President’s Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues 1989–2014

1988–1989—Ad Hoc Committee on Women’s Issues


By 1989, universities across the country were recognizing that, to ensure women’s continued success, means of achieving gender equity needed to be woven into the very fabric of the institution—administrative policies, human resources practices, academic research and teaching, and peer and community relationships. This complex and challenging process of reformulation would require serious intellectual commitment, research, experimentation, and risk-taking. At the University of Michigan, President James Duderstadt believed such a process would benefit not only women but also all members of the University in all aspects of its mission and that it was important for the University of Michigan to be a nationally recognized leader in this regard.


1988–89: Ad Hoc Committee on Women’s Issues

In the summer of 1988, President Duderstadt convened an Ad Hoc Committee on Women’s Issues to assess the status of women at the University of Michigan and to recommend improvements. At the end of the year, the Committee published the Women’s Agenda, a series of recommendations promoting the achievement of full and equal participation of women in the life of the institution. One recommendation was that the President establish a commission to advise him regularly on women’s issues.

1989–90: President’s Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues

President Duderstadt endorsed the principles of the Women’s Agenda and formed the President’s Advisory Commission On Women’s Issues, sometimes referred to as “PACWI.” President Duderstadt charged PACWI with providing expertise and advice on issues regarding access, equity, and success for women by working with University leadership to develop new policies, practices, and procedures designed to enhance gender equity. PACWI members included faculty, staff, and students appointed by the President.

In its first year, PACWI identified four basic principles to assist in guiding the University’s consideration of women’s issues: community, education, investment in people, and leadership. Three task forces were created: the Faculty Issues Task Force, the Staff Development and Career Advancement Task Force, and the Academic Climate Task Force. One of the Commission’s first acts was to convene focus groups of junior faculty women, with the following result:

A PACWI recommendation, adopted by the Provost in January 1990, extended the tenure probationary period by one year for female faculty who experience pregnancy and childbirth and for male and female faculty who experience extraordinary dependent care demands, which include the care of children, ill or injured partners, or aging parents. (Download the policy)

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President Duderstadt and Provost Gilbert R. Whitaker, Jr. agreed that gender equity issues would be included in the University’s strategic planning and policy development. One notable success in 1990–91 was the implementation of a new dependent care policy.

The Commission successfully pressed for a new, modified duties policy, adopted on January 1, 1991, to grant relief from classroom teaching for the semester in which sick leave is used for pregnancy or childbirth. (Download an updated version of this policy)

At the end of the year, PACWI presented its 1991 Report to the President on Educational Issues Affecting Women Students. The report put forth four strategic objectives, to be implemented through a Strategic Plan for Women’s Educational Success.

Top-priority Goals in PACWI Strategic Plan for Women:

  • Integrating women’s goals of representation and inclusion into the University’s strategic planning and administrative process.
  • Hiring significantly more women faculty, particularly at senior ranks.
  • Increasing the representation of women in University leadership and administration.
  • Addressing the long-term academic and professional pipeline issues in fields in which women are underrepresented.

The Center for the Education of Women implemented a PACWI recommendation by offering new programs for junior faculty women on achieving tenure, negotiating skills, and dependent care issues. The program on achieving tenure was later expanded to include all junior faculty and co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, SACUA, and J-NET, a network of junior women faculty.

To foster the success of junior faculty women, PACWI proposed a number of activities and programs, including department-based mentoring and networking programs, pre-tenure reviews, and early dissemination to junior faculty of information on resources supporting research.

PACWI organized a series of focus groups for senior faculty women and then published a summary of findings about perceived supports and barriers (climate, family issues, hiring, pay, promotion, and workload), plus recommendations.

In response to PACWI concerns, the Provost created the Special Hiring and Recruitment Effort (SHARE) to increase the number of women with senior faculty appointments.

PACWI members devoted much time to encouraging adoption of the revised faculty/staff sexual harassment policy and to recommending that the University develop a more coordinated and coherent response to sexual harassment. The policy was adopted by the Regents in November, 1991. (Download an updated version of this policy)

1991–1992: Status of Women Reports Reveal Problems
PACWI collaborated with the Office of Academic Planning and Analysis, the Affirmative Action Office and others to analyze the status of women and the academic pipeline at the University in two reports: “Women at the University of Michigan,” February 1992 and “Women at the University of Michigan,” v. II, December 1993.

