The Association of Women Faculty (AWF) of the Danforth Campus was established in 1995 both to promote professional and social interactions among women faculty and to advocate for the interests of women faculty at Washington University in St. Louis.
AWF seeks to fulfill these goals by soliciting and sharing information relevant to women faculty. The executive board of AWF maintains regular contact with the university administration and strives to partner with senior leadership on initiatives to improve the climate and the opportunities for women faculty. We work closely with the Academic Women’s Network (AWN) of the Medical School on behalf of all women faculty at Washington University.
All tenure-track and non-tenure-track women faculty at the Washington University Danforth Campus are eligible for membership. AWF conducts its activities largely through its executive board and committees.
AWF sponsors annual university-wide lectures by prominent figures in academia whose work speaks to the interests of women faculty. In recent years, we have hosted “Forging Your Own Path: a Summit on the Advancement of Women Faculty at Washington University,” featuring Deborah Kolb, Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Professor for Women and Leadership at Simmons School of Management and a leading authority on gender issues in negotiation; “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Report and Public Communication of Science,” a talk by biologist Barbara Schaal, the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University; a colloquium on “A Sustainable World, What it Means to Us” featuring Dr. Peter Raven, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden; “Reproducing Gender in Academia: A Discussion About Inequalities” a talk by Ann McGinley, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research and William S. Boyd Professor of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas; and a town hall meeting on diversity at Washington University, featuring keynote speaker Professor Patricia Jones, Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at Stanford University.
AWF hosts dinners and other gatherings to promote information sharing and social interactions among women faculty of all ranks. We have sponsored a Conversation Series to explore various topics of concern to women faculty and to publicize the research projects women faculty are pursuing. Additionally, each academic year, we publish an AWF Newsletter.
To put into practice the organization’s commitment to mentoring women in the academic profession, AWF has also instituted the annual Association of Women Faculty Graduate Student Award to recognize three women graduate students — one in Arts and Sciences, one in the professional schools and one in University College — for exceptional scholarly accomplishment and leadership potential.
AWF has achieved a number of successes since its establishment. The membership has grown to include nearly half of the women faculty on the Danforth Campus. AWF has been successful in working with AWN to persuade the university administration to support updating and distributing the Family Resources Handbook, which AWN first developed a number of years ago to help families find support, institutions, and activities in the St. Louis area. AWF helped to facilitate the establishment of a social networking website for Washington University parents. In addition, AWF convinced the Senate Council to establish a committee to develop a more consistent and flexible family leave policy for the whole Danforth Campus. We persuaded the university to establish a committee of the Faculty Senate to examine closely child and elder care issues. We met repeatedly with the senior leadership to discuss and to help shape new initiatives to increase the recruitment and retention of women faculty on our campus, as well as to improve the cultural climate for women faculty. AWF advocacy was also indispensable to the drafting and passing of a new policy for full-time non-tenure track faculty in Arts & Sciences. We vigorously campaigned for a childcare facility to meet the needs of Danforth Campus faculty. This new facility opened its doors in the summer of 2010.