audience Member: What would a truly diverse higher ed. institution look like?
Veronica Aerrola: What is the most effective way to present our data? How can we ethically show our demographics and deal with the lack of clarity that results from the manipulation of data?
Audience Member: Brings up the issue of institutional culture and access to elite universities. What can we do since not every student can go to Harvard?
Audience Member: Brings up the question of the “trailing spouse” in terms of dual academic couples. What about partner hiring issues? What can we do about the fact that women are continuing to be the trailing spouses?
The conversation gets exciting and resources are recommended.
Allison Kimmich, National Women’s Studies Association Executive Director: Allison Kimmich points out the need for a collaborative communications effort organized among stakeholders to get this information out into the public domain and to make it a mainstream issue.
The panel leaves us with a homework assignment – a call to go back to our campuses and:
• Be sure that there is a group on your campus that is asking these questions and keeping track of how all women are doing.
• Learn about your own institutions policies and share this information with peers and colleagues.
Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.