The first report revealed a low representation of women—especially women of color—among faculty at all levels, graduate and professional students in many fields, and upper-level staff. Representing nearly half of all undergraduates, women were found in decreasing numbers at the master’s, professional, and doctoral levels. The shortage of women faculty had a potentially negative impact on the education of women students. Women’s median salary in all ranks of every school/college was lower than that of their male peers.

The 1993 report revealed that between 1990 and 1992, the proportion of women in senior administrative positions decreased from 30% to 22%. Women of color represented only 3.1% of the tenured and tenure-track faculty.

PACWI and other women’s organizations at the University of Michigan were successful in urging the creation of a Philosophy of Staff Development encouraging the availability of ongoing training and career development for all staff.

1993–94: The Michigan Agenda for Women
President Duderstadt officially launched the Michigan Agenda for Women: Leadership for a New Century. The goal of the Agenda was to make the University of Michigan, by the year 2000, the leader among American universities in promoting the success of women of diverse backgrounds as faculty, students, and staff, and the leading institution for the study of women and gender issues. The Agenda outlines a series of goals and actions that ensure the success of women. Much of the Agenda for Women was built on recommendations made originally by the President’s Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues. At PACWI’s urging, a number of new programs were implemented:

  • In response to the disproportionate demands for formal and informal advising, committee membership, and other service by tenured and tenure-track women, PACWI members successfully proposed the Career Development Fund for Women Faculty. Created in 1993–94, the Fund supports awards of $5,000 each to 40 women faculty members per year to underwrite scholarship, research, or creative activity. Awards are based on scholarship and service by tenured or tenure-track faculty on the Ann Arbor campus.
  • During 1993–94, the President and the Provost announced a plan to create 10 new senior faculty positions, provided departments identify outstanding women to fill them. Additional positions were to be created after the first 10 are filled.

During 1994–95, PACWI members continued to work with President Duderstadt to develop recommendations that help to implement the Michigan Agenda for Women. Also during this year, PACWI conducted a series of focus groups with office staff members.

PACWI brought to the attention of the President the fear experienced by women students, especially graduate students, when walking on campus late at night, because there was no parking available to them that was close to their laboratories or other workplaces. As a result, most campus parking lots and structures were opened for free parking by students after 6:00 p.m.

In response to PACWI’s 1992–93 recommendations as well as those of other groups, Human Resources/Affirmative Action created the Consultation and Conciliation Service to assist individuals and units to resolve conflicts.

During this presidential transition year, PACWI raised a number of issues that pointed the way to future endeavors:

  • The need to reevaluate the compensation of lower-paid staff members,
  • The importance of making scholarships for students a high priority in fundraising efforts, and
  • The benefits of accommodating the needs of students, staff, and faculty members with dependents.

In recognition of the disproportionate rate at which women are hired as lecturers rather than tenure-track faculty, PACWI worked successfully toward the implementation of the Career Development Fund for Lecturers.

PACWI members successfully advocated for the inclusion of staff members on the presidential search committee and participated actively in Regental hearings that preceded the search process.

PACWI also sponsored the publication of Volume III of “Women at the University of Michigan: A Statistical Report on the Status of Women Students, Faculty, and Staff on the Ann Arbor Campus.”

PACWI members expressed their views about priorities in the presidential search process. After President Lee C. Bollinger was appointed, PACWI took a stand against a proposal to steer employees into M-CARE, an initiative that was forestalled when many constituencies raised serious concerns. PACWI also pursued a number of issues with President Bollinger, including the importance of next-level review of negative tenure decisions; the need to address the salaries of lower-income staff, many of whom were paid at rates below the federal poverty guidelines; the desirability of improving educational benefits available to staff; and the crucial importance of hiring more women executives.

President Bollinger appointed Provost Nancy Cantor and Vice President for Development Susan Feagin.

Provost Cantor implemented a longstanding PACWI recommendation to encourage an additional salary increment for lower-compensated staff. The program, envisaged as the beginning of a three-year initiative, provided a salary increase of $400 beyond normal merit increases for most office, technical, and professional/administrative staff earning $25,000 or less.

