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Table of Contents

  1. Why the seminar and speaker series?
  2. Why do we take Daughter's and Sons to work?
  3. Why should I come to a potluck supper?  What if I can't cook?  Can I bring my kids?
  4. Who's in charge?
  5. When did women become part of the student body and faculty ranks? How many women are on the faculty?
  6. What's with the signs in the Women's bathrooms?
  7. Is ESF breastfeeding friendly?
  8. Any suggestions for:
    1. balancing work and family?
    2. Childcare?
    3. Conference attendance when child- or elder-care is an issue?
  9. Congrats on the reaching no. 3 for women in science?
  10. Is the pay gap thing true?

Why the seminar and speaker series?

Because of the small number of women faculty at ESF, the series provides mentoring opportunities for students, both female and male, who have little regular exposure to female role models.  Bringing these professionals to campus as seminar speakers helps women and men in all stages of their careers expand their vision of the roles of women in professional fields.  Speakers meet with classes, clubs, and individual undergraduate and graduate students seeking advice about careers they may never have pictured for themselves.  A small group of students has an added challenge and opportunity: students from the associated 1-credit seminar (FOR 797-2/496-10) are charged with coordinating these meetings during each speaker’s stay.   The speaker also meets with class members discuss her experiences with the roles and topics of the course.

There aren't enough women that have been here long enough to form an  "Old Girl's Club”  at ESF--or at SU and Upstate either.  The speaker series serves as chance for ESF women to develop a network with interested and interesting women across campus and the University Hill as well as around the country. 

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Why do we take Daughters and Sons to work?

The Daughter's only program was launched in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation as a response to studies by Harvard University, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Minnesota Women's Fund, which indicate that a girl's self esteem and confidence in intellectual development plummet as they advance toward adolescence.  In recent years, the program has expanded to encompass the boys who will become the partners, coworkers, and friends of the women of the future.

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Why should I come to a potluck supper?  What if I can't cook?  Can I bring my kids?

Sometimes it seems like there are actually miles between the different departments, but the Main Campus in Syracuse is really quite small, and it would be nice to know some friendly people in every building.   We share summaries electronically, so those at our resident remote campuses (especially the Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, NY, and the NYS Ranger School, in Wanakena,  NY).

If you can't/didn't have time to cook or pick something up, bring a few dollars.  We will pool funds and arrange for take-out or delivery from a local restaurant.  This practice started in the early years of the Caucus, when several people found themselves huddled around a vending machine looking for potential items at the last minute.  They opted to pool their funds and order a pizza. 

Adequate, affordable childcare is an issue affecting many families on campus, so we invite you to bring your kids along to all of our programs. They do a great job of entertaining one another!

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Who is in charge?

In general, the Women's Caucus is non-hierarchical.  There are no officers and decisions are made by consensus. However, there are individuals who serve as the primary contacts for individual projects.   If you would like the Caucus's assistance with any other program, please contact any of the names on that list.

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When did women become part of the student body? How many women are on the faculty?

ESF began as an all male college in 1911, and there were no women students during the early decades.  Ruth Warret (Landscape Architecture) and Barbara Jane Hennessey (Pulp and Paper) were the very first women graduates in 1947;  Mildred Kocic (Pulp and Paper) followed  in 1948.

"By 1969, women numbered only 73 out of 1300 enrolled...as the College's work expanded in research fields such as biology, biochemistry and paper fiber technology, so did its appeal to a wider student base.  Job opportunities in related industries also began to expand for women by the late 1960s.  In 1967, the first female completed the timberland management curriculum, and the phrase 'lumberjills' appeared in the press.   Traditions were beginning to fall, but it would take a few more years for  true gender equality to spread throughout the college.

"The early 1970s saw the first female trustees appointed to the board.  The first woman graduated from the Ranger School in 1974. ... A woman's [Woodman] team was begun in 1973 and won an international competition in 1975.  And by 1974, an affirmative action program was underway at ESF to increase minority recruitment.  In 2011, 40% of the 2,200 enrolled students are female." (transcribed 12 Sept 2011 from new signage posted in Moon Library).  Also of note, it wasn't until 1986 until a woman chaired Faculty Governance (Betsy Elkins) or GSA (Ann Moore).

