The Gender Equity Council, with support from the offices of the Chancellor and the Provost, is pleased to request proposals for grant funding (typically between $5,000 and $8,000, not to exceed $10,000) to initiate action-oriented interactive or multi-media displays to spotlight contributions of women at the University of Illinois. Our goal is to increase student, faculty, staff, and visitor awareness of gender equity issues and of women's contributions to various academic disciplines, especially those in which they are traditionally underrepresented. Below are overviews of the project proposals that have been awarded funding by the GEC.
Inclusive Illinois Celebrates Women Project
Submitted by: Menah Pratt-Clarke
The Inclusive Illinois Celebrates Women Project is a comprehensive project with the objective of documenting the achievements of female faculty and staff at Illinois. This project is an interdisciplinary partnership between the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, faculty and staff in the Department of Theatre, and students from the College of Media. The project will involve creating an interactive Web-based portal on the Inclusive Illinois Web site with video, photographs, and narratives of the experiences and achievements of women at Illinois. Inclusive Illinois: one campus, many voices is the University's commitment to diversity and inclusivity. As an education an information initiative, its mission is to promote and foster a diverse and inclusive campus community. The three objectives of Inclusive Illinois are to showcase the ways in which the University demonstrates its commitment; celebrates its achievements; and educates the campus and the community about diversity and inclusivity.
A critical focus of Inclusive Illinois is to respect and value individuals' multiple and intersecting identities, based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity, age, physical ability, and religion, among others. Consistent with the focus of the Provost's Gender Equity Council, the Inclusive Illinois Celebrates Women Project will center on the complexity of women's identities, their experiences at Illinois, and their voices and contribution. This project will capitalize on a current Inclusive Illinois Web redesign initiative and will be prominently featured on the updated site.
Campaign: Business Women: Increasing Awareness for the Impact of Illinois Business Woman
Submitted by Mary Kay Dailey, Barlow LeVold
A decade of concerned efforts geared toward increasing the numbers of women faculty in the College of Business has shown that it is not an easy process. There is tough competition for too few candidates and the resulting male-dominated collegial environment is often perceived to be unsupportive of women. Despite financial incentives from the college and campus, academic fields like Finance and Tax Accounting have a very difficult time attracting women doctoral students and faculty.
The College of Business is very sensitive to the need for better representation of women faculty and their achievements for the benefit of students, alumni, faculty, and potential faculty hires. Funding by the Provost's Gender Equity Council is sought to enable us to promote our women faculty and to create a regular mechanism for their representation. The materials we seek to create would be displayed on the substantial infrastructure of digital screens currently used to disseminate information to our alumni, students, faculty, and friends as well as printed signs and our website.
Digital Dialogues: Gender Equity on the University of Illinois Campus
Submitted by Bonnie Fortune, Heather Ault, Leslie J. Reagan
Using informatics technology, new media artists Bonnie Fortune and Heather Ault propose to uncover and represent the hidden and forgotten histories of feminist achievement at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the primary goal of maintaining a competitive scholarly learning environment. Partnering with Professor Leslie J Reagan (History) and Sharon Irish (Graduate School of Library and Information Science), we will conduct campus focus groups with administration, faculty, and community members to identify the legacies of our campus history, with an emphasis on departments where women are underrepresented.
Combining research, interviews, and new media design, this interactive digital project allows viewers to experience the accomplishments of women at the University of Illinois. Testimonials will be combined with research from the University of Illinois Archives and other sources to create a series of professional and dynamic digital signage kiosks around campus, an interactive website featuring the digital signs with supplemental audio narratives, and a series of printed postcards. This project interrupts daily announcements with thought-provoking histories about women's accomplishments at the University of Illinois, the departments they've worked for, and the architecture and landscapes they have occupied throughout the decades.
An Untold Story: U of I Female Faculty
Submitted by Synthia Sydnor, Nancy Abelmann
At the University of Illinois and globally, sport/athletics are ubiquitous and central to the lives, imaginations, and consumer behaviors of many people. This proposal envisions creating a material display and interactive website that will illuminate the central historical role (beginning in the 1800s and continuing through the 1980s) that women faculty in the Departments of Physical Training, Physical Education, and Kinesiology at Illinois have played in organizing, defining, and growing organized athletics/ sport and the discipline that today is known as kinesiology. Although these women silently accomplished great things that continue to direct and influence sport/physical culture both on our campus and in the larger world today, they have been little recognized, even in some cases by the very disciplinary societies they helped to found!
Our proposed display/website will be built upon the archival and interview research of undergraduate students on the history of these women in sport in an Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI, www.eui.illinois.edu) affiliated course. The requested funds will be used to support an Art & Design Research Assistant to work on both the interactive website and physical display; and for an EUI hourly graduate assistant who will coordinate research compliance (including Institutional Review Board protocol and intellectual property permissions for filing in the U of I digital repository.) The remarkable and yet little-recognized accomplishments of these University of Illinois female faculty lend themselves to a vivid display and many teachable moments.
Female Graduates of the University of Illinois
Submitted by Therese F. Tierney, Anita Chan, Karrie Karahalios
While many architecturally significant buildings stand as mute monuments to the historical legacy of the University of Illinois, much less is known about the actual persons who studied here, especially those who of necessity faced numerous social and economic challenges pursuing their educational goals. Today, thousands of students traverse the quad, entering and exiting the buildings, and yet they have little actual knowledge of connection with previous generations of students. In response, this proposal seeks to address this lack of continuity and create a public intervention which could bridge this sense of disconnection that students – particularly women and other under-represented group – might experience.
Attending to the design of public spaces thus is not only a means for institutions to highlight the important contributions of its members, past and present, it can also be a means for connecting and building relations with such former present generations of campus community members. A large untapped source of inspiration remains invisible because we do not yet have the means to make that connection more apparent. Therefore, this proposal seeks to enliven and embolden that past, by redressing a lack of visual presence through an interactive media installation documenting the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign's longstanding tradition in the education of minorities. It also seeks to help reconnect female and minority alumni with the University's current body of students as a means of strengthening relations between generations of the University of Illinois' prominent alumni – and promising future graduates.