Provost Cantor also supported and funded a number of recommendations, which PACWI had endorsed, made by the Child Care Task Force. These included doubling the University’s contribution to childcare subsidies for students and making the Kids Kare at Home program providing care for sick children permanent, while expanding it to students.

Also during 1997–98, PACWI convened a meeting with President Bollinger and Provost Cantor as well as representatives of the Commission for Women, the Academic Women’s Caucus, the Women of Color Task Force, the Women of Color in the Academy Project, and Human Resources/Affirmative Action to discuss women’s issues on campus. One result of that meeting was an agreement that the president and provost would participate in open forums for women staff and faculty in the fall of 1998.

The Commission was delighted when President Bollinger appointed Royster Harper, Lisa Tedesco, and Cynthia Wilbanks to executive officer positions during this academic year. As a result, this is the first administration in U-M history in which half of the executive officers are women—an objective for which PACWI has long advocated. In addition, President Bollinger appointed three women deans, with the result that one-third of deans were women—another historic high.

Provost Cantor provided an additional salary increment for lower-compensated staff for a second year.

At the urging of PACWI, Provost Cantor agreed to gather information about negative tenure outcomes in addition to positive ones.

The policy Provost Cantor and Vice President Robert Kasden had adopted at the urging of PACWI, doubling the number of dependent care days available to staff and faculty to six, went into effect during the winter term. (Download an updated version of this policy)

During the fall semester, PACWI co-sponsored with a number of women’s constituency groups and administrative offices two open forums with President Bollinger and Provost Cantor—one for staff and one for faculty. In the spring, the Commission acted on its interest in fostering women student leaders by convening a forum in which they could exchange experiences.

This academic year saw the appointment of Lisa Rudgers as an executive officer; another woman dean was appointed as well. At the same time, PACWI members were pleased to note that promotions of women from assistant to associate professor in 1998–99 had increased over previous years.

A highlight of the year was the decision by Provost Cantor to change the staff tuition support program from reimbursement to prospective payment and to increase the amount available—changes the Commission had proposed. (Download the policy)

She and Executive Vice Presidents Kasden and Omenn announced that change in a memorandum to all supervisors stressing the importance of enabling staff to pursue professional development opportunities.

In addition, Provost Cantor provided an additional salary increment for lower-income staff for a third year, greatly reducing the number of women paid at the minimum for their job classification.

Finally, at the urging of PACWI, Provost Cantor launched a study of equity in faculty salaries.

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The Commission worked closely with the Director of the Sexual Harassment Policy Office to develop a new draft policy regarding faculty-student relationships. This draft was accepted for consideration by the provosts of the Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn campuses.

In response to advocacy efforts by PACWI and others, Provost Cantor and Vice President Kasden agreed once again to increase the number of dependent care days available to faculty and staff, this time from six days to all fifteen of the annual sick days. This change took effect January 1, 2002. (Download an updated version of this policy)

A faculty salary equity study, initially proposed by PACWI, was completed September 2001, after continuing work by PACWI members to see it developed.

At the encouragement of PACWI and other interested parties on campus, the Eating Disorders Task Team report was delivered to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Asked to comment on the report, PACWI supported the analysis done and suggested in addition that a standing oversight committee be formed to provide university-wide oversight of prevention and treatment efforts on campus.

In conjunction with over a dozen women’s groups from all three U-M campuses, PACWI organized an address to U-M women by Interim President B. Joseph White. The event provided a forum for the interim president to speak to issues affecting women faculty, staff, and students, and to respond informally to questions raised by the audience.

Faculty salary adjustments stemming from the faculty salary equity study were implemented by the schools and colleges with support from the Office of the Provost.

PACWI met with Associate Vice President and Chief of Human Resources Barbara Butterfield to discuss the U-M’s plan for redesign of the classification system. PACWI members suggested that the new system collect institutional and unit-based data in order to support equitable classification and pay decisions.

PACWI also made recommendations to Associate Vice President Butterfield regarding the University’s 2003 contract for a single pharmacy benefit plan, emphasizing the need to monitor and assess the new plan’s impact on women and people of color.

A website for the Commission was designed and added to the President’s webpage of Committees, Initiatives, and Special Projects. The new site offers readers an overview of PACWI’s charge, its history, links to some of the policies PACWI was instrumental in achieving, and a list of current members, as well as the means to contact PACWI.

