Later blog: Report from November WISE event with Provost Huntoon

I just found this blog post from December that I forgot to post in the rush to the holidays – enjoy the flashback!

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We had our first WISE luncheon on Thursday November 29, with over 55 members in attendance from all over campus!  The buzz in the room was energizing as we gathered to meet, network and interact with Provost Jackie Huntoon and other members of the administration.  

We opened the program by recognizing the recent past leaders of WISE – Nilufer Onder, Norma Veurink,  Norma Veirunk, Dana Johnson and Nancy Barr.

After an introduction to our vision for WISE over the next few years, Provost Huntoon took the floor to answer questions from the audience.  She first provided a bit of history on how far WISE has come, sharing memories of the first meetings of women faculty on campus (5 women sharing brown bag lunch) to our current status with many women leaders in attendance, including deans, members of the Provost’s office, and department chairs. The following question and answer session covered broad ground from ways to improve local outreach efforts, to mentoring of faculty across their careers, preventing the “associate professor stall”, and the future of Michigan Tech and Tech Forward.  Thank you Provost Huntoon for your time and insight, and we hope to have this event again in future years to continue to facilitate communication between faculty and administration, and building on years of WISE momentum.

One item that came up at the luncheon and in conversations after is, who are the members of WISE?  In our vision, we include all women on campus who are engaged in research and teaching – this includes faculty, research faculty and staff, and post-docs who are interested in academia – really, anyone who is looking for a place to connect with and learn from others on campus.  We also hope to expand our focus from STEM to STEAM, engaging with faculty in humanities, arts and other units on campus that have historically not been part of WISE. As faculty at a technological university, we all face common challenges regardless of our home department and our group will be strongest if we engage the full diversity of expertise and experience on campus.  We are interested in proposing a name change to better reflect this inclusive vision – any and all suggestions for new names and acronyms are welcome! And be looking for an opportunity to provide input (maybe vote?) on a new name in the coming year!

We’re also busy planning events for spring 2019 – look for active engagement events scheduled for different times of day (breakfast workshops, afternoon gatherings) to engage those who cannot easily attend lunch meetings (including all the directors who teach over the noon hour).  If you have ideas for events that WISE could lead or co-organize with other organizations, feel free to add them to our growing list of ideas, which you can find here. We’re thinking carefully about which topics would be most beneficial for WISE members alone, versus which may be more productive if geared towards a broader audience on campus, including WISE allies and partners that can be engaged to meet our aim of helping members quickly, positively and productively meet their full potential as researchers and teachers. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at these future events – after a restful and rejuvenating holiday break, of course!