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Webinar features dialogue between women in academia

Centuries ago, the world of academia was occupied predominantly by men. Today, universities employ both male and female professors, but this shift was not a seamless one. University of Houston-Clear Lake’s College of Education will explore this shift with a special Zoom webinar, in celebration of Women’s History Month, on Tuesday, March 30, from 3-4:30 p.m.

Entitled “The Women: View from the Ivory Tower,” this webinar will feature female higher education professionals, including UH-Clear Lake Dean Jean Pedro and Instructional Design Professor Caroline Crawford, both from the College of Education, with greetings from UHCL President Ira K. Blake. They intend to bring forward an honest, open conversation about life in academia by sharing their experiences and perceptions throughout their journeys to leadership.

“Women’ History Month reminds us that though significant progress has been made to advance women in higher education, the challenge continues,” said Jennifer Young Wallace, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Jackson State University and moderator of the discussion. “This webinar provides an opportunity for attendees to hear about the challenges that educational leaders have faced and overcome.”

One topic of discussion will be the fallacies regarding women in academia. “There are misconceptions of women’s roles in academia because of the past and the traditional male leadership hierarchy,” Pedro said. “There may be misconceptions regarding the ways in which women maintain their work life balance and how they engage in their work.”

The presentation will also address the trials of navigating through a profession in the ever-changing world of higher education. “Higher education can be an exciting environment,” Crawford said. “On the other hand, academia can also be uncomfortable and a sometimes-lonely space, as professionals find their way in environments that may be viewed as silos and individualized efforts. Recognizing the strengths of females within what has been traditionally viewed as a male-dominated realm is important, not only as opportunities to share the stories of impressive and professionally successful female colleagues, but also towards representing females who reflect quality females in positions of influence, vision, and service within the academic community.”

Women want to see other women in positions of influence, she said. They have played and continue to play an important role in higher education. Therefore, it is equally important to highlight them for their achievements and give them a space to share their stories.

“The depth and breadth of quality females associated with this webinar is reflective of the astounding brilliance, motivation and grit, talents, and abilities of females who have focused their professional careers upon service to the higher education community,” Crawford said. “I am excited to listen to the stories that will be shared, as well as discussions around the question, ‘What surprised you the most?’”

This webinar is free of charge and open to the public. Register today, and contact Janice Newsum, assistant professor of School Library and Information Science at newsum@uhcl.edu to learn more.