In view of the University budget situation for fiscal year 2003, PACWI recommended to the President and Provost that units give special attention to low-income staff in the yearly merit program. In response to the Commission’s recommendations, the Provost addressed the question of low-income staff in budget letters sent to the units. In addition, in order to monitor this, the Provost required units to submit aggregate data on merit increases by staff classification group.

With the departure of UM President Lee Bollinger, a Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) was named. Individuals recommended by PACWI were appointed to PSAC, which met with PACWI to discuss the presidential search process and qualifications the Commission believed were important in a President. In the spring of 2002, Dr. Mary Sue Coleman was selected to be the University’s first woman president.

Throughout the year, PACWI guided development of the report Women at the University of Michigan: A Statistical Report on the Status of Women Students, Faculty, and Staff on the Ann Arbor Campus. This comprehensive analysis details the standing of women in various roles across the university, identifying where progress has been made as well as where inequity continues to exist.

Commission members were invited to be part of the policy committee informing Human Resource’s classification redesign project. With this project, the University intends to completely update its staff classification system. PACWI representatives on the policy committee advocated and won approval for development of data collection and an audit process.

PACWI saw the Faculty-Student Relationships Policy, which it helped design, supported by President Coleman, the Provost, and deans. Commission members assisted in the policy’s vetting process, including speaking in favor of the policy at a meeting of the Faculty Senate Assembly.

PACWI also contributed to development of the policy on violence in the university community, adopted on April 1, 2003 as Standard Practice Guide policy number 601.18. (Download the policy)

Many efforts initiated and/or guided by PACWI came to fruition during the 2003–04 academic year. In October, the fourth edition of Women at the University of Michigan: A Statistical Report on the Status of Women Students, Staff, and Faculty on the Ann Arbor Campus was released. This report provides an important tool for University leaders to assess the relative standing of women and people of color, identify where inequities exist, and set goals for improvement. The report includes benchmarking information regarding student enrollment, staff and faculty composition and advancement, and academic leadership. It is the fourth in a series, prepared under the auspices of PACWI by the Center for the Education of Women, Human Resource Records and Information Services, and Office of Budget and Planning. Earlier editions were produced in 1992, 1993, and 1996. View the most recent Report on the Status of Women.

The Faculty-Student Relationships policy, originally designed by PACWI, was formally adopted and added to the University’s Standard Practice Guide in April 2004. It strongly discourages romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty members and students, due to the inherent conflict of interest. (Download the policy)

In April, PACWI recommended that the University survey its postdoctoral scholars and the units in which they work. This suggestion was accepted by senior leadership. The research topics outlined in PACWI’s recommended study will help U-M in its continued efforts to improve its recruitment of and support for the career and educational needs of a diverse pool of postdoctoral professionals.

PACWI played an important role in revision of the modified duties policy for faculty. PACWI voiced its support of the main revision under discussion — that eligibility be extended to adoptive parents and fathers who are at least co-equal caregivers to a child. Commission members provided unique insights, however, that helped create language clarifying that teaching relief during extended sick leave for recovery from childbirth should be considered separately and in addition to a parent’s new entitlement to modified duties to adjust to parenting. (Download the policy)

In separate meetings with President Mary Sue Coleman and Provost Paul Courant, PACWI suggested that a more coordinated, strategic, and high-level support for work-life balance policies and programs should be developed at U-M. With funding provided by the School of Social Work and Rackham Graduate School, PACWI sponsored research into methods used by U-M’s peers for strategic integration and promotion of work-life initiatives. The President indicated her readiness to share PACWI’s research and recommendations with the Executive Officers when it becomes available in the fall of 2005.

In its meeting with President Coleman, PACWI offered its support of the Moving Child Care Forward at Michigan initiative created by the President.

PACWI noted with the President and the Provost its support for an administration proposal that would allow up to two years of part-time progress on the tenure clock. The Commission recommended that any such policy suggest that the chair and faculty member discuss the merit review consequences expected under the part-time appointment. It recommended that decisions (both positive and negative) regarding authorization of part-time appointments be reported to the Provost’s office in order to protect against arbitrary or otherwise problematic decisions. Lastly, PACWI suggested that UM outline a clear expectation for external and internal tenure evaluators so they do not judge candidates in any way that would punish them for taking advantage of the policies.

