Eighty Western Carolina University women came together for a networking brunch Wednesday (March 15) to mark the renewal of the WCU chapter of the American Association of University Women.
One of the first initiatives of the revived WCU chapter will be to develop a mentoring program for women, and the brunch program focused on the benefits of mentoring and the skills needed to be an effective mentor, said Mickey Randolph, president of the chapter’s steering committee and WCU professor of psychology. The program was led by Dorrie Sieburg, program manager for AAUW’s salary negotiation program and Smart Start and Work Smart workshops. Sieburg lives and works in Asheville.
The AAUW is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls, Randolph said. The WCU chapter, originally established about five years ago, focuses on determining the needs of, and promoting advocacy for, the women faculty, staff and students at WCU. “As a campus branch of the North Carolina chapter of AAUW, we are fortunate to be able to participate in all of the opportunities AAUW offers,” she said. “Equally important, we are able to design specific initiatives based on what the members of our specific branch need or want with the support of the national organization.”
Any woman on campus – faculty, staff or student – will be able to participate in the mentoring program as a mentor or mentee. Aimed at helping women develop skills to meet career goals, the mentoring program is expected to be in place next fall, said Carol Burton, a member of the chapter’s steering committee and WCU associate provost for undergraduate studies.
“Although mentoring is the chapter’s signature program, we will periodically offer additional sessions on topics such as successful women leaders, workplace performance and salary negotiation, as well as socials purely for informal networking,” Burton said. “We are delighted to welcome staff and students as well as faculty to the organization. The brunch event was a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month.”
Other members of the WCU chapter’s steering committee are Yue Cai Hillon, associate professor of management; Jamie Vaske, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice; Jenny Stewart, coordinator of academic advising and special programs in the College of Education and Allied Professions; and Holly Pinter, assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning.
Burton said the committee is planning to meet about every six weeks and the full membership is expected to get together at least once each semester, with ongoing communication between meetings.
More information about the WCU chapter is available by contacting Randolph at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-227-3359, or Burton at email@example.com or 828-227-7497. Additional information about the nonpartisan national organization can be found at aauw.org. WCU is an institutional member of the AAUW, and the resources on the website are available to everyone on campus, Burton said.