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north carolina american council on education women's network

Advancing Women in Higher Education

Women in Higher Education: Agents, Allies, and Advocates for a Brighter Future

Our first in person conference will be held Friday, June 14th 8am-4pm at The Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte!


8:00 - 9:00 Check-in, Breakfast, Dubois Lobby

9:00 - 9:45  Opening Remarks, Auditorium

9:45 - 10:45 Keynote, Auditorium

Beth Hardin, Executive Strategy Consultant

Moderated by: Yvette Huet, NC ACE State Chair, Professor of Applied Physiology, Health & Clinical Sciences and Director, ADVANCE Faculty Affairs and Diversity Office, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

10:45 - 11:00  Break

11:00 - 11:50 Session 1: Institutional Change for a Brighter Future (concurrent options)

Crystal Chambers, “Replacing the Broken Rung in North Carolina Institutions: Designing Leadership Pathways to Support Black Women’s Success”, Room 204

Moderated by: Roderica Williams, Associate Vice President for Student Success, Mars Hill University

In the corporate and nonprofit sectors, there is some evidence that Black women have the most education at the bottom of career and leadership ladders. In this session, we will discuss approaches to leadership succession planning within the state and consider alternatives more productive towards garnering equity in leadership representation generally, but especially with respect to Black women.

Melanie Escue, “Using Our Privilege to Create Spaces of Inclusion for Im/migrants in the United States”, Room 601

Moderated by: Erica Still, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion, Wake Forest University

Dr. Melanie Escue has spent the past few years engaged in nationally funded research projects exploring im/migrant health and well-being, has facilitated and co-created institutional trainings, and was part of an initiative to start the first undocumented student scholarship at the University of South Florida.

This interactive session will bring awareness of the experiences and needs of immigrant students on our college campuses and how we - as faculty, staff, and administrators, can make a meaningful difference in how institutions support our immigrant student populations.  Attendees will leave this session inspired and equipped with a toolkit and resources to raise awareness of/support immigrant students in their classrooms and at their institutions.

Sandra Dika, Cathy Howell, Kristie Opiola, and Tina Heafner, “Navigating Hidden Curriculum and Workload Inequity: A Gendered Perspective on Agent, Ally, and Advocate Roles of Women Doctoral Program Directors”, Room 602

Moderated by: Heather McCullough, Director, Learning Technology and Open Education, University of North Carolina System

Scholars have noted the hidden curriculum of doctoral education; the unspoken rules of academia that are often inaccessible to students with BiPOC and other marginalized identities due to lack of explicit information and mentoring. That hidden curriculum extends to doctoral advising and doctoral program direction, similarly affecting marginalized faculty and staff who disproportionately occupy these roles. In our panel discussion, we will share our perspectives and experiences serving as agents, allies, and advocates for doctoral students, particularly those with marginalized and minoritized identities, in our role as doctoral program directors in a College of Education. Three of us have served for several years in program direction, while one of us is new to the position. We each hold different faculty ranks and status. We lead programs ranging in enrollment intensity and teaching modalities. We have functioned as experts and mentors to one another as we help students and colleagues alike navigate the hidden curriculum, and we have become vocal advocates within our college and the institution to combat workload inequities that affect women and particularly women of color in program direction roles. Attendees will learn about ways to advocate for marginalized students, to promote transparency and equity, and to seek institutional support when leading graduate programs.


12:00 - 1:00

Seating available in the Atrium and surrounding areas

1:00 - 1:50 Session 2: Practices for Sustainable Leadership (concurrent options)

Amy Wartham, “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Strategies to Build Confidence”Room 204

Moderated by: April Tallant, Senior Educational Developer, Coulter Faculty Commons, Western Carolina University

Ever felt like a fraud at work? As if at any moment, everyone else is going to realize that you’ve bluffed your way to your current position? This phenomenon is known as the Impostor Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is a term used to describe a set of beliefs that has us feeling like we’re frauds, we are in some way lacking or unworthy, we don’t deserve our successes and/or it’s only a matter of time before we’re “found out.” Research shows that although Imposter Syndrome is experienced by men, it is particularly prevalent among women with over 70% of us experiencing 'imposter symptoms' during, and in many cases throughout, our careers. This program will share some specific strategies to overcome Imposter Syndrome and build confidence.

