Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Recognizes Women Faculty for Their Contributions to Academia, Research

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 5, 2020

Texas Tech University

The Research Spotlight on Texas Tech Women Faculty initiative is a collaboration between the Office of Research & Innovation, the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the Women’s & Gender Studies program to more fully publicize women’s accomplishments across campus.

Since 1987, the United States has celebrated Women's History Month during March. The celebration recognizes the vital role of women in American history, with groups and individuals across the country creating and hosting educational initiatives, community events and awards ceremonies throughout the month.

This year, Texas Tech University is launching a new initiative of its own: the Research Spotlight on Texas Tech Women Faculty. As a collaboration between the Office of Research & Innovation, the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DDEI) and the Women's & Gender Studies (WGS) program, the initiative recognizes and celebrates one woman faculty member from each department or unit at the university as a way to more fully publicize women's accomplishments across campus.

"In general, what tends to happen across the nation is that women's accomplishments and contributions often are obscured," said Elizabeth Sharp, director of WGS. "We are trying to highlight women across fields and across campus. We think this is a great way to increase visibility of the research conducted by our women faculty."

Each of the women included in the inaugural cohort of the initiative were selected by their department chairs. The awardees will be recognized throughout March on the Office of Research & Innovation website, where each woman shares why they chose their field, who inspired them to pursue academia and insight to their female students who are interested in pursuing an academic career.

"Academia is challenging, even frustrating at times," shared Moira Ridley, a geosciences professor. "Yet I cannot imagine any more satisfying career choice that allows such freedom and self-determination."

The women will be recognized at the 36th Women's and Gender Studies Annual Conference luncheon on April 17, where selected faculty members will receive a certificate and have a brief biography printed in the conference program. The winners were also invited to attend the Lady Raiders basketball game against West Virginia on Wednesday (March 4), where they received recognition during the game.

"We're very proud to take the opportunity during Women's History Month to highlight the artistic, scholarly and research accomplishments of Texas Tech women faculty," said Vice President of Research and Innovation Joseph A. Heppert. "It's a great opportunity to celebrate the enormous contributions they make to the university community."

The initiative is one of several at the university that supports, encourages and recognizes women Red Raiders as they work, conduct research and study at Texas Tech.

Women faculty writers also can find support through the Women Faculty Writing Program. Created in 2015 with just 17 members in two groups, the program has grown to include almost 100 members in 10 different groups, including those interested in grant writing and women of color groups. The program is the inspiration and model for writing programs at several other institutions across the U.S.

The university also supports two networks for women, the Women Full Professor Network and the Women Staff Network. Both are supported by the President's Gender Equity Council and WSG, and were created to help women connect with and support women in similar roles in an effort to increase equity and inclusion across campus.

Texas Tech also will celebrate Women's History Month with several events, including an exhibit, "Women of Texas Tech," in the University Library; a film series, "Sexism | Cinema" at Alamo Drafthouse; and various lectures throughout the month. The full list of events can be found on the Women's & Gender Studies website.

"Through our collaborative women faculty spotlight initiative, Texas Tech University demonstrates our commitment to not simply citing our values through our strategic plan, but delivering on our promises," said Carol A. Sumner, chief diversity officer and DDEI vice president. "It is particularly poignant that during Women's History/Herstory Month, we are able to recognize the presence, value and contributions of our women faculty to their fields of scholarship. Highlighting the diversity of our faculty and increasing representation of women in academia provides an example to the women among our students, fellow faculty, staff and the greater community of what they also can achieve.

"Representation and visibility matters. Congratulations to each and every woman on their recognition. We look forward to more opportunities to do the same."

The inaugural cohort of women faculty recognized through the new initiative includes:

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