PACWI members developed a draft policy to provide graduate students with up to 8 weeks of paid modified duties leave following the birth or adoption of a new child. The policy was designed to prevent graduate student instructors and researchers from losing financial aid and slowing their progress toward a degree following the arrival of a new child in the family. The policy would extend paid leave beyond the 3 weeks currently provided under the Graduate Employees Organization contract. Interim Provost Edward Gramlich forwarded the draft policy to Rackham Dean Janet Weiss for further consideration.

Teresa Sullivan became Provost at the end of the academic term. PACWI members created a memo for the new provost, citing observations about the current status of women of color faculty on the Ann Arbor campus. Suggested actions to improve the recruitment and retention of women of color faculty included university-wide training of department chairs and other faculty regarding unintended race bias, improved faculty development efforts, and the regular conduct of entrance and exit interviews.

In separate meetings with the head of the Department of Public Safety and President Coleman, PACWI members raised concerns regarding the safety of students, staff, and faculty on and near campus. Following a rash of violent crimes, the Commission requested increased public notification of crime information and available safety resources, as well as funding to reinstitute DPS’ student patrol program.

As part of President Coleman’s response to PACWI’s research report on work-life balance, PACWI members began to develop a gradual-return-to-work policy that could ultimately be used across the Ann Arbor campus. Working with Human Resources management in UM’s Business and Finance (B&F) area, PACWI members modified an existing B&F policy to make it easier for interested staff and their supervisors to arrange short-term part-time appointments following the birth or adoption of a child. In the next academic year, a workgroup will develop procedural guidelines, training materials, and a plan to evaluate the success of the policy’s implementation within B&F, prior to employing the policy campus-wide.

Another aspect of PACWI’s efforts to promote flexible work arrangements involved gathering information about successful models of flexwork in health care settings. Included on Working Mother magazine’s “Top 100 Companies to Work For” list for 2006 were 17 hospital or health center employers. PACWI provided Deborah Childs, Chief Human Resource Officer of the U-M Health System, and Jennie McAlpine, Director of Work/Life Programs, with a summary of these models and encouraged them to consider new ways that UMHS could expand flexible work options for nurses, clerical workers, and other staff.

In meetings with President Coleman and Provost Sullivan, PACWI continued to press for adoption of a policy on modified duties for graduate students.

PACWI played an important role in supporting the work of the Diversity Blueprints Task Force, which was created by the University following voters’ passage of a statewide initiative banning the use of affirmative action by public institutions. As a member of the Task Force, Carol Hollenshead, PACWI Chair and Director of the Center for the Education of Women, contributed her expertise to the Faculty/Staff Hiring and Retention Subcommittee. In addition, PACWI members recommended to the Task Force actions designed to maintain and improve upon the diversity of UM’s community of students, faculty, and staff. Many of the final recommendations produced by the Diversity Blueprints Task Force reflected PACWI’s suggestions.

Two important policies recommended by PACWI came to fruition during this academic year. The Rackham School of Graduate Studies implemented a parental accommodation policy for graduate students that extends deadlines and modifies academic expectations for eligible parents immediately following the birth or adoption of a child. In addition, eligible birth mothers receive up to 6 weeks of paid medical leave following childbirth.

Within the division of Business and Finance, a new gradual-return-to-work policy encourages managers to approve requests for short-term part-time appointments following the birth or adoption of a child. PACWI staff, as part of a B&F workgroup, developed training materials demonstrating the many organizational and personal benefits of such flexible work arrangements. After an evaluation of the policy’s impact within Business and Finance, University leaders will consider making this a campus-wide policy.

In addition, PACWI’s attention to the composition of the board for the new Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation led the Center to appoint two new members — a white woman and a woman of color — to the previously all-white, all-male board.

PACWI met with the volunteer training coordinator for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) and the directors of University Housing and Residence Education to discuss SAPAC training of first-year students living in the residence halls. PACWI members shared a number of recommendations with SAPAC and Housing leaders, as well as with Vice President Royster Harper, to improve erratic attendance in certain residence halls.

At a meeting with Provost Teresa Sullivan, PACWI recommended two important policy improvements for faculty: part-time progress toward tenure and allowance of more than one stop of the tenure clock.

