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Northwestern University

Provost's Advisory Council on Women Faculty

Launched in fall 2016, the Provost’s Advisory Council on Women Faculty supports our women and women-identified faculty through work on faculty development and leadership, work-life issues and policies, and pipeline advancement, in order to foster gender equity and even greater career success. Comprised of approximately fifty women and men faculty from across the schools, the Council is part of our collective larger focus on improving diversity and inclusion at Northwestern. The Council is committed to:

  1. Learning from and building upon the significant activities of various women faculty groups that are already occurring in schools across the University;
  2. Expanding our programs for building community and highlighting the scholarship of women and women-identified faculty;
  3. Fostering successful career trajectories of women faculty and enhance pipeline programs;
  4. Strengthening leadership training and opportunities; and
  5. Bringing an evidence-based perspective to understanding the experiences of women faculty at Northwestern, and utilizing recent scholarship on women and gender in academia to guide our work.

The Council created three working groups in spring 2016. They are as follows:

  1. Faculty Development and Leadership, Chair, Mercedes Carnethon, Associate Professor, Feinberg: The committee conducted interviews in summer 2017, to learn what skills are essential to women leaders on campus and what programs/training/experiences helped them to develop these skills, with the goal to recommend implementing or expanding programs/training.
  2. Pipeline Advancement, Chair, Amy Paller, Professor and Chair, Feinberg: The group’s focus is on advancement of women faculty from hiring to tenure and beyond. One subcommittee is writing a recommendation regarding instituting a university-wide exit interview process. A second subcommittee will conduct focus groups/interviews to investigate the advancement of assistant professors to tenure (and to a lesser extent, to full professor) in various schools and departments. The Office of Change Management is assisting the focus groups subcommittee.
  3. Work Life, Chair, Sandy Waxman, Professor, WCAS: They have gathered information on current NU policies and programs and those at peer institutions. They will design a survey/study of faculty and leaders to determine current implementation and communication around the policies, as well as to ask what problems faculty encounter around family/life issues and whether we have policies that address these issues. The goal is to make recommendations around changes in policies or in implementing/communicating current policies. They have formed two subcommittees. A Communications Subcommittee is examining how our current policies and programs are communicated, with an emphasis on websites, and will meet with the Office of Work-life. A second subcommittee on survey/interviews will work with the Office of Change Management to design a study on faculty’s experiences with work life policies, implementation, and issues.

Learn more about the various activities and programs related to the Council's work.

Council Members

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