Chat with Jackie woods, 9/25/2001

Originally posted on Archived by AAUW ME at Archived again here at


AAUW Online Live

On September 25, 2001, at 3 p.m. ET, members have the opportunity to talk with AAUW Executive

Director Jacqueline Woods in a live, moderated discussion about the future direction of our organization.

AAUW Executive Director, Jacqueline Woods

Jackie Woods: Hello everyone. I’m really pleased to be here and to be the first speaker for AAUW Online Live. The staff and I feel that this activity will be one way we can communicate more directly with larger segments of our membership. I’m looking forward to sharing many program ideas and answering any questions that you may have. In the future, we would like to bring other guest speakers, both from within the AAUW family and people external to our organization who will have valuable information to guide our advocacy, philanthropic, and program activities. We welcome your suggestions for future topics and speakers. . . The AAUW Online question box will remain active, even when a chat is not scheduled.

So, instead of asking a question, just label your submission “Suggestions/Comments”. While we won’t be able to act on or answer every suggestion, we’ll do our best to make the things members want most happen.

By way of introduction, I am going to answer several of the initial questions that we’ve received regarding my background. I’ve been in higher education for over 30 years serving at institutional, association, and government levels. I came to AAUW having served most recently as an appointee of the Clinton administration to the US Department of Education, where I was director of the community college liaison office. My staff and I served all 1200 of this nation’s community colleges by addressing major educational issues on our domestic and international agendas. Since arriving at AAUW, I have been focused on working with the membership, the volunteer leadership, and the national staff on developing and implementing a transition agenda that will help AAUW grow and continue to serve the needs of women and girls in education and equity. Without repeating the 21st Century Call to Action platform under which all of our transition activities should be based, there are four major themes that should direct our work.

They are:
1. Growing our membership, meaning increasing our actual numbers in all membership categories.
2. Diversifying our membership, which means increasing intergenerational, ethnic, and all other groups of
women and men interested in supporting AAUW’s causes.
3. Forming new partnerships, reaching out into our local, state, national, and global communities to share issues, expertise, and program strategies with many others with similar interests.
4. Developing new revenue streams that will help support our organizational and program efforts. These revenue streams will be used in addition to the wonderful support we currently receive from our members.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your support of AAUW. This is your organization and we are here to support your needs and program efforts.


Mary Cerkvenik, Chisholm, Minnesota: Considering the turmoil surrounding last year’s presidential elections, does AAUW have plans to make a big political effort in the 2002 elections. I think women need to make sure our voice is heard.

Jackie Woods: Absolutely. AAUW will continue with its non-partisan Voter Education Campaign to inform women of the issues at stake in Congress. Since 1994, AAUW members across the country have used the Voter Education Campaign to show women how the actions in Congress affect their lives and make it clear where the candidates for Congress stand on the issues at stake. While the 2000 presidential elections presented unprecedented turmoil, AAUW’s priority issues have been at stake for a lot longer than the past year. Therefore, after the 1994 election of the Newt Gingrich-lead 105th Congress, which posed great threats to AAUW priority issues, the AAUW Board of Directors met in early 1995 to set forth a 1996 Voter Education Campaign strategy. An all-out effort was started to inform “drop-off” women voters on how the actions in Congress affected the lives of women and families. The 1996 and 1998campaigns succeeded in educating thousands of women on the issues, and reaching more than 1.5 million women through Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) efforts. Further, AAUW members can be proud of the overwhelming success of the 1999-2000 Voter Education Campaign. In fact, AAUW conducted voter education and GOTV activities in 43 states, more than ever before. Overall, AAUW members reached approximately two million women voters by holding candidate and issue forums, generating visibility with the media, conducting phone banks, and mailing and distributing voter guides in 136 congressional districts and 14 U.S. Senate races.

In addition, AAUW member leaders used partnerships with diverse coalition organizations as a vehicle to inform a broad cross-section of women on the issues at stake in the 2000 elections. Public policy staff are working with AAUW member leaders on the national, state, and branch levels to plan and gear up for 2002. If you would like more information on the Campaign, please feel free to contact Field Director Ellen Buchman – . Thanks so much for your inquiry.


Jennifer Polo (age 26), Yardley, PA: I would like to know what your plans are to encourage younger membership in AAUW. While Shape the Future is an interesting membership campaign, its stated membership recruitment target is baby boomers. AAUW specifically needs younger blood or this organization doesn’t have a future.

