Left to right: Jacquelyn Jancius, Sara Rusch, and Connie Ping
at the CCSW’s 2011 Woman of the Year reception.
Changing Lives One Volunteer at a Time
By Jennifer Costanzo
THE CHANCELLOR’S Committee on the Status of Women (CCSW) is known around UIC’s campus as the organization that “promotes the professional, educational, and career development of women faculty, staff, and students.” Not only does the CCSW advocate for the increased opportunities in professional growth both academic and non-academic, but it also promotes “life-friendly policies and a positive environment where women may thrive in all areas of research, education, teaching, administration, and service.”
SERVING AS Co-Chairs are Jacquelyn Jancius and Connie Ping, who work to bring motivation and leadership to the group. “The best leaders are those who inspire others and give others the opportunity to do something that contributes to the mission of the group,” Jancius said. As co-chair, Jancius defines her role as “the person that puts all the pieces together and aligns the activities of the committee and the subcommittees with the mission of the CCSW.”
SPECIFICALLY, THE subcommittees of the CCSW are Communications, Faculty Concerns, Minority Women Concerns, Staff Concerns, and Students. Each subcommittee “focuses on addressing issues, reviewing policies, providing opportunities, and promoting the development of all UIC women.” Once they have completed these tasks, recommendations are made to the Chancellor regarding findings.
THESE FIVE subcommittees divide and conquer their goals through divisions of co-chairs that focus their efforts in a multitude of ways:
Communications: Mamie Gray and Kathy Battee-Freeman are responsible for publishing a monthly newsletter six times throughout the year, as well as providing announcements, calendar items, and maintaining the CCSW web page.
Faculty Concerns: Judith Gardner and faculty serving on the subcommittee review the policies on faculty promotion and tenure, attempt to increase participation of women in all levels of the University, and address faculty and salary equity to ensure equal rights for the women of UIC.
Minority Women Concerns: Tyra Oliver and Myra Gaines, along with the women who serve on the subcommittee, address issues pertaining to women of color, and help to create a climate of unity at UIC that will help these women set goals, as well as work to change policies that do not include women of color in important decisions. Also, they implement the mentoring program for support staff.
Staff Concerns: Sarah Dombrowski and Brittany Laschober, along with the University staff who serve on the subcommittee, consider issues that pertain to Academic Professionals and Civil Service staff at UIC with the goal of increasing career advancement for and discussion of women.
Student Concerns: Graduate Assistant Shayna Weiner addresses issues of student concern, looks for new members to define goals for the CCSW, and provides ideas for activities for the upcoming academic year.
FOR ANY organization, community relations can define the success of upcoming ventures. Last year, Yesim Anter and Kris Zimmerman took on the roles of Community Relations Officers, and met with co-chairs of the subcommittees to create “needs assessment analyses.” They also were responsible for the CCSW Open House that took place in January. Through dedication, Anter and Zimmerman have “increased membership, presence in the community, and recruitment of future leadership,” Jancius said. In addition to these contributions, the Communications subcommittee developed unique promotional materials as well as a Facebook page to increase marketing and awareness of the CCSW’s focus and leadership. Some popular events that the CCSW has hosted in the past are the WoRD Book Club, Women’s Heritage Month (organized by the Women’s Leadership and Resource Center, WLRC), and the Women’s Leadership Panel.
THE CCSW’s main accomplishments of the past academic year illustrate the group’s important presence within the UIC community. The annual Woman of the Year (WOY) Selection and Reception “heightens awareness of exceptional women who have significantly helped other women at UIC through and beyond their job performance. The eligible women are nominated campus-wide and selected by a committee of CCSW co-chairs and former award recipients.” Nominations for WOY 2012 are being accepted through Monday, July 2. Nomination forms are available on the CCSW website.
ACTIVITIES SUCH as this are aimed at advocacy for women on campus. “Advocacy can take shape in many forms, whether professional development, networking, addressing social issues or financial issues, we believe that these events promote CCSW’s mission,” Jancius said. She listed events including the Staff Concerns subcommittee’s speaker’s panel on Women in Leadership and Management at the University that has been in place for the last four years, the Minority Women’s Concerns subcommittee’s “Remarkable Women” event that promoted professional development through advice on resume development, and the Faculty Concerns subcommittee’s progress in conducting focus groups for non-tenure track faculty women to identify major concerns.
THE 2011-2012 Academic Year is the first in which the CCSW offered a Professional Development Award, which allocates “funding support for professional development activities of women in the UIC community.” These activities must “promote the CCSW’s mission of professional and career development,” and the applicant “must demonstrate that she has been actively involved in the CCSW or show that her proposed activity furthers the CCSW mission.” Through this award, the CCSW, with the co-sponsorship of the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian Americans, the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Blacks, and the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Latinos, were able “to support the applications of seven women in their pursuit of professional development activities,” said Jancius. “The idea was so popular with the community that other chancellor’s status committees may replicate the professional develop opportunity in the coming years.”
CO-CHAIRS MUST focus on the importance of funding for the organization, but have found low-cost grass-roots efforts in order to work around a limited budget. “Almost all the activities organized by the CCSW are 100% volunteer effort, and we could not be as successful without their commitment to give shape to the ideas that translate into events that educate women and advocate for women on campus,” Jancius said.
ALL CCSW meetings are open to the public, so anyone interested is invited to attend. All employee, student, and faculty groups are welcome to participate and become members of the organization. The main reasons to get involved with CCSW are opportunity, reputation, and professional and personal growth development and leadership. No matter what your specific interest, there is certainly a place for you to help yourself and others through the volunteer work done through CCSW. “CCSW gives you an opportunity to serve the campus community, develop your leadership skills, and will help you build your professional network and reputation,” Jancius concluded.