UW-W recognizes women in leadership


Ky McCombe

The Women’s Committee co-chair Anna Lindell stands outside Andersen Library Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Carina Lopez Quintero, News Editor

Women’s History Month will be celebrated by the Women’s Issues Committee in its 16th Annual Women in Leadership Recognition and will honor 12 outstanding women on campus. 

The virtual ceremony will highlight the achievements of the nominated honorees. It will also feature guest speaker Dr. Pilar Melero, who will be reading a short story addressing gender issues. 

“An overarching theme that I’ve noticed is that a lot of the students that we recognized this year have done a lot of work towards promoting diversity, inclusion types of issues,” said co-chair and assistant professor of psychology Anna Lindell.

The faculty and staff being recognized also emphasized an interest in diversity, focusing on a curriculum that is more representative. They were also involved in conversations surrounding anti-racism and honoring people of different demographics, Lindell said.

These are women who the committee has recognized as demonstrating great skills and leadership on campus, off campus and in the communities.

“This year in particular it is a really important ceremony to hold because the pandemic has really resulted in a lot of stress and extra work for everybody,” said co-chair and assistant professor of womens and gender studies Andrea Romero. “It’s important to celebrate women that have really gone above and beyond.” 

The committee also does year round work to help the women on campus. 

“It really focuses on policies that make work, school, a variety of the university levels all equitable for women,” said Romero. 

The committee was a part of a caregiver task force this past summer made up of faculty and staff across the UW-System.

“It was a response to the pandemic and all of the caregiving responsibilities and challenges that we started noticing that have really started to impact faculty, staff and students as a result of the pandemic,” said Lindell. 

As most things began to shift virtually, the task force recognized that women disproportionately take on caregiving roles and are being challenged with the workload. These responsibilities include taking care of older family members, childcare, house work, etc.

“At Whitewater we’ve heard pretty good things about supervisors being flexible and understanding,” said Lindell.

However, across campuses there is not a clear view of what flexibility looks like. When it comes time for employee and faculty performance reviews, it is questioned how caretaking responsibilities are taken into account, Lindell said. 

It began as an analysis of the university’s response to this issue. It led to a development of policy recommendations.

The task force is administering a survey to faculty and staff to better understand how caregiving has been impacted and if it has affected genders differently.

Recently the committee has also put in a second lactation pod on the fourth floor of Laurentide Hall. It is available to all faculty, staff and students that have to pump breast milk or nurse their babies. The second location is in Hyland Hall.

The 16th Annual Women’s Leadership Recognition Ceremony will take place Mar. 11 at 4 p.m. online via WebEx.

The honorees will be as follows:

Beth Bonuso, Assistant Softball Coach, Intercollegiate Athletics and Instructor, Kinesiology

Keri Carollo, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Assistant Athletic Director, and Senior Woman Administrator, Intercollegiate Athletics

Jenna Cushing-Leubner, Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Instruction

Katherine Drechsler, Assistant Professor, Social Work

Kerryn Foley, Second Year Graduate Student, Communication Sciences and Disorders

Tracy Hawkins, Chair, Faculty Senate, andAssociate Professor, Philosophy & Religious Studies

Jamila Lee-Johnson, Inclusive Excellence Fellow, College of Education and Professional Studies

Jessica Smith, Director, Center for Inclusive Transition, Education, & Employment

Sheila Turek, Associate Professor, Languages and Literatures

Katie Vogt, Senior Undergraduate, History Education BSE and Political Sciences minor

Rimi Zakaria, Associate Professor, Management

For more information on the Women’s Issues Committee and event visit https://www.uww.edu/cls/faculty-staff/wic.