Twenty-two members and two special advisers were selected to serve on the Gender Equity Task Force, a committee created in March 2018 to address issues of gender inequity among the university’s staff and senior leadership, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced April 13.
Jane Aiken, vice dean and professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, has been selected to lead the 22-member task force. Aiken served on a similar task force at the University of South Carolina and chaired the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on AIDS before coming to Georgetown.
Members of the task force represent the main campus, the Medical Center and the Law Center, as well as a wide array of departments, including the African American Studies department and the oncology department among many others.
Diversity was a key consideration when selecting members for the task force, according to Aiken.
“I’m working closely with President DeGioia to assemble a diverse team of faculty from different disciplines with expertise that would be helpful to this work,” Aiken said in a March interview with The Hoya. “Georgetown is a large and diverse place, and tapping into the broad expertise we have here is both a challenge and an exciting opportunity.”
The task force, which held its inaugural meeting this week, aims to further gender equity among the university’s staff and senior leadership, Aiken said.
Aiken oversaw the selection process, which consisted of meetings with over 100 faculty members and a consultation period. The process concluded with nominations from the faculty senate and official appointments by the president.
The faculty senate is a 75-member governing body that includes faculty members from all three Georgetown campuses. It advises the university on academic, administrative and financial issues, and appoints faculty to other committees including the University Committee on Rank and Tenure, the Grievance Code Committee and the Faculty Responsibilities Committee.
The task force is set to meet once more as a full body before organizing into smaller sub-committees, according to Rachel Pugh, Georgetown’s senior director for strategic communications.
These smaller committees are delving deeper into research that will address the task force’s four main areas of focus: studying practices that have improved gender equity among the Georgetown faculty, assessing how current practices affect gender equity among faculty and senior leadership, recommending steps to improve gender equity among faculty and senior leadership and recommending methods to measure continuing progress.
Rosemary Kilkenny, vice president for institutional diversity and equity, and Lisa Brown, vice president and general counsel for the university, are serving as special advisers to the task force but will remain separate from the general body members because of their current roles in Georgetown’s administration, according to Aiken.
“Rosemary Kilkenny and Lisa Brown have unique expertise to offer in their roles at the university and we look forward to consulting them on a range of topics and will use them as resources to gather additional information and insight,” Aiken wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Because they are involved in the governance of our existing policies, we created special advisor roles to leverage their expertise while maintaining the independence of the task force.”
Kilkenny said she looks forward to the ways this task force will further Georgetown’s commitment to gender equity.
“A great deal of progress has been made toward gender equity at Georgetown,” Kilkenny said. “This task force builds on the efforts of so many community members, who in the past have worked to establish these programs and many others, and gives us the opportunity to do even more.”
Aiken said she is eager to begin her work as a part of the task force.
“We are fortunate to have a number of people who are willing to serve as an advisory group. I hope to work with them over the summer and during the year to gain expertise and insight useful to the work of the task force,” Aiken said.
DeGioia echoed this sentiment in the April 13 news release.
“I am deeply grateful to these members of our University community for their willingness to engage in this effort and share their scholarship and expertise,” DeGioia wrote. “In this moment, we have the opportunity to look ahead to the important and necessary work that remains to achieve greater gender equity in our community.”