BGSU celebrates new and newly promoted women and non-binary faculty
Annual recognition ceremony moves to virtual celebration in midst of pandemic
By Julie Carle
Bowling Green State University has a message for newly hired and promoted women and non-binary faculty members: You are welcome, supported and celebrated here.
Each year the University recognizes these individuals as part of a comprehensive strategy “to further enhance the culture to support diversity and belonging at BGSU, from our hiring practices to our recruitment and retention initiatives,” said Jennifer McCary, chief diversity and belonging officer.
“Our hope is that you will have long, successful and satisfying careers at BGSU,” said Kacee Ferrell Snyder, director of the BGSU Center for Women and Gender Equity, one of the sponsors for the annual celebration.
The celebration, which was held virtually this year because of the pandemic, recognized their important contributions including excellence in research, teaching, and service as educators, mentors and scholars.
“Because of the disparities within higher education, it is crucial to recognize success as we try to move toward gender equity within the faculty rank. Many of your are familiar with the pyramid problem that there are far fewer women than men at the top of the academic hierarchy and who are paid less, and more women at the bottom in adjunct and part-time positions,” Ferrell Snyder said.
She pointed out that at BGSU and other colleges and universities across the country, women make up over half of the student population, and they receive slightly more than 50 percent of the doctoral degrees awarded at American universities.
“The problem is that nationally women make up only 32 percent of full professors and 30 percent of college presidents. Additionally, only 5 percent of college presidents are women of color,” Ferrell Snyder said.
There is also difficulty in getting an accurate count of non-binary faculty. “We need to reach out and connect with non-binary faculty to track and support them in their time at BGSU,” Ferrell Snyder said. “The fact that these disparities exist make it even more important to celebrate these individuals.”
Dr. Sarah Rainey-Smithback, interim director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at BGSU, which also hosts the annual event, congratulated the honorees for “staying strong and for all of your achievements as you combat those daily biases around gender and sexuality.
“We know that gender and sexuality bias is a very real thing,” Rainey-Smithback said. “In the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program, we pay special attention to how gender and sexuality intersect with disability, age, race, ethnicity and other factors. We have the special distinction of having the first program to be approved in the state of Ohio and we celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2018.”
Rainey-Smithback also welcomed the new faculty and invited them to consider becoming affiliated with the program if their research examines sexuality and gender issues in any way.
“It is so important that faculty can see themselves being successful and represented within BGSU,” said McCary. “The Diversity and Belonging team want to be a part of your experience at BGSU, and we hope you can help us to recruit others to join our community and retain faculty by building meaningful relationships so that we can continue to work toward becoming the institution we wish to be. One where all belong.”
Spaces such as the Center for Women and Gender Equity and programs such as Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies contribute to the mentoring, achievement and support of women and non-binary faculty, staff students and community members, Ferrell Snyder said. “BGSU can and must continue this excellence and fight for gender equity through the work of these organizations and programs.”
Read more and watch the videos that celebrate the new faculty and newly promoted faculty.