On the invitation of Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, the Women’s Leadership Council came into being in June 2008. The twelve women faculty representing the divisions and schools who serve on the Council advise in the implementation of the University’s commitment to become the institution of choice for outstanding women scholars in all fields of study. The Council’s charge is to identify impediments to the recruitment and retention of the most highly qualified female academics and to promote policies and practices that will help the University make a sustained effort to address and overcome them.
A Statement from the Council
The heart of this University, and its identity, has always been its faculty, productive research scholars and teachers who stand at the top of their respective fields and together create a vital and rigorous climate of intellectual engagement and exchange on campus. While many eminent women scholars have made and are now making their careers at Chicago, it is the case that Chicago is no better than middle of the pack compared to peer institutions in numbers of women faculty at all ranks. This compromises our excellence as a university. It limits the range of viewpoints in contestation in every field of inquiry, affects students’ perceptions of the disciplines and their future prospects in them, and weakens our engagement with the changing social realities of Chicago’s urban environment and the global community.
Council members believe that the University of Chicago must aspire to be at the forefront in identifying outstanding women intellectuals, especially in formative stages of their careers, and in supporting their original and groundbreaking research. Our longstanding tradition of investing in younger scholars of superior potential and fostering their scholarly development, and our history of tenuring from within, can and should make us very competitive to women scholars in the early stages of their careers. Likewise, our international reputation for uncompromisingly serious intellectual conversation and resources should be a compelling draw for senior scholars. The current underrepresentation of women can change significantly within even a decade with directed attention and a University-wide recognition of the importance of this step for the life of the institution in a changing world and society, for the advancement of ideas and academic excellence, and for our place as a leader in higher education.
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Women's Leadership Council