Category Archives: WISEblog

The WISEblog category is for communications relating to general topics of interest or concern to WISE members. Campus and community issues of concern can also be posted here, like work-life balance, childcare, and career-path discussion.

Conversation-Community-Collegiality, C3 University Lunches Scheduled

See also Tech Today, 9Feb2015
“We thought it would be nice to provide an opportunity for relaxed interaction across campus,” says Faith Morrison, member of the Steering Committee for the C-Cubed (Conversation-Community-Collegiality University Lunches) group. Norma Veurink adds “In our teaching and support roles with students, we always seem to be in discharge mode. We need a venue to recharge with colleagues.” Nilufer Onder contacted Theresa Coleman-Kaiser, who, it turns out, was already working with a pair of University Senators on a related idea. It all came together for Thursdays and Fridays this semester.

“It,” that came together is the C-Cubed University Lunches set to start February 12 and 13 in MUB B001 (ground floor; former billiards room). Faculty, staff, and their guests are invited to buy lunch (buffet will be offered) or bring their lunch to room MUB-B001 on Thursdays and Fridays and to share conversation and lunchtime with colleagues. “We’re providing the invitation, table cloths, a cash buffet, and Theresa has arranged for the university provide a few perks (complimentary coffee, tea, cookies, and fruit),” says Morrison. “All the attendees need to bring is conversation, community, and collegiality (C3)!”

The committee hopes that the seed planted through these twice-weekly C-Cubed lunches will develop into an ongoing congenial setting for informal gatherings. For now, the lunches will be offered on Thursdays and Fridays through the end of the spring semester. The price of the buffet lunch will be $10 and the menu will vary. Brown-baggers are welcome, as are those who wish to purchase lunch from the MUB Commons or the Khana Khazana on Fridays. The lunch event is from 11:30-1:30 both days. All faculty and staff and their guests are welcome.

Contact any member of the steering committee if you have questions or suggestions.
C-Cubed Steering Committee:

  • Tess Ahlborn (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Sherry Anderson (College of Engineering)
  • Jennifer Biekkola (Annual Giving)
  • Theresa Coleman-Kaiser (Assistant Vice President for Administration)
  • Stefaan De Winter (Mathematical Sciences)
  • Sarah Green (Chemistry)
  • Audrey Mayer (School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science and Social Sciences)
  • Faith Morrison (Chemical Engineering)
  • Nilufer Onder (Computer Science)
  • Norma Veurink (Engineering Fundamentals)
  • Adam Wellstead (Social Sciences)

 

New WorkLife Programming Advisory Committee Formed

The Michigan Tech V. P. for Administration Ellen Horsch has formed a new committee, the WorkLife Programming Advisory Committee.   According to their website, the committee came into existence at the end of 2014.  The WorkLife Programming Advisory Committee is charged with:

  • Regularly assessing WorkLife quality at the University.
  • Reviewing and providing input on University policy to support WorkLife blending.
  • Benchmarking other institutions’ WorkLife programs.
  • Providing programming and resources to the campus community that support a high quality of WorkLife blending for all.

Persons interested in participating in the Committee’s work are invited to get in touch with the Committee chair, Ann Kitalong-Will, who can be reached at amkitalo@mtu.edu. Subcommittees are being formed on the following topics (per blogposting 29Jan2015):

  1. Childcare and eldercare issues and concerns
  2. Policies that support a good work-life blend for University employees
  3. Mentoring opportunities
  4. IT service, software, and technology infrastructure needs that support worklife quality and flexible work options
  5. Professional and career development needs and interests

There is also a survey link posted on their blog, inviting community members to express their priorities with regard to work-life issues.

The committees, task forces, and groups formed by the V.P. for Administration’s office “research, analyze, and recommend ways to improve administrative operations at Michigan Tech to help enable a pleasant, productive, and safe work environment.”  These groups (as of 8Feb2015) are:

  1. Benefits Liaison Group
  2. Health and Safety Task Force
  3. Incident Command Team
  4. Memorial Union Vision Purpose Group
  5. The Tech Community Wellness Committee
  6. Reengineering Personnel Management Systems Task Force
  7. WorkLife Programming Task Force

 

 

Tech Benefit: Childcare while traveling on University Business

Dependent care expenses above and beyond regular dependent care costs that directly result from travel on university business are reimbursed. Qualifying individuals eligible for reimbursement under this policy are the same as those allowable for Flexible Spending Accounts.

