ESF Women's Caucus
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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Spring 2004 (FOR 496-10 & 797-2)

Class meets Tuesdays, 4:00 5:00, 213 Marshall Hall unless there is a speaker

Updated 1/13/04


Speaker coordinator

Diane Kuehn

Heather Engelman

205 Marshall

218 Marshall



Course Overview:

Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions is a 1-credit, college-wide seminar geared towards a diversity of students from various departments at ESF. The main goal of the course is to provide an open forum for female and male faculty and students to interact and discuss gender issues pertaining to academia and other professional arenas. The course consists of one hour of lecture or discussion per week, with opportunities to interact with female professionals outside of class. Updates to this syllabus can be found at: .

Course Objectives:

After completing this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Articulate the issues and obstacles facing female professionals.
  2. Discuss career strategies for professional development.
  3. Formulate insightful questions that elicit discussion.
  4. Demonstrate professional presentation skills
  5. Critically evaluate pertinent literature and presentations.

Course Layout:

The schedule consists of two required types of meetings: discussions of general interest topics facilitated by class members and guest speaker presentations that comprise the ESF "Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions" public lecture series ( In addition, students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities to interact with the visiting presenters through mentoring dinners.

Students' responsibilities:

This course meets the requirements of a graduate seminar. This means that students have the primary responsibility for organizing and leading class discussions on selected topics. In addition, the instructors have recruited prominent female professionals in different fields to speak at ESF. Students are responsible for arranging the schedules of these speakers during their visit to ESF, and helping to make their visits to ESF memorable and productive.

Specifically, students are responsible for the following:

1. Assist in the arrangements for one speaker (25% of your grade). You or a pair of you will develop a schedule for one speaker during her visit. "Instructions for Student Hosts" offers tips and recommended timelines. Specifically, you are responsible for:

a. Arranging meetings with interested students and faculty (generally at ESF, but SU, Upstate, and some local groups might also request an audience);

b. Arranging speaker pick-up and drop-off at the airport if needed;

c. Making arrangements for a post-lecture reception; and

d. Making arrangements for one mentoring dinner with the speaker and class participants.

To assist you, the instructors will take primary responsibility for sending out e-mails to ESF faculty, and arranging overnight accommodations, parking, publicity, reimbursements to the speaker for travel expenses, and reimbursements to students for the reception and any other out-of-pocket expenses associated with these visits. We have also made initial contact with the speakers, their sponsors, and faculty members offering their homes for the mentoring dinners.

2. Write a press release on the speaker's presentation (15%). Following the speaker's visit, the hosting student(s) will (jointly) write a brief press release about the speaker's presentation. Press releases are to be submitted electronically to the instructors by the Tuesday following the speaker's presentation; the instructors will then forward it to the Knothole and sponsors on your behalf. The press release should include the speaker's name and affiliation, the title of the presentation, presentation sponsors, and a summary of the presentation, and conclude with biographical information about the speaker.

3. Facilitate a discussion on one general interest topic (20%). Each student will lead or co-lead a discussion on one general interest topic listed below in the class schedule. The articles that each student is required to read in preparation for class discussions are listed below each topic. These articles have been considered very informative by previous classes, but you may choose additional or different articles for your class facilitation. If articles are not listed for a topic, it is the student's responsibility to invite guest speakers or to choose and distribute articles for the discussion. The student facilitator(s) should prepare questions based on the articles or invited guests' interests that will foster class discussion. You may find Bloom's taxonomy ( useful in developing questions. Discussion questions should be typed for distribution in class. The student should give the instructor the typed questions at least one day prior to class so that photocopies can be made. The instructors encourage you to discuss with them any questions, discussion strategies, etc. prior to your class discussion.

4. Write two brief paragraphs stating the two most important points of your facilitated session (10%). The paragraphs should be no more that two to three sentences each, and should state the two most important discussion points resulting from the class that you facilitate. These should be e-mailed to the instructor by the Tuesday following your facilitated discussion.

