System leaders visit for event addressing female aspirations
By Lin Lofley
Female faculty members and executives from most of the 15 institutions across the UT System gathered recently for a day-long meeting at UT Southwestern Medical Center to discuss 2014 goals for the advancement of women.
The group proposed that a System-wide workshop be held for women to prepare them for mid- to high-level leadership roles. Proposals from the group’s brainstorming session included:
- Nominating individuals who have high potential and an appetite for leadership; and
- Creating a workshop for those candidates. Those who lead the envisioned workshop would use programs already in use, such as Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM), and UT Southwestern’s leadership course, among other examples.
The meeting was hosted by the Office of Women’s Careers and by the Women in Science and Medicine Advisory Committee (WISMAC), with Dr. Patricia Hurn, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the UT System, moderating the discussions.
The group was welcomed by Dr. Carole Mendelson, Professor of Biochemistry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern and co-chair of WISMAC. Dr. Mendelson introduced Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern, who spoke about the growth of the medical center as an institution and about ongoing efforts to increase diversity of staff and faculty as one of the strategic priorities of his leadership.
Dr. Hurn introduced UT System Chancellor Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, who spoke via videoconference on his goals and participated in a 30-minute interactive discussion about priorities and plans.
“It is our goal that the UT System will be a national model for women executives and senior faculty,” said Dr. Cigarroa, a UT Southwestern alumnus who pointed to the diversity in leadership of the UT System. “I am proud of that diversity at my table of leadership.”
Topics covered in Dr. Cigarroa’s question-and-answer session included:
- Whether a central UT System office for coordinating women and diversity issues might be valuable, especially in addressing all under-represented minorities, female and male;
- Research on women’s representation as endowment holders;
- Instituting training that would create a hands-on understanding of how search committees work and how to spot unconscious gender bias; and
- The importance of promoting from within to increase retention.
“I personally am proud when ‘export’ happens,” Dr. Cigarroa said, “but I believe one of the most important jobs of department chairs is to provide an environment for the success of faculty. Every day should be directed at retaining faculty, but our success is measured by advancement both within and without.”
Also recognized during the day was Dr. Raymond S. Greenberg, UT System’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. Dr. Greenberg received the annual Award for Excellence presented by the organization Women Executives in Science and Healthcare (WESH).
Dr. Elizabeth Travis, Associate Vice President for Women Faculty Programs at UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and immediate past president of WESH, presented the award to Dr. Greenberg, who came to the UT System in September 2013 from the presidency at Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. Greenberg succeeded Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, who oversaw the six UT System health institutions for the last decade, and is now a Special Advisor to Dr. Cigarroa.
Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.