The University Record, March 12, 2001

CEW’s ‘Bridging Gender Divides’ focuses on women’s access to higher education

By Nancy L. Kuharevicz

The Center for the Education of Women (CEW) will explore women’s access to higher education and to leadership opportunities within the academy in a March 26 conference titled “Bridging Gender Divides: Educational Access, Leadership and Technology.”

The event, to be held 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at the Michigan League, will bring together leading researchers, educators and women’s advocates. Panel sessions will address the current legal and political landscape; women’s role in transforming institutions and the leadership challenges they face in those institutions; trends in admissions, financial aid and welfare policies and their effects on educational access; and the impact of technology on women in education.

“It is vital we continue to consider the questions of equity in education, the significance of gender in attaining degrees and the long-term economic impact of higher education on both individuals and the nation at large,” says Carol Hollenshead, CEW director.

Dolores Cross, who became the first female president of Morris Brown College in 1999, will deliver the conference’s keynote address, “Women’s Leadership Challenges and Transitions.” A nationally acclaimed educator, she will speak on the unique perspective that women bring to higher education, leadership for social change and increasing access to higher education.

Provost Nancy Cantor and Bernice Sandler, senior scholar at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C., will give opening remarks on the theme “Bridging Gender Divides.”

Leading a panel discussion on “The Legitimacy of Gender in Higher Education: The Legal and Political Landscape” will be Kathy Rodgers, president of the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Sylvia Hurtado, director of the U-M’s Center for Higher and Post Secondary Education. The pair will examine questions of equity in education.

Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and Jacqueline E. King, director of federal policy analysis for the American Council on Education, will address a panel session on “Higher Education: Passport to Success for Women.” The two will consider the significance of gender in attaining degrees, the economic importance of higher education and policies that encourage or inhibit women’s participation in higher education.

Speaking on the panel “Behind the Screens: Women and Technology” will be Jane Fountain, associate professor of public policy at Harvard Uni-versity’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Nichole Pinkard, associate professor of education at the U-M. The session will address how women can become full partners in the technological world.

A pre-conference session, “Gender Cultures in Our Schools: A K–12 Perspective,” will be held 2–4 p.m. March 25 at the CEW. Participating in this free, public panel session will be Rossi Ray-Taylor, superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools; Joyce Roche, president and chief executive officer of Girls Inc.; Kate Falahee, a student leader in the Ann Arbor schools; and Sandler.

The conference fee is $100, $30 for U-M staff and faculty and all students. Space is limited and filling quickly, say conference organizers. For more information or to register, call (734) 998-7080 or visit the Web at