Workshops set for supportive male faculty

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is planning interactive workshops for male faculty who want to be more supportive of female academic colleagues, particularly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas.

Three 2-hour Male Allies and Advocates workshops are set for Sept. 27 and 28 on campus. All male faculty members are invited to attend one of the workshops, which will look at ways to improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of women.

The interactive workshops will be based on a model developed at North Dakota State University designed to improve gender equity through the direct and proactive engagement of male faculty. The goal is to encourage a positive climate for all female faculty. North Dakota State’s program is supported by the National Science Foundation.

“Our guiding values are foundational to everything we do at UWM,” said Chancellor Mark Mone. “Being a caring, compassionate and collegial community characterized by mutual respect and safety is a beacon for these workshops. They are an important part of enlisting male faculty members to encourage and support change within their departments and schools.”

Nadya Fouad, UWM’s senior advisor for conflict resolution and distinguished professor of educational psychology, is coordinating the workshops. She has written extensively about barriers to women in the STEM fields, particularly engineering.

A number of UWM male allies are supporting the workshops – John Reisel, professor of mechanical engineering; Jacques du Plessis, associate professor of information studies, Ethan Munson, professor of computer science, and Kristian O’Connor, professor of kinesiology. They will be helping lead the effort to develop other allies on the UWM campus and encouraging male faculty to attend. Mone, provost Johannes Britz and all the male deans are committed to attending the workshops.

The workshops encourage and teach men to serve as effective allies for gender equity in all departments. They will provide an overview of UWM’s campus climate, explain how and why gender inequity occurs and provide an introduction to actions and practical skills that promote gender equity. The workshops are structured as interactive conversations, with opportunities to ask questions and practice skills through scenario-based exercises.

Presenters are Roger Green, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Dakota State University, and Robert Gordon, senior lecturer in psychology and director of the undergraduate program at Auburn University.

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