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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 2, 2007

Provost Announces New Initiatives To Enhance Gender Equity For Faculty

In an effort to make academic life at the University of Iowa more hospitable for women faculty, the UI will take several major steps over the next three years, including investing $250,000 in a new program, 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 today 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. Thursday, 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 Faculty Senate. A reception will be held immediately following the speech.

"The Task Force produced an outstanding analysis of issues pertaining to gender equity, alongside clearly articulated and actionable recommendations," Hogan said.

Chaired by Adrien Wing, professor of law, the task force made 11 primary recommendations on the recruitment and retention of faculty, parenting issues, and ongoing faculty support. Hogan noted that action has been taken or is under way on all 11 recommendations.

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.

"I'm very pleased that we've made such rapid progress on the task force's recommendations, though we still have a lot of work to do," Hogan said.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Susan Johnson, 319-335-3565, susan-johnson@uiowa.edu