An Indiana University office that provides scholarships for women, grants and family support could be closing its doors after more than 40 years. Officials have organized an advisory committee to determine the fate of the Office of Women’s Affairs.
The Office of Women’s Affairs has several initiatives, such as the Women in Science Program (WISP), which focuses on promoting women in science and mathematics.
“I think there’s still a need for this office,” says WISP board member Sharlene Newman, adding that the benefits are shared by all individuals, especially families.
The University is considering restructuring, consolidating or even closing the Office of Women’s Affairs after Dean Yvette Alex-Assensoh announced earlier this year she would be taking at position at the University of Oregon. She declined requests to be interviewed for this story.
Newman says it may be beneficial to redefine the office, and she says one of the most pertinent jobs of OWA is balancing work life.
“I think there’s an incorrect thought that we don’t need an office of Women’s Affairs because women have progressed quite significantly over the past four years in academia,” Newman says.
IU Interim Provost Lauren Robel issued a statement saying: “I have a deep commitment to the success of women faculty, staff, and students that comes from my own life experience.”
Six IU staff members including three previous deans of the Office for Women’s Affairs will be part of a working group that will decide the future of the office. The group’s first meeting is April 11.