(Re-) Introducing the Academic Women’s Association

by Faculty Association | Filed under December 2012.

– By Rebecca Sullivan, Professor in the Department of English and President of the Academic Women’s Association –

The statistics are overwhelming and too-often frustrating. Academic women are less likely to be promoted, paid less than their male counterparts, and struggle more with work-life balance. Yet, studies show that women are no less committed and ambitious about their careers than their male counterparts. Whether you are a named Research Chair, a dedicated Instructor, or a passionate Sessional, professional development matters. That’s where we come in.

Although an Academic Women’s Association has been in existence at the University of Calgary for decades, in recent years it had become inactive. So in March 2012, we re-launched the Academic Women’s Association with a banquet luncheon featuring our Vice President, Academic, Dr. Dru Marshall, as the keynote speaker. Our mandate is to support all academic women – professors, instructors, sessionals, librarians, archivists, curators, counselors, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students – through advocacy and raising awareness of women’s issues in collaboration with other women-centred organizations on campus. We seek to advance career development from earliest stages to post-career.

To meet our mandate, we offer a series of workshops exclusively for AWA members, as well as co-sponsored ventures with such campus organizations as The Office of the Advisor on the Status of Women, The Stop Racism Now Committee, and The Women’s Resource Centre. In September we hosted a tea party in the TDFL’s Gallery Hall to welcome new academic women to the university. In November, we presented an original workshop on “Teaching Strategies in the Gendered Classroom,” designed exclusively for the AWA by Dr. Leslie Reid, Tamaratt Teaching Professor and Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science. But that’s not all – we’ve got big plans for next term!

In January, we will host “From Grad Student to Academic Professional,” a workshop to help our student members launch their post-graduate careers. A co-sponsored workshop with Stop Racism Now will be open to the entire university community. Finally, another AWA exclusive, “Getting to the Strategic Yes,” will feature Dr. Gayla Rogers in a leadership workshop to help academic women get the most from their chosen career path. Every month, the Women’s Resource Centre plays host to an AWA brown bag luncheon where we can meet colleagues and enjoy a guided discussion on some of the burning issues facing academic women. Our website lists the dates, times and places of all these events.

The Academic Women’s Association addresses a serious gap in our collegial workplace; that of women and women-identified individuals coming together across disciplines and across career paths to address issues and raise awareness of our unique concerns. We especially encourage sessionals and grad students, as well as those just starting your careers, to consider the benefits of membership. We welcome everyone to join our association and take advantage of the resources and networks we offer to make your chosen field of work more fulfilling. Annual membership is $20 for full-time waged academic professionals, and only $10 for sessionals, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students.

For more information on the Academic Women’s Association, check out our website: http://ucalgary.ca/awa/. Event details are listed under the “Events” tab. Membership can be registered and paid for online through the “Membership” tab. If you have any questions, contact awa@ucalgary.ca.


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