Faculty Council Committee Corner: Women

Group eyes ways to be more collaborative, intersectional
By Staff

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing CU Connections series in which the Faculty Council highlights each of its committees and their efforts. See past installments here.

Top from left, Avalos, Buszek, Christiansen, Hollis, Kosloski, Lamidi. Bottom from left, McCaslin, McLean, Melzer, Tallman, Wettergreen.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Getting to Know You, Getting to Know all About You” exemplifies the work that the Womxn’s/Women’s Committee (FCWC) has undertaken this academic year.

The committee has spent the past several years analyzing our charge to assess “the cultural climate of the university as it pertains to opportunities of women faculty for academic advancement, productivity and appropriate compensation,” and closely studying the ways in which our activities in the past have or have not related to this mission. We presented these findings, as well as the committee’s goals for changes, to the Executive Committee in early 2021. 

Our task was to complete the historical narrative of the FCWC that we have engaged with since 2019, holding meetings via Zoom with the leadership of the faculty assemblies from the four campuses to understand their similar missions, as well as our colleagues in other Faculty Council committees dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Our overarching goal this past year has been to determine ways the FCWC can be more collaborative and intersectional. This proved to be extremely helpful as we move into 2021-22 with plans to rededicate our activities toward being more responsive to and inclusive of the most pressing needs of all womxn-identified faculty across the system.

We feel changes to the FCWC activities will be crucial moving forward in the wake of dramatic shifts to our interrelated work and personal lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, CU’s ongoing conversations about the many harms and manifestations of white supremacy, patriarchal violence and domestic terrorism, and the myriad ways womxn faculty have been affected by these issues.

One additional task that we were extremely pleased with was attracting new members from diverse backgrounds and research interests – which has contributed to the richness of perspectives and forward-thinking planning in our committee.

As we go into the 2021-22 academic year, we have re-elected CU Boulder Media Studies scholar Polly McLean to serve another term as chair, and elected CU Denver art historian Maria Elena Buszek as vice chair and UCCS historian Samantha Christiansen as secretary.

Women’s Committee Members, 2020-21

  • Polly McLean, Chair, CU Boulder, Media Studies
  • Sara Wettergreen, CU Anschutz, Clinical Pharmacy
  • Natalie Avalos, CU Boulder, Ethnic Studies
  • Deborah Hollis, CU Boulder, University Libraries
  • Kate Tallman, CU Boulder, University Libraries
  • Samantha Christiansen, CU Colorado Springs, History
  • Anna Kosloski, CU Colorado Springs, School of Public Affairs
  • Esther Lamidi, CU Colorado Springs, Sociology
  • Nikki McCaslin, CU Denver, Auraria Library
  • Maria Buszek, CU Denver, Visual Arts
  • Annie Melzer, Staff Representative, CU system, Employee Services