Even through the early 90s, there were very few women professors:

  • Dr. Chun-Juan "June" Wang, who was hired as a non-tenure track Research Associate, Environmental and Forest Biology, in 1959.  She advanced through various grades to become one of ESF's first women Professors in 1972 and earn the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990.  She "retired" in 1998, but has maintained an active research program.
  • Dr. Deborah Hill, School of Forestry 1979
  • Prof Kathy Stribley joined the School of Landscape Architecture in 1981, and retired as Professor at the end of 2010
  • Dr. Maggie Shannon, Department of Forestry, 1986-92
  • Prof. Cheryl Doble joined LA in 1987; she retired as an Associate Professor in 2011
  • Sally Webster taught computing classes as part of the Faculty of Environmental Studies from 1990-2000.  She retired as an Associate Professor.
  • In 1993, Dr. Brenda Nordenstam (currently on medical leave) and Dr. Sue Senecah (now retired) joined Environmental Studies; Dr. Robin Kimmerer EFB.
  • In 1994,  Dr. Parto Pakdel joined Paper Science Engineering (until 1996), and Drs. Ruth Yanai and Valerie Luzadis joined the Faculty of Forestry.  Luzadis and Yanai are now full Professors in the renamed Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management.  In addition, Luzadis chairs the Department of Environmental Studies (interim in 2010; for keeps in 2011) and as of 2011, Yanai directs the Graduate Program in Environmental Science.
  • ESF welcomed its first female department head in 2008--Susan Anagnost, in the now named Department of Sustainable Construction Management).  Dr. Anagnost was also promoted from within the campus community
  • There were women faculty in every academic department as of 2008.   Click here (PDF) for a breakdown by discipline. 

(P.S.  Thank you, Flora Nyland, College Archivist Emerita, and Marcia Barber and Tim Blehar, Director and Assistant Director of Human Resources, for their help compiling names and dates.)

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What's with the signs in the bathrooms? 

Every women's and unisex bathroom on campus should have an acetate holder by the sinks, towel towel dispensers or the door specifically for announcing Women’s Caucus events.  Each holder should also have a little label that directs you to this website.  

 

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.  The foremothers of the ESF Women's Caucus realized that quite a few staff and grad students spend the bulk of the day, every day, in their individual offices or labs, unless they, like their undergrads, rush between classes and meetings.  Something would need to be on every bulletin board on campus for every woman to have an opportunity to see one (assuming it hasn't already been covered by some other flier).  However, it was a safe bet that every woman on campus will visit a lavatory sooner or later.  So, by placing more strategically, they could reach the target audience with only a handful of fliers.

 

Fliers were previously taped to walls, and then affixed to some surfaces with magnets, until we came to an agreement with former a VP of Administration and Director of Physical Plant.  We purchased these holders, which Physical Plant installed, for our use to prevent the tape residue and water splashed fliers that really weren’t fair to those that try hard to keep those areas clean.   Fliers stay up, and stay looking nice, much longer now, so whenever we can, we can announce multiple events on single fliers, saving us a little more time and paper. 

 

We respectfully ask that if you see something of interest, you jot it, or our URL down, rather than taking the flier.

 

Others are welcome to use the holders when we aren't actively advertising an upcoming event--especially when programs and events are consistent with our mission.

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Is ESF breastfeeding friendly?

Although lots of ESF kids are nursed, neither ESF nor SUNY have lactation policies in place for employees or students--as of 2012-13, it is not addressed in the college's sexual harassment policy, or student, graduate student, or employee handbooks.  As such, we did not have an official "lactation" or "mother's" room until July 23, 2013--you may now find it in 313 Baker, with renovations completed over the fall semester.  Thanks are due to: Computing and Network Services next door for the more comfortable, easier to clean chair: Physical Plant giving up the room, and for the structural renovations (finishing the walls, replacing the original floor basin with a counter and sink, additional outlet, installing a mirror for checking that all buttons have been refastened); Tim Blehar, HR, for shepherding the upgrades; and the VP for Administration for authorizing the work.

