- Why the seminar and speaker
- Why do we take Daughter's and
Sons to work?
- Why should I come to a potluck
supper? What if I can't cook? Can I bring my
- Who's in charge?
- When did women become part of
the student body and faculty ranks? How many women are on the
- What's with the signs in the
- Is ESF
balancing work and family?
Conference attendance when child- or elder-care is an issue?
Congrats on the reaching no. 3
for women in science?
Is the pay gap thing true?
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.
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.
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).
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
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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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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
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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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
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
Employees have had ample legal support. A 2007 NYS law
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
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
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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
Bernice Wright Child Development Laboratory School or Upstate Medical
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
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
Rothchild Early Childhood Center , and The Growing Place are
all popular centers, although they also have limited space for
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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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
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
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
Balance (CLB) Initiative in 2011 which might help pave the
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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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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
and Dangler 2009).
Research released in April
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.