5. Weekly class participation (30%). Every student is expected to participate in class discussions on a weekly basis by:

a. Reading the assigned articles and participating in the class discussion (15%).

b. Completing a discussion assessment form at the end of each session (15%). Discussion assessment forms are due to the teacher by the Tuesday following the session. Anonymous copies will be given to the discussion facilitator to help them improve their facilitation skills. The instructors will assess and grade the original assessments and return them for the purpose of improving the constructive commentary of students.

c. Attending the "Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions" Lecture Series that has been scheduled during the normal class meeting time. There will be a 10% deduction in final class grades for each lecture missed, so please do not miss these lectures. You are also invited to join the speaker for an optional mentoring dinner.

Deductions for lateness:

Written assignments and discussion evaluations are due to the instructor by the following class. Deductions of 10 points per day for each day that assignments are late will be made on written assignments that are received after the due date.

Instructor responsibilities:

The instructors will answer any questions the student facilitator(s) have concerning appropriate questions for class discussions and will facilitate interactions between the speaker and sponsors. The instructor will grade discussion assessment forms and written assignments and will provide constructive commentary in a timely manner. The instructors view this syllabus and its development as a work in progress, and we expect to modify it during the semester to better meet the needs of the students and speakers.

Schedule for Spring 2004

Readings are listed in italics below. Students are expected to read the articles prior to class and participate in the class discussion.

January 13: Introductions, expectations, and speaker preparations

January 20: Discussion on career patterns of women with demonstration of facilitation skills. Diane Kuehn to facilitate.

  • Sonnert, G., and G. Holten. 1996. Career patterns of women and men in the sciences. American Scientist 84:63-71.
  • Etzkowitz, H., C. Kemelgor, M. Neuschatz, B. Uzzi, and J. Alonzo. 1994. The paradox of critical mass for women in science. Science 266:51-54.
  • Benditt, J. 1992. Women in science. Science 255:1365-1388.
  • Primack, R. B., and V. O'Leary. 1993. Cumulative disadvantages in the careers of women ecologists. BioScience 43:158-165.

January 27 : Seminar: Dr. Deborah Swackhamer, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota--Twin Cities; Estrogen Mimics and Sex Education for Fishes

February 3: Discussion: Mentoring

  • Gonzalez, C. 2001. Undergraduate research, graduate mentoring, and the University's mission. Science 293: 1624-1626.
  • Kohler, C.C., J.E. Wetzel. 1998 . A report card on mentorship in graduate fisheries education. Fisheries 23(9): 10-13.
  • Murphy, B.R. 1998. Graduate Mentoring: Advancing Students' professional development. Fisheries 23(9):7-9.
  • National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1997. What is a Mentor. Ch. 1 in: Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: on being a mentor to students in science and engineering. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
  • Rowe, Mary. 1977. Go find yourself a mentor. in Bourne, Patricia and Velma Parness, eds., Proceedings of the NSF Conference on Women's Leadership and Authority, University of California, Santa Cruz, California. 4 p.
  • Sandler, B.R. Mentoring: Myths and Realities, Dangers and Responsibilities. pp: 271-279 in: A hand up: Women Mentoring Women in Science.

February 10: Discussion: Women's Voices and/or learning styles

  • American Association of University Women. 1994. Shortchanging girls, shortchanging American: Executive Summary. American Association of University Women.
  • Miller-Bernal, L. 1993. Single-sex versus co-educational environments: a comparison of women students' experiences at four colleges. American Journal of Education. 23-53.
  • Tannen, D. 1991. Men and Women use different approaches in classroom discussion. Chronicle of Higher Education. June 19. 1991, B1.
  • Tannen, D. 1996. The Sex-class linked framing of talk at work. Chapter 6 in Gender and Discourse. Oxford Press.
  • Rosser, S.V. 1990. Women's Ways of Knowing. Chapter 4 in Female Friendly Science. Pergamon Press

