Two women who head high-profile departments at Case Western Reserve University will spend about a month networking, problem solving and learning alongside their peers during an intensive summer program for women in higher education.
Beginning June 21, Deborah Bibb, program director for graduate business programs at the Weatherhead School of Management and Colleen Nagy, director of the Program Management Office within the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), will participate in the Higher Education Resource Services' Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration at Bryn Mawr College. Their attendance is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and ITS, respectively.
The residential institute offers women administrators and faculty intensive training in education administration, and one of its goals is to improve the status of women in the middle and executive levels of higher education administration—areas in which women traditionally have been underrepresented. The curriculum is designed to prepare participants to work with issues currently facing higher education, with an emphasis on the globalization of higher education and the growing diversity of the student body and the work force.
Each year approximately 70 women administrators and faculty from the United States, Canada and Africa participate. During the institute, attendees take classes, hear from guest speakers and participate in other activities related to higher education. Once the program officially wraps up July 16, participants will still meet periodically. In addition to maintaining ties to professionals they meet during the institute, previous participants also play a major role in the shaping of future workshops. For instance, 2006 attendee Adrienne Dziak, associate vice president for government and community relations, has been invited to co-present with a Bryn Mawr classmate during this summer's program. Their project will focus on community and government relations.
Before they even set foot on the campus of Bryn Mawr, Bibb and Nagy have been hard at work on proposals and projects in preparation for the summer institute. "We met with President Barbara Snyder, administrators and others who've attended the institute, and we had to summarize what we felt were the next big five issues in higher education. We also studied the university's strategic plan, as well as the mission statement of our department," Nagy said. Her leadership project focused on plans for the Program Management Office, a new department within the ITS division. "Lev [Gonick, chief information officer of ITS] is a huge proponent of women in leadership, and this is a good time in my career to work on this," said Nagy, who has been with the ITS division for over 15 years.
Bibb, who also has been with the university for 15 years, said she is excited about the workshop's possibilities. "I'm interested in leadership roles in higher education. This will be an opportunity to connect, benchmark and collaborate with individuals at other universities to learn more about their challenges and best practices." For her leadership proposal, Bibb proposed a project that will focus on encouraging students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds who've attended undergraduate school outside of the area to consider attending business school at Case Western Reserve. Her project was inspired by her work on the university's Case-Fisk Partnership. "There are a lot of good opportunities to collaborate within the schools and to increase diversity at Case. This could be a bridge program to showcase the Weatherhead School of Management and to develop a pipeline here. Hopefully, we can adopt it across campus."
During the institute, Bibb and Nagy will share their proposals with other attendees and receive feedback from their peers, allowing for vetting and fine tuning before presenting them to the Case Western Reserve community. "That gives us a chance to have an immediate impact here at the university," Bibb said.
In order to be accepted into the summer institute, Nagy and Bibb had to submit their resumes, a letter detailing why they wanted to attend and how it would help their respective departments, and a letter of support from their dean or department chair. Since 2004, Case Western Reserve has sponsored seven women to attend the summer institute. "The Office of the Provost is committed to this initiative. It has been described by the women who have attended as a transformative experience," said Associate Provost Kathryn Karipides.
Bibb and Nagy have heard the same description from previous attendees. Nagy said when past attendees have discussed the program with her they usually have a smile on their faces. Bibb said that "the one thing they say is that it's a program that really changes you." Because of the glowing reviews, Bibb looks forward to seeing how the institute will impact her on both a personal and professional level. "I wasn't thinking about this type of career when I pursued my undergraduate degree. This program gives you a road map to those types of careers. Going to something like this allows you to explore different opportunities and to learn from others. It will impact how we contribute to higher education as a whole."
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.