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

Environmental Career Strategies for Women Spring 2013 (FOR 496-10 & 797-2)

Class meets Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30, 324 Bray Hall

IF THERE IS A GUEST SPEAKER, class will meet from 4-5 pm (room TBA)



Speaker coordinator

Diane Kuehn

310A Bray Hall


Heather Engelman

B9 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" 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; the speaker may also have specific requests);

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% of the grade 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.


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

January 15: Introductions, expectations, and speaker preparations

January 22: Discussion: Feminism; demonstration of facilitation skills. Diane Kuehn to facilitate.

Gilley, J. 2005. Writings of the Third Wave: Young feminists in conversation. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 44(3): 187-198. Read pages 187-191.

Fort, D.C. 1997. Feminism's lessons for women in science. Journal of College Science Teaching, 27(1): 53-55.

January 29: Discussion: Mentoring and Campus Climate

n National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 1997. What is a Mentor. In: Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend: On being a mentor to students in science and engineering. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

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

n Williams, J., T. Alon, and S. Bornstein. 2006. Beyond the "chilly climate:" Eliminating bias against women and fathers in academe. NEA Higher Education Journal: Thought and Action (22): 79-96.

February 5: Discussion: Women's Voices and/or learning styles

n Girl Scout Research Institute. 2012. Generation STEM: What girls say about science, technology, engineering and math.

n Hyde, J. S., and M. C. Linn. 2006. Gender similarities in mathematics and science. Science, 314: 599-600.

n Rosser, S.V. 1990. Women's Ways of Knowing. In Female Friendly Science. Pergamon Press.

February 12: Discussion: Negotiating employment contracts; Rosanne Ecker, SU Career Services

Kolb, D. M. 2008. Asking pays off: Negotiate what you need to succeed. The Woman Advocate, 13 (4): 1-2.

Kolb, D., and K. McGinn. 2008. Beyond Gender and negotiation to gendered negotiations. Working Parper of the Harvard Business School.

Babcokc, L., and S. Laschever. 2009. Women don't ask: negotiation and gender divide. Accessed online January 14, 2010 at

Negotiating job offers. 2007. Florida State University Career Center. pp 1-4.

n Dietz, B.C. Employment contracts: Everyone needs promise protection. Online at:

February 19: No class (guest speaker on Thursday, Feb. 21 instead)

Thursday, February 21: Guest speaker: Dr. Patricia Wright, Professor, Department of Anthropology; Founder and Executive Director, Centre ValBio; Founder and Executive Director, Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments; Stony Brook University.

February 26: Discussion: Improving your interview skills; Guest presenter: John Turbeville, ESF Student Life

Keever, S. 2008. Behavioral-based interviewing. Journal: 31-36.

Careers and Workplace. 2001. Illegal interview questions. Pp 1-2.

March 5: Discussion: Career patterns and productivity differences between women and men

n Sonnert, G., and G. Holten. 1996. Career patterns of women and men in the sciences. Am. Scientist 84:63-71.

n Kimmel, M. 1993. What do men want? Harvard Business Review: 4-12.

n Hewlett, S. A., and C. B. Luce. 2005. Off-ramps and on-ramps: Keeping talented women on the road to success. Harvard Business Review: 1-9

n Creamer, E.G. 1998. Equity and equality in measuring faculty productivity. Women in Higher Ed., Sept. issue: 7-8.

March 12: Spring Break no class

March 19: Discussion: Balancing work and family

n 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, (

n Heweltt, S.A. 2002. Executive women and the myths of having it all. HBR OnPoint. Product number 9616: 5-11.

n Romano, C. 2001. Get a life and a career. What a concept! The Chronicle of Higher Education ( March, 23 issue, B12.

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

n 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 26: Discussion: Whistle-blowing and harassment issues; Guest presenter: Marcia Barber, Director of Human Resources, SUNY ESF

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

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

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

April 2: Discussion: Stress in the workplace

Narayanan, L., Menon, S., and Spector, P. 1999. Stress in the workplace: A comparison of gender and occupations. Journal of Organizational Behaviors, 20: 63-73.

April 9: International, cultural, and minority perspectives on women in science.

Panel to be selected by student facilitator

April 16: Discussion topic to be determined by class vote. Winner: Work and Family Conflicts

April 23: Guest Speaker: Jackie Carrera, Parks and People Foundation, "Revitalizing Baltimore: Urban Forests and Ecosystems, Gateway Center B.

April 30: Discussion: Personal and Professional Strategies (Course Wrap-Up)

Please be prepared to recap our discussions this semester and discuss what topics that should be added to the 2011 syllabus.