How do we fit into the bigger picture?

New York is among the states that have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location, and that exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. 

Employees have had ample legal support.  A 2007 NYS law (see
PDF) requires employers to provide new mothers with a private space to either express milk or breast feed for three years after child birth. Employers are also required to give mothers the time to either express or breast feed.  The company does not have to pay the mother for that time (but they also cannot dock her if she can use scheduled breaks or otherwise makes up the time; see PDF).  A 2010 federal law states that the employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public for the employee to express breast milk for the child's first year.  If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs fewer than 50 employees is not subject to these requirement.

Putting this into practice was another matter, however. If you were able to schedule when a child could be brought to you to nurse, you were, and remain, free to use almost any place on campus (there are some labs that no one should be eating in; and that should go double for our babes! This is true for the bathrooms!).  For those lucky enough to have private offices (ie., faculty) pumping could and can still be done in the privacy of your office.   The rest of us had to be more creative, and were only successful if we had supportive (vs barely tolerant) colleagues.  .And effective, July 23, 2013, 313 Baker Lab (near the freight elevator) is a designated room for nursing moms. 

According to Tim Blehar, the door should remain unlocked except when its in use, so moms do not have to reserve it to nurse, pump, or clean their pumps.  HR assures us that the room is available to student and visiting mothers, too.

On a related note, the Gateway Building was designed with a family restroom (i.e. large enough for a family member to accompany any person requiring assistance and with room for the individuals wheelchair or other mobility device) with a changing table in its basement.

We still have a way to go to develop policies that support all parents, including flextime, but its good to know that we have support for moms at so many levels of the administration, and that we can cross Lactation Room off the wishlist.

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Any suggestions for balancing work and family?

Oh, goodness-the best solution is to culture a climate where balanced lives are expected for every person.  Until our society reaches that level of enlightenment, this will remain a popular topic for our potluck dinners, brown-bag lunches (summaries) and a query of every speaker in the Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Speaker Series (want to participate?  Enroll in the Environmental Career Strategies for Women Seminar, look for it each Spring as FOR797/FOR 496).  If there is specific aspect that you would like to discuss, we would love to feature at an upcoming program-- please contact Heather engelman@syr.edu .

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Childcare? ESF missed the window when the state offered subsidies to develop on-site day care programs (ESF did seem landlocked in those days, so this may have been an issue of where the heck could we put it? rather than, nah, we don't need one).  There are arrangements in place for  ESF employees and students to use SU's Early Education and Child Care Center and Bernice Wright Child Development Laboratory School  or Upstate Medical University's Sarah Loguen Center on a space available basis. All three facilities have waiting lists, but also have excellent reputations so its worth inquiring and having your name added to those lists!  SU requires that you know that you are pregnant, Upstate does not. ESF is also a member of  Childcare Solutions, a one-stop shop for other centers --ask HR for ESF's login information to use their web-based search (you enter the criteria--location, home or center based, etc.)  The Early Childhood Development Program, Rothchild Early Childhood Center , and The Growing Place are all popular centers, although they also have limited space for infants.  Jowonio pre-School also come well recommended.

If you need help on superintendent, teacher conferences days, school breaks and snowdays--check with the JCC and YMCA, and other facilities that provide after school care in your district. 

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I want to attend this _____, but ... need help with my kids (or my elderly dad or ....)
In the olden days, one parent was always available to stay home, and/or a grandparent was close by to assist.  Nowadays, there a number of single parent households (or households split across great distances), both members of a dual career couple may need to attend the same meeting, or Grandparent may be the one who needs care in your absence.  If this describes you, a  limiting factor in determining which conferences to attend (or which partner can attend this one):  can I obtain reliable child- or elder-care in my absence?  If you are lucky, the conference organizers have put some thought into this for you.  For instance, the Ecological Society of America partners with local agencies for child care (6 mo-8 yr) or summer camp programs (8-12 yrs) on site during its annual meeting each August.