Jackie Woods: A branch must first understand what younger women are looking for in their volunteer affiliations and must then create an environment that welcomes such participation. Talk with the younger women in your communities and ask them how they would like to become involved. Research shows that younger generations seek short-term volunteer activities – projects that have a start and an end and that yield positive and measurable results. They like to engage quickly and tend to move on when they do not feel that they are making an impact. The branch environment must be welcoming and convenient. Hold meetings in a non-threatening and accessible locations and at a time that doesn’t prohibit younger member involvement. Take on issues and programs that are of interest to younger women. Encourage them to take on assignments quickly. Their passion will drive them. During branch meetings, keep your meeting agendas lively and informative. Use that time to engage members in activities that sparks their interest, generates thinking, and produces positive results. Keep reporting to a minimum. Be open to new ideas and perpectives. The “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality will drive younger members away.

Encourage younger members to connect with other younger members throughout the country by joining the AAUW Younger Member Caucus. They’ll receive an on-line newsletter that keeps younger members connected. A new on-line Emerging Leader Network is also a new project in the works.


Neysa Picklum, Cedar Falls, Iowa: Our branch is in a university town. We run on an academic year, and find it difficult to plan and complete a project within the timelines established for the new recognition program. If the “event” planning is completed but the event does not occur until April, can that project be used for recognition?

Jackie Woods: The 21st Century Recognition Program is designed to reward and acknowledge the planning and/or the implementation of a program or project. Because branches will have projects planned at different times of the year, we want to reward the various phases of the program. You will notice in the application that we are rewarding the steps taken to get there. We stress the strategic planning process and ask that comprehensive priority areas be addressed. If your program is planned by the application deadline, you will receive credit for those steps but will not be eligible for the highest recognition. You can submit the completed program for full recognition the following year.


Tonna Kutner, Seattle, WA: I know we encourage girls to embrace technology. Will there be any funding or programs designed to improve the computer technology of AAUW members?

Jackie Woods: Yes, we have had a lot of inquiry about technology program development for members. I am trying to encourage branch to branch sharing because there are several branches with computer experts as members and who have the skills and interest in sharing with others. Nancy Shoemaker, a member in Raleigh, North Carolina, has formed a technology special interest group at the AAUW Convention and we have encouraged them to share their expertise with branches across the country. The Raleigh, North Carolina page of the state website is attached:


Bets Brown, South China, Maine: What are your plans for increasing the number of women that can be funded by our grant programs?

Jackie Woods: Bets, The Educational Foundation awarded $3.5 million last year. Next year we will increase the amount to almost $4.5 million. Our first goal has been to raise the award levels to make themcompetitive with other award programs. In addition to raising the award amounts, we are also increasing the number of awards given in international fellows and the post doctoral awards and fellowships and we are accomplishing this through more extensive outreach and recruitment.


Mitzi Witchger, Indianapolis, IN:  What does the future hold in the wake of the 9.11. tragedy? What is AAUW’s stance on advocacy now? For example. what will to AAUW position be if the Gerald Reynolds become the designate for the Office of Civil Rights? How do we remain positive in our suggestions for a better nominee?

Jackie Woods: I know the future seems bleak to all of us right now but I am counting on all Americans to see this tragedy as a means for strengthening our resolve to teach and practice tolerance, diversity and understanding. AAUW’s statement on our web site speaks to that philosophy on the tragedy. AAUW can continue to advocate on behalf of education, social justice and public health issues as a means of increasing domestic and global progress on these issues. Planning a Woman to Woman community dialogue on social justice is a good way to take action locally.

We are looking carefully at Gerald Reynolds nomination. We would likely oppose him because he is against affirmative action. To get a better nominee put forward we would look to the Department of Justice model used recently and seek out someone who was not against civil rights and who was willing to discuss the pros and cons of the issues with all affected groups.


Mitzi Witchger, Indianapolis, IN:Â Â What if any plans are there for a recognition event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the passage of Title IX on Sunday, June 23, 2002? Are there suggestions for individual Branches?

Jackie Woods: We have not as yet formulated any plans. Individual branches should perhaps look to the achievements of their local communities since the Title IX passage and plan a recognition program around them.


Hollie Bagley, Hingham, MA: Is there any movement toward the investigation of a single dues structure national membership category which would include membership at the national, state and local levels?  There are many organizations where you join at the national level and you are automatically included at the state and local level. You don’t have a choice. I see the MAL category as contributing to the grassroots demise of AAUW.  In order to be an activist organization at the local and state level we need branch and state members to carry on AAUW’s programs and raise funds. If there was a single dues structure members could choose their own level of participation: merely contributing monetarily as present MALs do to becoming activists in their own community as branch members can do (for more dues!)

Jackie Woods: This is a good suggestion!! We are currently visiting many different structural models to use in discussing membership and dues challenges. I will definitely include this model in the package.


Susan Moen, Seattle, WA: Our biggest problem is the declining membership with the elderly women not willing to chair or become involved in the branch anymore. I acknowledge their life long involvement, but at 25 years of membership I too am ready for some new blood. How do we attract and keep new members?

