to move UGA forward
Women’s Leadership Initiative spurs new hiring practices, programs at UGA, laying the "groundwork for significant advances in gender equity."
UGA has updated its hiring practices, launched leadership development programming and made new resources available to faculty and staff as a result of its Women’s Leadership Initiative.
“To move the University of Georgia forward, we need to ensure that we attract, retain and advance the very best faculty and staff,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “The three components of the Women’s Leadership Initiative—recruitment, hiring and retention; leadership and career and development; and work-life balance—all complement each other to benefit the entire university.”
Training on best practices for recruiting and hiring employees will begin this spring for administrators and faculty members participating on search committees. The Office of Faculty Affairs has partnered with Human Resources to craft materials to help search committees maximize the diversity of hiring pools, and the guides are expected to be posted online later this year.
Sarah Covert, associate provost for faculty affairs, noted that a full rollout of trainings on best practices for faculty search committees is on track to be complete by the summer in anticipation of the busy faculty hiring season. In addition, the Office of Faculty Affairs recently began offering workshops on faculty mentoring that include information on improving the retention of faculty in underrepresented groups, including women.
In the fall, nine faculty members were chosen as the inaugural class of the university’s Women’s Leadership Fellows Program, which provides professional development and networking opportunities for faculty members. The cohort, which includes representatives from seven schools and colleges as well as the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, will continue meeting monthly in sessions that feature senior administrators and speakers from academia, business and other fields. The training and mentorship program concludes with a weekend retreat in June.
The recruitment of a work-life balance coordinator is underway as well, and Human Resources is conducting an assessment of programs that support work-life balance to identify unmet needs and ensure that policies and guidelines on leave, flex-time and telecommuting are consistently applied across units. In addition, information on work-life balance topics such as child care, wellness programs, telecommuting and leave policies will be consolidated in a new online resource.
Other units also have launched programs to support female students, faculty and staff. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences held a Women in Leadership Panel in the fall that featured alumnae and was moderated by Dean Linda Kirk Fox, for example. On Feb. 8, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will host delegations from 13 states for the Southern Region Women’s Agricultural Leadership Summit, an event that will include an interactive research dialogue to provide input for policymakers as well as scholars. The Terry College of Business has scheduled events nearly every month this calendar year through its Women’s Initiative Annual Plan.
Students have contributed to the effort, with the newly formed Women in Science organization presenting a WiSci (Women in Science) Career Symposium and members of the Demosthenian Literary Society, Phi Kappa Literary Society, Roosevelt Institute and Women’s Studies Student Organization participating in a Women’s Leadership Initiative debate in November.
“We still have plenty of work to do,” Whitten said, “but the dedication of administrators, faculty, staff and students across campus has laid the groundwork for significant advances in gender equity at the University of Georgia.”
— Camie Williams, Provost’s Office