Friday, June 04, 2010

Butler Collaborative to present at Women's Leadership Conference

I will join a group of my colleagues for a roundtable presentation at the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership's conference, titled "Women as Intercultural Leaders: Imagination, Innovation, Integrity," from September 30-Oct. 2, 2010, at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Abstract: Women have played a key role in addressing issues of diversity at Butler University. Through grassroots organizing and collaborations across traditional institutional boundaries, their efforts have contributed to significant changes in climate and transformed the academic curriculum. Our workshop will outline their rhizomatic strategies of resistance.

Short description:Our roundtable will include brief presentations on a variety of women-centered collaborative efforts that have taken root at Butler University, and which range from campus-wide, non-academic affiliations to faculty-led, core curriculum initiatives.

We start with the history of the Women's Caucus, a grassroots organization that used the power of email lists and cross-campus conversations to imagine a more gender-equitable and diversity-sustaining environment. From this community was born our Presidential Gender Equity Commission, a group of faculty, staff and students from around the campus who spent over two years gathering and analyzing data to produce a report and a series of recommendations which are still in implementation phase and include progress updates by our President in biannual Town Hall Meetings.

The momentum created by these actions invigorated efforts to diversify the curriculum, most notably in the case of Gender Studies, which has been upgraded from a minor program to a major program with a tenure-track line and a paid Director housed in the new Interdisciplinary Programs Office. Through related synergistic efforts a core group of faculty established the Collaborative for Critical Inquiry into Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class, with members from many different departments and disciplines, whose primary goal was to craft new courses on the academics of diversity for Butler's core curriculum.

This session will be of interest to anyone working to improve their professional environment: educators looking to transform curriculum in areas of diversity and colleagues who want to build collaborative communities as a way to contest dominant practices that eclipse the concerns of minorities and women.

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