Heidi Echols and Jordan Register, “Pathways to Persistence: Sharing Strategies for Advancing Current and Future Women in STEM”, Room 601

Moderated by: Erica Jastrow, Assistant Professor/Department Chair, William Peace University

Our session is dedicated to legitimizing and advancing women working in postsecondary STEM disciplines, recognizing the crucial role that female faculty and staff play in shaping both the learning experiences and persistence of females in STEM.

Scholars argue that female students typically hold more fragile STEM identities than their male counterparts, leading to decreased persistence in their STEM education and careers (Riegle-Crumb et al., 2020). The perception of the STEM disciplines, namely mathematics, as neutral, objective, logical, and masculine, amplifies this phenomenon by discouraging traditionally feminine qualities like empathy, creativity, and care (Becker, 1995; Carli et al., 2016; Gilligan, 1993; Sfard et al., 2005). To combat the damaging notions of disciplinary masculinity, we argue that it is our responsibility to promote both 1) feminine perspectives and ways of knowing, and 2) female models of persistence in the STEM disciplines, drawing heavily on the notions of solidarity, agency, alliance, and advocacy. This interactive session aims to leverage solidarity and our personal experiences to discover how, when, and why we assume the roles of agent, ally, and advocate. We will share personal narratives from academia and facilitate participant sharing of strategies and initiatives that 1) empower female faculty and staff to initiate positive change, 2) enhance their sense of belonging and self-efficacy, 3) persist in their careers, and 4) create opportunities for women in STEM.

Participants will leave with strategies for understanding how and when to be an ally, agent, and advocate for themselves and other women in STEM spaces.

Kim Jones, “Agents of Our Own Bodies in Spaces of Resistance”, Room 602

Moderated by: Erica Still, Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion, Wake Forest University

Modern dance movements as an expression of resistance and agency. We move to live and migrate to survive. Resistance to dominance and oppression in the world, and also in one's own life. Resistance finding routes of possibility, even as critics eye the work with skepticism. In this movement workshop, Korean American artist/Associate Professor Kim Jones will present a movement workshop. Attendees will explore the use of breath in coordination of conscious movement. Participants will learn about the basics of the Martha Graham technique as an embodied practice, explore Jones’s historical and creative research of re-imagining earlier 20th century dance works as a form of resistance. We will discuss, how do these concepts/movements impact us today? How to find oneself in the face of obstacles, how to center oneself in chaos.

1:50 - 2:00  Break

2:00 - 2:50 Executive Leadership Panel: “Already Doing the Work: Lessons from Leaders” Auditorium

Loury Floud, Assistant Provost for Academic Operation, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Bethan Meighen, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, UNC System

Tamara Williams, Chief Academic Officer, Forsyth Technical Community College

Moderated by: Connie Gores, Partner in the Success Associates, President Emerita of Southwest Minnesota State University

2:50 - 3:00  Break

3:00 - 3:45 What Happens Next – Choosing Where We Go From Here, Auditorium

Kristin Walker, “Sort It Out!”

Moderated by: Ashley Allen, Associate Dean and Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Pembroke 

Do you find yourself attending conferences, but then don’t know how to act upon what you’ve learned? Are you looking for ways to put great ideas into action? This session will help you do just that. During this session, you will learn a framework that will help you make the most of ideas gained from this or any conference. Get ready for an engaging hands-on sorting game. Engage your senses and collaborate with your fellow attendees to organize notes and ideas you’ve collected during the conference. Be ready to create a dynamic plan for how to act upon your ideas that aligns with your professional goals.

3:45 - 4:00 Closing Remarks and Presentation of the Trailblazer Award, Auditorium

Session Information:

Click here to view the session descriptions.

Speaker Information:

Click here to view the conference speakers.

Registration Information:
Click here to view registration details.

Thank you to our sponsor!

north carolina american council on education women's network

The NC ACE Network thanks and acknowledges the support provided by the UNC System Office of the President.

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