The University Record, February 07, 2000

Three women to receive Power Awards Feb. 16

By Jane R. Elgass

Three women will receive the Sarah Goddard Power Award in a ceremony Feb. 16 that also will reflect on the 25-year history of the Academic Women’s Caucus. Receiving the award will be Margaret F. Kahn, professor of political science at U-M-Flint and research scientist, Center for the Education of Women; Anne W. Monterio, assistant dean for students, College of Engineering; and Patricia D. Shure, lecturer in mathematics.

The Power Award has been presented annually since 1984 to recognize members of the University community who have distinguished themselves through their leadership, scholarship and sustained service on behalf of women. Originally named the Academic Women’s Caucus Award, it was renamed the Sarah Goddard Power Award in 1988 to honor the late Regent, who originally suggested the award and was a particularly strong advocate for women within the University community and strongly supported groups that espoused the cause of women. Since 1998, the Office of the President has provided a stipend for award recipients.

The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. in the Hussey Room, Michigan League, and will include a presentation by Provost Nancy Cantor and a video on the history of the Caucus and the women’s movement at the U-M.

Described by a colleague as “an island of integrity,” Kahn is recognized as a teacher-scholar, a leader and an advocate “who pursues and speaks the truth tirelessly and with integrity.”

Students have said she “conveys passion, demands excellence, gives endless support and changes student lives.” She also works with them outside the classroom, teaching them to read critically, develop and research topics, deal with personal or family issues, and plan for post-graduate study. “She is effective with a diverse and non-traditional population of students; she reaches them, challenges them and enables them to see the world differently.”

At Flint, she has served as director of the Women and Gender Studies program, provided leadership for Women’s History Month programs and chaired the Task Force on Sexual Orientation. She also co-chaired a conference on women and immigration; investigated the recruitment, retention and promotion of female and male faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences; and organized a theater lecture series related to the Labor Theater Project.

“A leader, a visionary, and totally dedicated to service,” Monterio has pioneered several major initiatives, including the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program, the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators and the Society of Minority Engineering Students. Working actively to increase the enrollment of women in engineering, she also has worked to provide the resources such as tutoring, counseling and group sessions necessary for them to complete their studies. As one supporter wrote, “She would accept only my best efforts in everything, always supporting, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Citing her tireless dedication to service, supporters have expressed gratitude for her help and advice, and for her commitment to their personal, family and financial problems. As one supporter commented: “On my desk is a little pencil holder that is very special to me. Once I had an exciting change in job responsibilities, but no office space from which to operate. Without hesitation, she rearranged her office and carved out a space for me . . .”

Recipient of an Excellence in Education Award each year from 1991 to 1997 and a Matthews Undergraduate Teaching Award, Shure, through her dynamic teaching and support of students, “influences young undergraduate women to major in mathematics and strengthens the resolve of Ph.D. women candidates to complete their work.”

Shure designed, and each fall presents, a professional development program for a variety of student assistants and new faculty, giving them a chance to practice their teaching skills. She also visits their classrooms during the term and provides follow-up to help them attain their goal of becoming good teachers.

Her nominators say she is “the single most important force in the success of the implementation of reformed calculus instruction at Michigan. The program is unique among large research universities in operating the entire mainstream calculus sequence with small classes and cooperative learning both in and out of the classroom.”

Shure is co-author of a new pre-calculus text and author of a review workbook designed to help students improve their preparation for calculus. She was co-investigator of a Sloan Foundation study to assess some of the reasons that lead women to reject academic work and careers in mathematics and physics.

Academic Women’s Caucus

The Academic Women’s Caucus (AWC) is a forum for the exchange of information about the status of academic women at the U-M and also serves as a focal point for action that may be required to investigate and resolve their special concerns.

Since 1976, the group has met monthly during the academic year, responding to the concerns of its members by sponsoring problem-solving sessions and providing support and a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and action proposals.

The AWC took its present name and form in summer 1975. Prior to that it was the Faculty Women’s Committee, a sub-committee of the University’s Commission for Women. The name change reflected its move to include non-teaching members of the Senate Assembly and other women with interests and concerns similar to those of the faculty.

The Commission for Women was created in 1971 in response to questions raised by feminists in the late 1960s and to address a charge of discrimination against women made by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1970. The Commission initially provided staffing assistance to 14 standing committees and a number of ad hoc groups in order “to monitor, investigate and review all University policies, procedures and practices that contributed to discrimination against women in all components of the University.”

Through task forces and the initiative of individual members, the AWC has researched and testified in a variety of salary and equity surveys and cases, has made presentations to the Board of Regents, and is consulted regularly by the Affirmative Action Office and University administrators.

Orientation sessions for new women faculty are an on-going activity, and the continued monitoring and publicizing of data about the status of women faculty, primary researchers, librarians and curators remain high priorities.

Two co-chairs provide leadership for the group, with one new co-chair selected each year, and a steering committee recently was formed to help provide continuity.

Office support and other services are provided by the Office of Equity and Diversity Services of Human Resources/Affirmative Action.