For more on this and for instructions on how to apply, see:
www.mtu.edu/fso/financial/travel/dependent-care/

Tips and Best Practices from the Michigan Tech Diversity Literacy Online Workshop

Thank you to Michigan Tech’s Patricia Sotirin and Sonia Goltz for permssion to post this list from the 2014 Diversity Literacy Online Workshop

Diversity Literacy Workshop:  Best Practices

Unintentional Bias

  1. Recognize the influence of stress and time pressures on decision‐making processes. If possible, schedule selection and advancement processes with an eye to minimizing semester and professional demands on committee members and provide a generous window of time for committees to deliberate.
  2. Establish decision criteria related to position requirements and professional qualifications before reviewing candidate applications.
  3. Encourage selection and advancement committees to seek additional information in order to clarify ambiguous priorities, criteria, and information. At the same time, be careful to apply the same criteria and requirements for all candidates.
  4. Identify and focus on specific position criteria rather than discussing a broader and more general sense of “fit” with the department.

Selection Bias

  1. Avoid evaluations based on inferences that may mask subtle biases. In particular, do not make offer decisions based on what the committee assumes or suspects about the candidate’s motives, preferences, or likely actions.
  2. Clarify whether gendered assumptions about roles or positions are evident and strive to compare candidates on the basis of actual accomplishments and qualifications. This is particularly important in assessing leadership and professional potential.
  3. Use a structured interview schedule for each candidate interview. If additional questions are asked of a particular candidate, these should be noted so that the committee can decide how or whether the additional information is useful and comparable to information available for other candidates.
  4. Word position announcements using gender neutral language and identify both mainstream and population‐specific venues for placing the announcement in order to ensure a pool with at least 25% minority and female candidates.
  5. Question vague, evaluative comments made by committee members to find out what specific issues or concerns underlie such comments. Vague feelings and suspicions, anecdotal information, and interpretations based on perceptions should be explored so that these comments can either be substantiated or reconsidered.

Advancement Bias

  1. Set up specific standards for advancement progress and assess all faculty periodically for advancement potential based on non‐subjective criteria (number of courses taught, cumulative teaching scores, number of publications, grant levels, etc.).
  2. Be vigilant about identifying and minimizing unconscious bias in advancement decision‐making processes. Provide P&T committees with time and information and encourage members to avoid distractions and focus on predetermined advancement‐relevant criteria.
  3. Assess the subtle accumulation of disadvantages across all faculty periodically. Pay attention to systematic differences among groups of faculty such as salary, space, research resources, teaching assignments, awards, and committee assignments.

From the NY Times: Women at work subject to more, and harsher, criticism

From the New York Times, September 27, 2014:

A NEW study by the linguist and tech entrepreneur Kieran Snyder, done for Fortune.com, found two differences between workplace performance reviews given to men and women. Across 248 reviews from 28 companies, managers, whether male or female, gave female employees more negative feedback than they gave male employees. Second, 76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the woman was “abrasive,” “judgmental” or “strident.” Only 2 percent of men’s critical reviews included negative personality comments.

For the whole article, see the New York Times website.

Volunteers Needed for Get WISE Event

The Center for Pre-College Outreach is looking for about 25 female volunteers to help out at “Get WISE,” an event seeking to raise women’s interest in science and engineering.  Although not sponsored by the Michigan Tech Women in Science and Engineering group (the source of this blog), it is a worthy event that we endorse! The event will be held on Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Volunteers or anyone looking for more information can email dwalsh@mtu.edu.

Nancy Auer’s Sturgeon Book Among Michigan’s Most Notable for 2014

The Library of Michigan has chosen WISE member Professor Nancy Auer’s book “The Great Lake Sturgeon,” coedited with Dave Dempsey, as one of the 2014 Michigan Notable Books.

Twenty books made the list, ranging from Jim Harrison’s “The River Swimmer” to a pie cookbook to a collection of Upper Peninsula poems and stories.

See the whole article in Tech Today on 8 January 2014.  Way to go Nancy!

New Michigan Tech Publication Examines Gender Balance Issues

Beyond the Glass Ceiling is a new student-edited feminist publication at Michigan Tech where writers can examine gender balance issues.  As reported in Michigan Tech News:

Beyond the Glass Ceiling is the successor to the former TechnoBabe Times, a publication largely housed in the humanities department a decade ago. Graduate student Katie Snyder wanted to revive the tradition, with encouragement from faculty, leading to the new publication.

Visit the Michigan Tech News story for more information or go to their Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beyond-The-Glass-Ceiling-Mich-Tech-Newspaper/216829025108704