Previous PACWI meetings with senior leadership in Student Affairs contributed to the University’s decision to require first-year students to complete an online tutorial about sexual assault and alcohol abuse before they arrived on campus. This was one of several recommendations PACWI made for increasing students’ awareness of sexualized violence and of University resources available to address the problem.

PACWI met with staff from the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR) and the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) to discuss sexual harassment and assault cases. The Commission learned that the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SSRR), which governs the student conflict resolution process, imposed a higher burden of proof on complainants than the standard used by OIE to resolve discrimination complaints against faculty and staff. Further examination of the issue by the Center for the Education of Women found the “preponderance of the evidence” standard to be recommended by regulators and the national Association for Student Conduct Administration. PACWI endorsed a proposal developed by CEW and other campus units to amend the SSRR to require use of the preponderance standard.

After consultation with Associate Vice Provost Connie Cook and Professor Abby Stewart, PACWI sent President Coleman a number of suggestions for improving the work satisfaction and retention of women of color faculty. Some of the recommendations arose from a report written by Dr. Aimee Cox, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Education of Women, who interviewed 28 U-M women of color faculty about issues ranging from work-life balance to the tenure process. Key recommendations included:

  • Require STRIDE training for all department chairs.
  • Track the service duties and informal student mentoring done by faculty.
  • Retroactively apply Provost Sullivan’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) process for jointly appointed faculty to individuals hired into joint appointments before the process began. MOUs clarify and document the responsibilities of faculty and their departments by listing service obligations and outlining which department is responsible for research guidance, mentoring, and reviews.
  • Require each school/college to make its tenure review process more transparent to faculty and students and note the rationale(s) for review policies.


With leadership from CEW staff, a PACWI-endorsed proposal to amend the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SSRR) gained support from seven student groups. In addition to these groups, the proposal to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard in all SSRR formal hearings was vetted with five UM offices familiar with the student misconduct review process, with the Campus Safety & Security Advisory Committee and at three “Community Dialogues” arranged by the Office of Student Conflict Resolution. In October, the Michigan Student Assembly reviewed and approved the proposal, then forwarded it to the Senate Assembly’s Student Relations Advisory Committee (SRAC). Facing strong opposition from two SRAC members, the proposal was returned to MSA for further review.

In a poll of MSA representatives conducted by MSA’s Student Rights Commission, some students suggested the preponderance of the evidence standard be used only for sexualized violence and stalking cases, but not all forms of alleged misconduct. At a December MSA meeting, the public vote and discussion reflected many students’ preference for this more limited use of the preponderance of the evidence standard. Given the choice of retracting or maintaining MSA’s original support for using the preponderance standard in all cases of misconduct, representatives voted 14-13 to retract their support, with three abstentions. Based on this vote, SRAC removed the proposal from further consideration.

Vice President Royster Harper suggested that supporters and opponents of the proposal work together to create opportunities for education and dialogue about the realities of sexualized violence on campus and the ways it is addressed through the SSRR. PACWI members agreed that such activity would be a good way to increase understanding of the topic in advance of the next opportunity to amend the SSRR in 2012.

The Status of Women Report was completed in December 2009. A printed executive summary was given to PACWI members, President Coleman and other executive officers, the Academic Program Group (i.e., deans), the Vice Provosts and Associate Deans Group, student and faculty governance bodies, as well as individuals and groups with an interest in gender and diversity. The full report, executive summary, and data searchable by school/college (plus departments within LSA & Medicine) was put on the web at http://www.hr.umich.edu/womenatum/.

PACWI received status reports and consulted on a variety of topics throughout the year, including: policies and programs supported by the Work-Life Resource Center, a proposal to amend the student code for intimate partner violence, the new on-line tutorial for first-year students on sexual assault and alcohol use, the Abuse Hurts initiative (http://hr.umich.edu/stopabuse/), potential collaborations with UM’s Diversity Council, the MORE program for faculty mentoring of graduate students, Rackham’s continuous enrollment policy, installation of locks on classroom doors, retiree health benefits, and the new recommendation by UM obstetricians for mothers to take 12 weeks’ leave for postpartum recovery


Noting data from the 2009 Status of Women report and the 2010 Faculty Work-Life Study, PACWI members recommended policy changes to improve women's access to tenure and promotion opportunities. PACWI advised Provost Hanlon and the Regents that raising the maximum number of years allowed on the tenure clock could provide important professional and work-life flexibility for faculty, particularly women of color who are more often involved in interdisciplinary research, and for women in the Medical School whose rate of tenure has declined significantly compared to their male peers. In an April letter to faculty, the Provost named PACWI as one of the leadership groups who advised him. Following Regental approval of the change, PACWI member and School of Social Work Dean Laura Lein was named to the Provost's Ad Hoc Committee Monitoring Impacts of Changes in Tenure Probationary Periods.

