Spring Faculty Fellows Promote Women Excellence

Melanie Sberna Hinojosa (left), Pamela Wisniewski (center) and Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster (right) were selected as spring 2017 faculty fellows for the Center for Success of Women Faculty.

A group of University of Central Florida faculty members were selected as faculty fellows of the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty for spring 2017.

College of Sciences faculty Melanie Sberna Hinojosa, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, and Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, along with College of Engineering and Computer Science faculty member Pamela Wisniewski, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, will be promoting the ideals of the center throughout their fellowship.

The CSWF promotes the success of all women faculty at UCF. It achieves this through active mentoring, sponsored events, advocacy, and providing resources to assist faculty in balancing work and life. The UCF women faculty will be a part of this effort to encourage excellence among their female colleagues by organizing workshops filled with beneficial information.

Reyes-Foster and Wisniewski plan to host two events for the center. One of which will be a workshop on Feb. 3 that will focus on navigating the tenure track while raising young children.

The proposed workshop will feature a panel of women who have successfully achieved tenure at UCF while raising young children. Panel members will share the challenges they faced while working toward tenure and the strategies they employed to cope with the challenges. They will also give recommendations on how UCF faculty can better support women faculty who are both mothers and on the tenure-track.

A pot-luck luncheon for tenure-track assistant professors who are mothers to young children has also been proposed to be held in April. The goal of this luncheon is to build a support group of peers and build new connections.

During the UCF Summer Faculty Development Conference, held in May, Reyes-Foster and Wisniewski will be presenting the results of the panel, luncheon and survey.

Through these events, Reyes-Fosters and Wisniewski hope to “help UCF faculty, who are at this unique intersection of motherhood and tenure-track careers, find the resources and support to achieve a healthy balance between life and career.”

Additionally, Hinojosa’s workshops will focus on civic engagement and will include developing a webpage of resources to improve civic engagement skills.

According to Hinojosa, “civic engagement is the degree to which an individual participates in community and social settings. Women faculty have a uniquely powerful position that can be used to advance and move forward issues related to women’s rights.”

The goal of the workshop is to expose women faculty to various opportunities for mentorship and civic engagement. After partaking in the workshop, faculty will gain knowledge on mentoring strategies centered on improving opportunities for women and other disenfranchised groups.

Faculty will also have opportunities to research gender equity within different fields of academic study, engage in community groups and organizations that advance the rights for women at the local, state, and national level, and engage students from their discipline through research, activism or the development of student groups. Participants will also develop material for the CSWF website about civic engagement relating to women’s rights and social justice for women faculty and their students.

Hinojosa looks forward to relaying information on which issues of women’s rights have the greatest importance to each agency, providing current opportunities for women faculty to get involved in each group, and opportunities for students to get involved with faculty mentors.

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