February 17: Seminar: Dr. Karla Henderson, Professor and Chair, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Leisure and the (Secret) Lives of Women and Girls

February 24: Discussion: Campus Climate

  • Fellows, M.O., J.J. Kimberlin, and J.F. Palmer. 1995. Summary Findings from the 1995 ESF Working Environment Survey. SUNY ESF, Syracuse, NY. 7 pp.
  • Goldberg, P. 1999. Creeping toward inclusively in science. Annals of the NY Acad. Sci. 869: 7-15.
  • Mason, J. 1991. The invisible-obstacle race. Nature 353:205-206.
  • Phillips-Miller, D. L., K Guilfoyle, D. Ehrenreich, F. Sammarruca, and B. Howard Meldrum. 1999. Exploring campus climate for women. Women in Natural Resources, 20(3): 23-39.
  • Phillips-Miller, D. L., K Guilfoyle, D. Ehrenreich, F. Sammarruca, and B. Howard Meldrum. 1999. Exploring campus climate for women: part II. Women in Natural Resources, 20(3): 23-39.
  • Smallwood, S. 2002. New study at MIT finds that female faculty members still feel marginalized. Chronicle of Higher Education (, March 20 issue.

March 2: Seminar: Diana Bendz, Senior Location Executive, IBM Corporation, Endicott, NY; Environmentally friendly computers: New concepts of design, (re)use, and recycle.

March 9: Spring Break

March 16: Mid-course evaluation

  • Questionnaire
  • Discussion Assessment Form
  • This Syllabus
  • Instructions for Student Hosts
  • Blooms taxonomy

March 23: Discussion: Balancing work and family

  • Excerpts from Equality in the University of Wisconsin System: A Focus for Action in the Year 2000; Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in the University of Wisconsin System; University of Wisconsin System Initiative on the Status of Women; October 25, 1999, (
  • Heweltt, S.A. 2002. Executive women and the myths of having it all. HBR OnPoint. Product number 9616: 5-11.
  • Romano, C. 2001. Get a life and a career. What a concept! The Chronicle of Higher Education ( March, 23 issue, B12.
  • Stafford, S.G. 1996. Finding leadership opportunities in an era of dual-career couples.
  • Wolf-Wendel, L.E.; S.B. Twombly; and S. Rice. Dual-career couples: keeping them together. The Journal of Higher Ed 71(3): 291-321.

March 30: Discussion: Productivity differences in women and men

  • Creamer, E.G. 1998. Equity and equality in measuring faculty productivity. Women in Higher Ed. Sept. issue: 7-8.
  • Fox, M.F. 1999. Gender, knowledge, and scientific styles. Annals of the NY Acad. Sci. 869: 80-93.
  • Holton, G. 1999. Different perceptions of "good science" and their effects on careers.Annals of the NY Acad. Sci. 869: 78-86.
  • Loehle, C. 1987. Why women scientists publish less than men. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 68: 495-496.
  • Sonnert, G. 1995. What makes a good scientist? Determinants of peer evaluation among biologists. Social studies of Science 25:35-55.

April 6: Seminar: Dr. Christine Sloane , Director, FreedomCAR and Technology Strategy, General Motors Inc., Warren, MI, Sustainable Transportation: Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Cars

April 13: Discussion: Whistle-blowing and harassment issues

Facilitator responsible for choosing readings (if any) or inviting guests.

April 20: International and cultural perspectives on women in science: An invited panel

  • No new readings. Panel to be selected by student facilitator.

April 27: Discussion: Personal and Professional Strategies (Course Wrap-Up)

  • Please bring to class the two paragraphs you wrote about the two most important points of your facilitated session (see "Students' responsibilities" above). Be prepared to share them during class.

  • Please be prepared to discuss: what about this class should remain the same (and why); and what should still be altered (and how), including topics that should be added to the 2005 syllabus.