In the Commission’s letter to the Provost, PACWI also recommended that the number of tenure clock stops allowed by University-wide policy be increased uniformly across the campus to two and that use of the policy and tenure outcome data be tracked and reported. It further recommended that departments track the service loads of faculty and implement clear policies for avoiding or relieving disproportionately heavy service burdens. Findings from the Faculty Work Life Study showed that men of color and women regardless of race do more service work than white men. PACWI thanked Provost Hanlon for establishing guidance to improve the transparency and fairness of tenure review processes within the schools and colleges.

In response to PACWI’s request for them, staff within Human Resources created informational resources addressing UM obstetricians’ recommendation that new mothers take 12 weeks of maternity leave. As part of its new Leave of Absence Toolkit, the University noted that extended sick leave would continue to be limited to 6-8 weeks for uncomplicated pregnancies. Information aimed at both supervisors and employees explained the role of Work Connections and offered ideas for extending the amount of time off post-delivery. A Time-Off Navigator showed a person’s eligibility for various forms of time off based on job title and years of service. (See http://hr.umich.edu/loatoolkit/navigator/maternity.html.)

PACWI requested input from the president of the U-M Postdoctoral Association and a panel of other postdoctoral fellows (“postdocs”) in order to better understand their experiences at U-M. The postdocs represented a cross-section of the University and expressed their overall pleasure at being at U-M. Shortcomings they noted were isolation, insufficient health-related policies, limited access to campus benefits and challenges faced by international postdocs. A letter recommending various steps to address these issues was vetted over the summer with key stakeholders.

The Commission met with directors of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center regarding the handling of allegations of sexual assault by students. Members learned that new guidance from the federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) strongly encourages universities to investigate all reported incidents, even if the alleged survivor does not wish to pursue a complaint. OCR also made it clear that universities should use the preponderance of evidence standard in any judicial review. PACWI offered its support to the directors as they implement and educate the campus about these changes and as they establish a new bystander intervention program.


Input from key stakeholders serving postdoctoral fellows (“postdocs”) was incorporated into a set of PACWI recommendations for the Postdoctoral Advisory Group, President Coleman, chairs of the U-M Postdoctoral Association, and the deans. Suggestions addressed the need for:

  • Improved mentoring and career development of postdocs
  • Increased information about resources available to them
  • Clarification of their eligibility for sick, extended sick, vacation and unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act
  • Provision of paid leave for postdocs who bear children
  • Salary levels that follow the National Institutes of Health guidelines
  • Examination to address issues of particular relevance to international postdocs.

PACWI developed a “Checklist for Hiring & Onboarding of Every U-M Postdoctoral Fellow.” Included as part of the recommendation package, PACWI suggested the checklist be used across campus so that postdocs are oriented and integrated into their units in a comprehensive and consistent fashion.

Another key accomplishment in 2012 was a set of recommendations given to the primary authors of the Interim Procedures for Responding to Student Sexual Misconduct. Recommendations highlighted the need for training and written materials to educate employees and students about referral and reporting responsibilities when an alleged incident of sexual assault is disclosed. The Commission affirmed its support for using the preponderance of the evidence standard as directed in the Office of Civil Rights “Dear Colleague” letter. PACWI suggested that the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs create criteria for use in considering whether to modify a sanction on appeal. The Commission also recommended that a neutral representative of students be appointed to any review panel that is convened when the student complainant does not want to have or participate in an investigation.

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2012-2013: Over the summer and fall, a draft final policy for responding to allegations of student sexual misconduct was crafted. PACWI members’ formal comments addressed policy coverage, reporting and investigation of alleged misconduct, standard of proof, appeals, as well as educational and preventive measures. CEW staff worked closely with community partners, national experts, and leaders from the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, Office of Institutional Equity, and General Counsel’s Office to develop and host a two-day conference for universities in the region to examine their own policy options and practices.

