President Whitten addresses the Women of IU conference: News at IU: Indiana University

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, women from across Indiana University came together in person for a day of networking and professional development at the IU Women’s Conference.

Held at the historic Madam Walker Legacy Center in Indianapolis, the day of learning began with a keynote address from IU President Pamela Whitten, the first woman to lead the university.

Whitten discussed her journey to become IU president and highlighted some of the work she has done during her first year, including establishing a Tuition and Fees Task Force, a Climate Action Planning Committee, a Task Force on Graduate Education and the Presidential Diversity Hiring Initiative.

Whitten also answered questions during a conversation with the vice president of regional campuses and online education, Susan Sciame-Giesecke. Whitten said that the most rewarding part of his job in a year has been the time he has spent with the IU community.

“We have ambitions to do better for our students and for each other, so the opportunity to have those conversations, sometimes they’re very quick conversations, people running out, starting things, it’s very rewarding,” he said. .

Sciame-Giesecke also asked Whitten about the most challenging part of her job. Whitten said it’s sometimes hard not to impose his personal views related to current events, such as recent Supreme Court decisions, on the institution. But he also encouraged others in the IU community to speak out when they are passionate about these issues.

“I will say that it is vitally important to me that we continue to not only recognize but also foster an environment of free speech and the right of everyone to express themselves however they wish about things,” Whitten said. “Certainly, since there are people at Indiana University who want to personally represent their feelings, that’s welcome. It’s important for us to acknowledge and uphold ours, which is why we’ve released statements related to the work of Dr. (Caitlin) Bernard , and we continue to defend it.”

See also  In conversation with Julia Raiskin, Director of Asia Pacific Markets at Citi

The conference also featured a discussion on Title IX between Karen Bravo, Dean of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI, and Jayma Meyer, Visiting Clinical Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU. Bloomington. The legislation, which turned 50 this year, opened up academic and professional opportunities for women by prohibiting sex discrimination at federally funded institutions.

Meyer grew up swimming competitively, but found little to no opportunities in high school or college for women in the 1970s. Her experience has inspired her legal career, which focuses on Title IX violations.

The conference concluded with a keynote address by Indianapolis native A’Lelia Bundles, author of “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam CJ Walker,” who was the nonfiction source for “Self Made,” the Netflix series starring Octavia Spencer. . Bundles is the inaugural Prestigious Fellow of the Center for African Studies and Culture at the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts.

Bundles talked about how the stories we learn about others can influence how we perceive and treat them. Growing up in the 1950s, he said, the history he read included few stories about women and almost none about black women.

“Now I write biographies so that children of the future can read these books,” said Bundles.

Bundles said he wants future generations to read and hear stories that are often overlooked and represent a more complete and accurate history of the state and nation.