Update on Gender Equity Commitments
September 14, 2023
I write to share an important update on our efforts around gender equity.
Five years ago, we began a process to review and enhance our framework for supporting gender equity at Georgetown, an effort in which members of our faculty have been deeply engaged. In 2018, our Task Force on Gender Equity reviewed many of Georgetown’s policies and procedures related to faculty, benchmarked best practices across higher education, engaged in conversation about campus culture, and held sessions to hear reflections and insights from faculty about their experiences. The Task Force organized their findings and a set of recommendations into a report that I shared with our community in May 2021 (new window).
In January 2022, we formed a standing Gender Equity Committee, co-chaired by Soyica Colbert (C’01), Ph.D., Vice President for Interdisciplinary Initiatives, Idol Family Professor, and Professor of African American Studies and Performing Arts, and Naomi Mezey, J.D., Agnes Williams Sesquicentennial Professor of Law and Culture, to advance the report’s recommendations. Faculty from the Main, Medical, and Law campuses serve on this Committee (new window) which works in partnership with Rosemary Kilkenny (L’87), J.D., Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Chief Diversity Officer. The Committee has prepared a report (new window), documenting the University’s progress, highlighting gender equity priorities and actions within each of our schools, and recommending steps to advance our collective work in this next phase.
Based on the Committee’s recommendations, the University will:
- Fund a new position for a faculty leader to help guide our ongoing work. This faculty member will devote a portion of their time to gender equity efforts within the office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and will chair the Gender Equity Committee;
- Implement the Committee’s recommendations regarding data collection and integrity, through our Office of Assessment and Decision Support (OADS), and support the development of new policies and procedures that ensure faculty information is appropriately and regularly updated within GMS;
- Support academic engagement in gender studies and enhance opportunities for collaboration, training, and convenings. On the Main Campus, the College of Arts & Sciences will consider the possibility of making Women’s and Gender Studies an academic department.
In addition, over this period, we have taken steps to better understand our staff culture, a vital dimension of our ongoing efforts to support belonging and inclusion across our community. Soon, we will be sharing the results of our first cultural climate survey for faculty and staff, conducted last fall, which will provide us with important data about the experiences of our faculty and staff colleagues.
These are important steps in our ongoing work to create an ever richer and stronger University, where each member of our community can thrive. I wish to offer my most sincere appreciation to our Committee for their efforts to ensure we are advancing gender equity and strengthening our entire community.
John J. DeGioia