PACWI devoted much of the winter term to learning about workplace incivility and bullying and assessing how these behaviors are being addressed at U-M. The Commission found that various parts of the University offer educational resources designed to limit uncivil behavior, while the Health System’s training is built upon a disruptive behavior policy. At the request of Provost Martha Pollack and Vice Provost Chris Whitman, PACWI reviewed and commented on a draft policy on professional standards expected of faculty. In a memo to all executive officers, chancellors and deans, PACWI recommended that U-M:

• Establish a lead unit to coordinate campus-wide education and assist with difficult cases that can’t be resolved at a local level.

• Hold people accountable by creating a university-wide anti-bullying policy that sets the expectation for supervisors to manage problematic behaviors by faculty or staff, and rates supervisors’ leadership skill in managing uncivil behavior as part of their annual evaluations.

• Create a staff ombuds position.

PACWI was quite pleased that the university-wide Tenure Clock Stop (TCS) policy was expanded to allow at least two stops for childbearing/dependent care, which had been a longstanding recommendation of the group. The Commission recommended to the Provost that language in the Standard Practice Guide 201.92 be clarified on this point. Members also discussed the pros and cons of implementing an automatic TCS at U-M. At peer institutions where a stop is triggered as soon as faculty make known their dependent care needs, use of the policy becomes the norm rather than the exception. Another matter raised was PACWI’s concern that efforts to promote a diverse campus (in both representation and climate) are not moving ahead with as much impact as in past years.

2013-2014: PACWI members began the year with an update on the Administrative Services Transformation (AST) process. Communications and implementation of this effort to centralize personnel doing particular administrative tasks caused a great deal of uproar across campus. Commission members shared their concern that the effort might disproportionately disadvantage women and people of color. In the end, no positions were lost as the result of AST.

With the upcoming retirement of President Mary Sue Coleman, PACWI collaborated with ten other campus groups to argue that successful promotion of diversity must be a clear strength of the next president. In a letter to the Regents and Presidential Search Advisory Committee published in the University Record and the Michigan Daily, the groups made the following recommendations:

• The next president must have vision and demonstrated success in increasing diversity among the student body and in promoting appreciation and support for all people regardless of difference.

• The candidate must have documented experience in recognizing and addressing the serious problems of sexual assault and domestic violence that occur within a typical campus community like U-M.

• The search process must include candidates who themselves bring a diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, academic disciplines, and identities.

• While championing the training and dialogue opportunities offered through programs such as Intergroup Relations, ADVANCE, Office of Institutional Equity, CRLT Players, the Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center and a number of diversity groups across campus, the groups expressed frustration that all staff, faculty and students are not expected to attend and learn from them.

Recognizing that a number of deans, vice provosts and other senior leaders planned to retire or step down from their positions, PACWI sent a similar set of recommendations to all the executive officers regarding the importance of considering diversity in the search process.

The Dean of Students and other leaders in the Division of Student Life updated PACWI about efforts to increase students’ skills in preventing and responding to acts of bias or violence. Through the Beyond the Diag Program, U-M is helping students in off-campus housing create safer, more informed and connected neighborhoods. A bystander intervention program is being developed for first-year students, while training regarding sexual assault is being developed for graduate students. Based on recommendations from a Student Safety Work Group, a limited number of personal self-defense classes were offered through Kinesiology and through non-credit workshops.

Without continued funding, however, the non-credit classes ended. PACWI hosted a special meeting with representatives from the Women of Color in the Academy Project, Women of Color Task Force, U-M Diversity Council, and Business & Finance’s Diversity Committee to hear U-M Professor Lilia Cortina present research on the incidence and impact of workplace incivility. Attendees learned that “incivility,” “micro-aggressions,” and “modern discrimination” are all terms used by researchers to describe common forms of mistreatment, which can often be tied to racial, gender and other differences between people. They reviewed various ways U-M is already dealing with this problem and discussed additional ways the groups might collaborate to increase campus-wide awareness and skill-building on the topic. The new “Change It Up!” bystander intervention program that will be provided to all incoming first-year students starting Fall 2014 was seen as a model worth replicating with faculty and staff audiences.

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