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

Women & Environmental Careers/Gender Issues in Science Spring 2006 (FOR 496-10 & 797-2)

Class meets Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30, 213 Marshall Hall
IF THERE IS A GUEST SPEAKER, class will meet from 4-5 pm, 140 Baker Laboratory UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED


Speaker coordinator

Diane Kuehn

Heather Engelman

205 Marshall

218 Marshall



Course Overview:

This 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 facilitation skills
  5. Evaluate pertinent literature and discussions.

Course Layout:

This seminar is comprised of two types of class meetings: (1.) discussions of general interest topics facilitated by class members and (2.) guest speaker presentations that comprise the ESF "Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions" public lecture series ( In addition, students are STRONGLY encouraged to attend the mentoring sessions (usually dinner) that are organized with each guest speaker of the lecture series.

Students' responsibilities:

1. Assist in the arrangements for speakers (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 a mentoring dinner with the speaker and class participants.

To assist you, the speaker coordinator (Heather Engelman) will take primary responsibility for sending out e-mails to ESF faculty and will arrange overnight accommodations, parking, publicity, and reimbursements to the speaker for travel expenses. She will also arrange the date and location of each mentoring dinner. She has made initial contact with the speakers, their sponsors here at ESF, and faculty members offering their homes for the mentoring dinners, and will provide you with this correspondence.

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, and a summary of the presentation, and conclude with presentation sponsors and 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. 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 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 by noon on the day of the class so that photocopies can be made. You are encouraged to talk with the instructor about your facilitation prior to it.

4. Write two brief paragraphs stating the two most important points of your facilitated session (10%). These 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 instructor 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. You are also encouraged to join all of the speakers for the mentoring dinners.

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 2006

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

January 17: Introductions, expectations, and speaker preparations

January 24: 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. Am. Scientist 84:63-71.

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. BioSci. 43:158-165.

January 31: Discussion: Mentoring

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.

Sandler, B.R. Mentoring: Myths and Realities, Dangers and Responsibilities. pp: 271-279 in: A hand up: Women Mentoring Women in Science.

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.

February 7: GUEST SPEAKER: Joanne Westphal

February 14: GUEST SPEAKER: Lorna Gibson

February 21: Discussion: Women's Voices and/or learning styles

American Association of University Women. 1994. Shortchanging girls, shortchanging America: 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.

Rosser, S.V. 1990. Women's Ways of Knowing. Chapter 4 in Female Friendly Science. Pergamon Press.

February 28: 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.

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

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

March 7: 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.

"How colleges can help faculty members with children," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 5, 2003, vol. 50 (15): 7.

Stafford, S.G. 1996. Finding leadership opportunities in an era of dual-career couples. BioScience 46: 52-4.

Wolf-Wendel, L.E.; S.B. Twombly; and S. Rice. excerpts from Dual-career couples: keeping them together. The Journal of Higher Ed 71(3): pp. 1-2 and 14-16.

March 14: Spring Break

March 21: Mid-course evaluation

Review of assessment form, syllabus, instructions for student hosts.

March 28: GUEST SPEAKER: Nancy Grulke

April 4: Please attend Farnsworth Lecture on Friday in lieu of class today.

April 7: GUEST SPEAKER/FARNSWORTH LECTURE: Sally Fairfax (NOTE: SCHEDULED at 3:00 pm; 1st half hour will likely be awards followed by speaker and questions.)

April 11: 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.

Holton, G. 1999. Different perceptions of "good science" and their effects on careers. Annals 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. Soc. Studies of Science 25:35-55.

April 18: Discussion: Whistle-blowing and harassment issues

Sexual harassment in the federal workplace: Trends, progress, continuing challenges; US Merit Systems Protection Board

Sexual harassment: Suggested policy and procedures for handling complaints; Am. Assoc. of University Professors.

Gunsalus, C. K., 1998, How to blow the whistle and still have a career afterwards, Sci. and Eng. Ethics, vol. 4: 51-64.

April 25: International and cultural perspectives on women in science: An invited panel

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

May 2: Discussion: Personal and Professional Strategies (Course Wrap-Up)

Please be prepared to discuss: what about this class should remain the same (and why), and what should still be altered (and how). What topics that should be added to the 2006 syllabus?