In 1991, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) issued the report Reaching the Vision: Women in Arizona's Universities in the Year 2000. The goal of this report was not only to acknowledge and highlight major problems affecting women in the Arizona University system, but it also sought to provide recommendations towards improving the status of women in three major areas: equity, career development and climate. Accordingly, following the release of Reaching the Vision, the ASU President established the ASU Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The purpose of this commission was both to monitor the advancement of ABOR's recommendations and to advise the President on the overall progress of the institution towards equity.
Each year, members of the Commission dedicate countless hours towards investigating issues of inequality and towards finding solutions to these problems. Due to their hard work and dedication, by 1998 the ASU-CSW was able to report to the Regents that 80% of ASU's goals and objectives were at or near completion.
In 2001, ASU marked the ten year anniversary of the Commission, and in 2002, CSW developed a new Strategic Planning Initiative designed to highlight the issues and needs affecting the status of women at ASU. Focusing on six priority areas including Climate and Culture, Accountability, Compensation and Resources, Voice and Visibility, Training and Development, and Safety, CSW has developed both an immediate action and a long term remedy plan to improve these six priority areas over the next five years.
The original structure of the CSW involved having a large group composed of representatives from each employment category across all ASU campuses. In 2004 however, the CSW reorganized its structure to meet growing needs of ASU. Accordingly, as ASU has become “one university in many places,” the CSW is now one commission in many places.
Currently, the CSW is divided into four campus committees located at the Downtown, Tempe, West, and Polytechnic campuses. All four campus committees are governed by an Executive Committee and supported by the CSW Coordinator. The Executive Committee organizes the work of the CSW, sets over-arching goals under which the campus commissions develop projects, and runs the CSW Awards Program. Members of the Executive Committee include all four campus committee chairs, the President and Provost’s Ex-Officio to the Commission, and the CSW Coordinator. ( For a more detailed explanation of the CSW's new structure, see our Membership page.)
Despite its structural changes, the Commission on the Status of Women has been and continues to be dedicated to identifying, advocating for and increasing the awareness of needed change in order to enhance opportunities for women at the university.
For the past few years, the CSW has worked under the theme of “Climate and Culture.” Listed below is a small sample of the many projects and issues that the CSW has accomplished:
- In 2006, worked in conjunction with Faculty Women’s Association to administer a faculty satisfaction survey.
- In 2006, the CSW spearheaded and lead a movement on behalf of a number of diversity organizations to have interview time with all of the final Provost’s candidates. The initiative was successful, and the “diversity coalition” was granted the opportunity to not only meet with the Provost candidates in a closed forum, but also provide detail feedback and recommendations to the President.
- In 2006, the CSW ran a safety survey of faculty, staff and students at the West Campus. Results from the survey indicated a need to raise greater awareness of safety resources available to members of the ASU community. Accordingly, the CSW designed and raised funds to have safety key tags produced for all members of the West Campus. Since that time, the CSW has raised funds and organized the distribution to Tempe Campus (2007), Downtown Campus (Fall 2008), and Polytechnic Campus (Fall 2008).
- During the 2007-2008 academic year, the CSW advocated for a review of the SPP 601 Policy regarding Professional Development for Staff. In particular, the CSW called for revisions of the policy to clarify the approval process for professional development and to make professional development more accessible to classified staff. As a result of the efforts, the CSW coordinated the work of an HR Ad-Hoc Committee to develop specific recommendations, which were submitted to the HR administration in May 2008 and is now pending final approval.
- In Fall 2008, the CSW submitted to the Provost a list of our “top ten concerns” which included issues such as domestic partner benefits, childcare, professional development for staff, parking costs, and the need for cost of living increases. The CSW Executive Committee then met with the Provost, VP for Human Resources, and the Chief Financial Office of the University to discuss these various concerns and issues. The meeting was productive in opening communication about these issues/concerns. More importantly however, our advocacy efforts have helped in achieving a “concrete” solution to some of these issues. For example, our advocacy related to Professional Development resulted in the establishment of an SPP 601 Ad Hoc Committee to review the professional development policy. Additionally, our advocacy for a representative body for Service Professionals helped in the establishment of the new University Staff Council.
CSW studies conducted include:
- Women's Promotion to Full Rank at ASU: A Report on Status and Recommendations
- Employment and Salaries of Women Staff and Faculty at ASU Main: A Five Year Analysis
- Gender Differences in Student Experience: An Analysis of the Graduating Senior
- Faculty Satisfaction and Workplace Climate Survey conducted in conjunction with Faculty Women's Association (Spring 06)
CSW recommendations adopted:
- Creation of a representative body for Service Professionals (Fall 2008)
- Revisions to SPP 601 Policy Regarding Professional Development for Staff (Fall 2008)
- Revised sexual harassment policy and student code of conduct
- Equity adjustments of faculty salaries
- Expansion of the safety escort service
- Release time policy for staff training
- Establishment of the Work/Life Task Force
- Establishment of the Employee Resource Center