I have been wanting to talk to the Dean of my college about my delight at the sudden increase in women faculty in my college, and about ways to help us/or keep us moving up the pipeline successfully. Why did I want to do this? Well, to a certain extent this is enlightened self interest (i.e. I’m a female junior faculty member). But- I want to do everything in my power to stop the drain of women from the pipeline, and that means keeping those currently in the pipeline right where they are and moving up. I think changes like this start at home, and I had already talked to my department chair about this and about my approaching the dean and I had my chair’s blessing.
Yesterday, I just happened to look through the glass into the Dean’s office and see him standing there …. I was sucked in as if by a tractor beam. Sometimes I can’t help myself. Anyway, I asked him for a few minutes of his time… and mentioned to him that with the increasing ## of women academics around it might be useful to set up a women’s faculty group- an informal group to meet on a regular (but not in overwhelming number of meetings) basis … and would that be ok. Get the senior women together with the junior women, so everyone knows everyone else’s faces, departments etc. We are not talking about a huge ## of women here- we are talking about maybe 10-15, so I think that this is realistic. I’ve been to the women’s faculty gatherings on the main part of our campus, and while I think this venue is also good- it is a VERY LARGE group and it is thus difficult to make personal connections to people and maintain those. I’m hoping a smaller size group of faculty within my college will have a different dynamic.
Happily- he was all for it. 1000% for it, offered administrative help and $$ to support it, pretty much gave me carte blanche to do this as I see fit. Most successful pitch with least effort that I ever made for anything. I’m thinking about an informal lunch once per month- hopefully this will be the basis for setting up a support structure for young female faculty, … and a more organized presence.
See, sometimes you just gotta ask for what you want.