Parents traveling during the school year might find it better to arrange for someone to stay with their children at their home, or for their children to stay with friends or family in their districts.   Even if child care options are in place, participants may need to bring someone (often a retired parent) to offer care for younger infants during the meeting--this arrangement definitely facilitates nursing.  But, the costs of the formal programs, or the airfare and meal costs for childcare providers on site or at home can be prohibitive. 

There are a few funds to offset the costs of registration fees, airfare and hotel costs, so that your personal dollars can stretch further on care.  Graduate students should ask their major professors if they have funds available to support the traditional participant costs (this is often written into the grants supporting the research in the first place!), and apply for "Travel Reimbursement Grants" through the Graduate Student Association.  Faculty may inquire about departmental funds, and submit "Individual Development Award" applications to HR as per directions received by the UUP on-campus union representative.  In past years, the Research Office has offered "travel grants" based on level of participation at meetings, opportunities for recruitment, etc--and hopefully they will be able to offer these again in the future.  Faculty may also use their "Individual Research Incentive" accounts for expenses that are not allowed under their competitive grants, but since the amount each researcher receives for this is based upon the grant income that researcher brings in, new faculty might not have enough accumulated for this purpose. 

If you are looking for someone to stay in your home with your kids, to water your finicky plants, or to check on your beloved pet and administer its medications--ask the office of Financial Aid to list a position, and send an email to the esfwomen listserv for recommendations.

A Participant Support Fund is among the item's on the Women's Caucus wishlist--if you know of grants supportive of that goal, let us know.  The National Science Foundation announced a new Career-Life Balance (CLB) Initiative in 2011 which might help pave the way.

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The Forbes Report

In January 2011, the Office of Communications announced that Forbes.com ranked ESF No. 3 on its 2010 list of best colleges for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.   Are congratulations in order?  Maybe.  But also note that colleges were ranked solely on a percentage basis on "how closely they approached an ideal where STEM classrooms look like the school overall."  It is distinctly possible that because of the nature of ESF's specialized programs, more classes than usual could qualify as STEM, and inflate the numerator in that equation.  This is speculation, of course--but we aren't ready to start dismantling programs that benefit STEM women  (like the Women's Caucus, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs) just yet.  The following year, Playboy rated ESF as the country's overall worst party school (Sept 2012), citing our excellent science program and our student's focus, but also knocking ESF's anonymity in Syracuse despite those features, and the scarcity of gorgeous girls.

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Is the Pay Gap True?

A SUNY-wide report in 1993 revealed that across the system, only 27% of full professors were women and that salary disparities were significant even after controlling for years of experience and discipline; SUNY ESF was noted for its “unusual dearth of women faculty”  (Haignere 1993, cited by Frenette 1999). A follow up report only looked at seven campuses, but found that academic females were still paid less than males at statistically significant levels, and compression is affecting salaries across the seven SUNY institutions they sampled (Burke and Dangler 2009).

Research released in April 2007 by AAUW shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens. Their 2012 update shows very little improvement., and clarifies that the gap is apparent before marriage and children and after controlling for college major, hours of work, and occupation.  And over a career, that difference adds up, and significantly impacts retirement plan contributions.


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@ESF, SU, Off Campus:

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Tu, 5/13 Social media and internet safety-what every parent needs to know. 6:30 pm, NY21CF, JCC,  Register: 445-2360

Sa, 6/21 Women's Rifle Instructional Clinic, Lagrange, NY Registration.

NOTES:  Adaptive Peaks is sponsored by the Dept of Environmental and Forest Biology; Lunchtime Learning Seminars by the Office of Multicultural Affairs; Nelson Series by SU Geology Department; CDS is the Cross-disciplinary seminar in hydrological and Biogeochemical processes.  Navigating Your 21st Century Family by the JCC, SHDS, and Temple Concord, HealthWorks by Upstate Medical, Syracuse University University Lectures. Society of Women Engineers.

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