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Senate ad hoc

Committee for the Support and Advancement of Women at Pitt

March 18, 2005 Minutes



  • Those attending were Patty Beeson, Lisa Brush, Madalyn Turner Dickerson, Heidi Feldman, B. Jean Ferketish, Kathryn Flannery, Irene Frieze, Megan Kilpatrick, Randi Koeski, Consuella Lewis, Maggie McDonald, Ellen Olshansky, Josephine Olson, Ann Ostroski, Kelly Otter, Lisa Parker, Maureen Porter, Carol Reichbaum, Esther Sales, Elsa Strotmeyer, Pat Weiss, and Kathie Wisner.†† Each person briefly introduced herself.
  • Josephine Olson was thanked for helping us find a room for the meeting at the last minute.


2.Minutes of the January 7, 2005 meeting are posted on the committee website. Send any corrections to Irene Frieze.



  • See Committee website at for information about our Senate ad hoc Committee.†† Irene Frieze suggested that we might want to post subcommittee reports on the website.
  • Pat Weiss [formerly Friedman] of the Health Sciences Library gave us an update on the National Library of Medicine exhibit on women in medicine to Pitt.It will be coming here first and will be on display from August 31, 2005 through October 14, 2005.Public events will be planned to coordinate with the exhibit and members of our committee will be asked to help with this.Two of the women featured in the exhibit [Katherine Detre and Jeanette South-Paul] are at Pitt.
  • Jean Ferketish reported on some activities she is coordinating relating to women.
    • First is the Hoopla.†† This is an invited group of women administrators and faculty who get together to attend womenís basketball games at the Peterson Events Center.40 women came the first time and 130 the second time. The team appreciates the support of the women and it is a good place to network.
    • Second is the Emerging Leaders leadership development program for undergraduates. Students are interested in the program and more and more women students are becoming involved. The sessions are highly experiential.
    • Several women alumni have been invited to come to Pitt and visit with students and faculty and administrators. This is being coordinated with Patty Beeson.Fifteen women were invited and 7 have agreed to come.
  • Patty Beeson reported that she had been meeting with womenís groups on campus to see what their concerns are and to report on some of the efforts of the Provostís Office in regards to faculty promotions and salary.†† She will also be meeting with staff soon.†† Another initiative is the development of the PACWC website to include reports of PACWC committees and to publish University policies relating to leaves and other family issues.
  • Maggie McDonald announced that the 50th anniversary of the development of the Salk polio vaccine will be celebrated with a public event on April 10 from 5 to 7pm in the Cathedral Commons area.Dr. Mary Bailey, one of the original team of researchers, will be there.
  • Ellen Olshansky announced a conference on April 28 from 8:30 to 4pm in 123 Victoria Hall.


4.Update from the Mentoring Committee.Chairs are Heidi Feldman and Ellen Olshansky.Students in Jean Ferketishís class will be looking at mentoring programs at other institutions and will provide this information to the Committee.The Committee is also looking at mentoring activities that are going on at Pitt.†† Lisa Brush offered her class this fall to assist the Committee.


5.Elsa Strotmeyer reported on a Sigma Xi survey of postdocs at Pitt, looking specifically at gender differences. A summary of her report can be found here.


6.Randi Koeske provided some data on the status of women in academia. The presentation slides are available here.


7.Lisa Parker presented an extensive analysis of consensual relations policies at other institutions.†† Her report is available here. On the basis of her research, she concluded that Pitt does have fairly strong wording about these relations, relative to other schools, and a broad policy, at least for academic relationships. One issue we might do better on is having some specific recommendations on when and to whom one should disclose the existence of an consensual relationship. We might also have additional language about the effects on the environment and on third parties of these relationships.††

  • Given limited time, we could not discuss these recommendations in detail, but a committee will be formed to discuss this further.
  • Irene Frieze suggested that we could make formal recommendations for changes in the policies to Faculty Assembly [and this was how the original policy was developed].But, Patty Beeson pointed out that an open discussion of the policy could lead to a weakening of the policy we have now.††
  • Patty Beeson agreed to look into ways of implementing some of the recommendations without having a formal policy change.She pointed out that reference to the effects of consensual relations on the unit climate have been made in the Provostís memo to unit chairs asking them to discuss the policies with their faculty and staff.
  • Kathie Wisner argued that our present policies are not restrictive enough, and mentioned policies on therapist/patient relationships as a possible model.
  • Ann Ostroski will check with staff to see if they have any concerns relating to consensual relations policies.


8.Plans for future meetings?After some discussion we decided that we should have a meeting of the whole committee in June.†† The subcommittees will be meeting before this, but may not have detailed reports before next fall. We can have updates at the June meeting. Another tabled agenda issue is the long term future of the committee.††



Submitted by Josephine Olson [with the assistance of Irene Frieze]