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Commission on Women and Gender Equity in Academia

Frequently asked questions

We have appreciated the interest, feedback, and thoughts that we have received from the community so far and wanted to respond to a few common themes.

Inclusion of Staff

We have received several e-mails inquiring about whether the Commission on Women and Gender Equity in Academia (CWGEA) will be considering issues of gender equity and the concerns of women staff members across the university.  Based on initial conversations with President Seligman, the primary focus of the CWGEA will be on the academic paths of faculty, students and trainees such as post-doctoral fellows or residents.  We agreed that considering the range of concerns for all members of the staff across the many divisions of the University and the medical center would be too broad and complex for our group.  However, we feel very strongly that staff concerns must also be addressed.  President Seligman has reassured us that he shares this concern and has plans underway for a similar review.  He states:  “I have begun efforts to organize a parallel effort to the Commission on Women and Gender Equity in Academia to examine issues concerning gender equity issues for our staff.  I anticipate being able to report on the means to address these issues within a reasonable period.”  The CWGEA will continue to monitor the administration’s progress toward this review, and welcomes further feedback or concerns about this effort.

While the CWGEA’s efforts will focus on faculty and students, we realize that staff members play a critical role in their academic paths here at the University of Rochester.  Thus, we welcome interested staff members to join our working groups or share input through feedback forms or email to Commission members.

Gender Diversity of Commission

One of these themes has been about the gender diversity of the Commission, which we noted in our announcement. Our team was not selected by any one person. Instead, each school selected their own faculty and student representative. Because of the grass-roots, decentralized style of nomination and selection, the make up of the Commission was not planned —17 of our 18 members are women. However, we look forward to welcoming a diverse group of men, women, and gender non-conforming individuals into our working groups, which will be conducting the majority of the review, assessment, and work of the Commission.

Duration and Timeline

The Commission plans to release most its recommendations by the Spring. By the end of 2018, a follow up report will be released, detailing the progress made on those recommendations. Our timeline is long because our scope is broad and work requires careful thought and consideration. However, due to the timeliness of certain topics over others, we will likely be releasing some preliminary recommendations by mid-winter, notably from our Working Group on Sexual Harassment and Misconduct. Please continue to check our website for updates or contact us with any concerns.