President’s commission on women seeks new members

Colorado State University

The President’s Commission on Women and Gender Equity (CWGE) is seeking new members from across the campus community to add their voice and vision to the commission’s important work. The CWGE currently has three positions open for faculty members, two for state classified personnel, one for an administrative professional and one for an undergraduate student.

Sue James, incoming CWGE Chair and head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, said the 14-member commission made great progress last year, and it is important to keep that momentum going strong into a new academic year. James said the commission has benefitted from President Tony Frank’s support, and she credits Frank with putting his time, funding and the power of his office behind the CWGE.

“This is an exciting time for the commission,” said James. “In my more than 20 years here at CSU, I’ve never seen such a focus on women and gender issues from both the top down and the bottom up. Our budget has been increased significantly, we are seriously investigating salary equity on this campus, and putting in the hard, long-term work to improve the climate and culture on campus.”

Kelly Hixson, a Classified Personnel Council representative and a Custodial Supervisor in Operations Management, said she feels honored to be on the commission because it provides a platform for people, especially women, from all walks of life. “The commission advocates for all members of the campus community to ensure they are free from limitations, and to help them feel empowered and supported by this institution in pursuing their professional and academic aspirations.”

The CWGE was established in 1997 by then President Al Yates to assist the university in designing strategies and promoting activities that enhance gender equity and address women’s issues. President Frank issued an updated charge in May 2014, asking the commission to identify areas of concern in gender equity and campus climate, and provide specific recommendations to him for areas where CSU can improve.

In addition to salary equity, the commission is in the process of reviewing the university’s policies on bullying and parental leave, and taking up such issues as graduate student working conditions, campus safety and a living wage. James said that requires some difficult conversations, but it’s the only way to make progress.

“My experience on the commission and with the Standing Committee on the Status of Women Faculty has re-energized me and helped me remember that one of the main reasons I chose an academic career was to help girls and women,” she said. “We have an exciting year ahead, and we need others who are passionate to join us on this journey.”

The application deadline is Tuesday, August 25, and those interested may either self-nominate or be nominated by a colleague.