Jackie Woods: Attracting new members on a local level requires personal contact and interaction.  I strongly suggest that the branch invite non-members to meetings, dialogues, seminars to engage them in networking with AAUW and then soliciting their input as to what it will take for them to join. Many non-members have stereotyped views of us that can be dispelled with these exchanges and personal interactions. Once they have joined it is important that they don’t feel like they have to go “into training” before assuming major roles. We must encourage their active participation right away.


Chris O’Reilly, Pontiac, Michigan: What reports and research initiatives will the Foundation be undertaking in the next year?

Jackie Woods: Chris, Following the successful release of the Third Shift: Women in Onlive Learning, the EF is gearing up for releasing a series on Gender Issues in Higher Education, the New Economy and Technology. Joan Williams, our scholar in residence, is working on a report on work-family issues. The Foundation and LAF are jointly looking at tenure issues and analyzing our past cases and will release a report in early 2003. The working title is Tales from the Tenure Files. These are just some of the initiatives we are working on right now.


John Erickson, Springfield, IL:  Will AAUW seek membership in IFUW for all its members? As a male member of AAUW, I was disappointed to learn that IFUW does not accept male members. Since AAUW is an important member of IFUW and since it has men in its membership, cannot we seek to modify IFUW’s criterion so that countries which do permit men to be members have the option of enrolling those who wish to to be IFUW members, also?

Jackie Woods: John, Even though AAUW seeks membership from both males and females, IFUW is a membership organization of women’s federations only. It is an organizational membership not an individual membership entity like ours. By sharing what AAUW does, we can still speak for the men and women in our membership when we address global social and public policy issues.


Evelyn M. Currie, Burnt Hills, NY: Does recruiting of MALs undermine the strength of the Branch work in furthering the AAUW goals?

Jackie Woods: Evelyn, Recruitment of MALS serves to strengthen and compliment the programmatic endeavors of branches if permitted to do so. We have heard of several branches that have included MALS in their programming and implementation of their programs. MALS bring diverse experiences and networks to the branch work.

Just as our nation is strong by the inclusion of new voices, the same model works for us and is at the heart of AAUW’s mission and goals.


Brena Walker, Anderson, South Carolina: Our branch received a resignation letter from a life member who is very concerned that AAUW is not changing to meet the needs of men and boys as well as women (in education, in eqity issues, in domestic –home– issues, and others.) What can I say to her?

Jackie Woods: Brena, We are working to change the educational environment for both boys and girls. Several of our research reports and branches programs that have Sister to Brother summits are recognizing and including both sexes in their programs. AAUW must represent and include different voices and different faces.


Michele Wetherald, St. Clairsville, Ohio:Â Â How is AAUW trying to expand the Legal Advocacy Fund work to end discrimination on college and university campuses and share its success stories????

Jackie Woods:Â Â Michele, The LAF is very good at supporting litigations on college campuses. We also have the opportunity to provide legal and civil rights education to colleges and their staffs through workplace training programs and policy training. Right now, the staff and I are planning to put into place such a program. It seems like it will be of interest to affirmative action officers, college attorneys as well as women students, staff and faculty. It will put the college administration’s is good light because they have addressed rights and responsibilities upfront instead of just after a problem has occurred.


Patty Hankins, Bethesda MD: Is AAUW likely to be taking positions on any welfare reauthorization bills during the 107th Congress? And if we are, are there specific aspects of reauthorization that we’ll be focusing on?

Jackie Woods: Patty, AAUW is currently working with bi-partisan members of congress and their staffs to analyze welfare reform legislation that will be considered early next year. To that end, PP staff are drafting a new position paper and will make it available before the end of 2001.


Margaret Clark, Flagstaff, AZ:Â Â Hi there, I wanted to let you know that our state board met in August and developed the state to branch goals in connection with the new Recognition program. This program is going to be a boost to our state and to our branches because we are now more goal oriented to what our members need. We are also in the process of developing a more goal oriented budget – thank you Jackie Woods: Margaret,

Thank you so very much for your understanding of and willingness to work with the new recognition program. We are pleased that your state board sees it as a positive tool for planning and executing your programs. Good luck with your programming this year. We look forward to receiving your application.


Trish Johnson, Rock Hill, SC: Why was a chat room set up during business hours? In order to include a large number of members, a later time or a weekend would have been more working woman friendly.

Jackie Woods: We realize that conducting AAUW Online Live during business hours might be inconvenient to many of our members who are working women. No one time is going to be perfect for everyone. For those who cannot be with us today, the full chat is being archived, so that members can log on at anytime during and after this chat and not miss a word.

I might also add that this type of format is used quite successfully by many organizations–and generally during regular business hours, when most people have access to a computer. Most working women can arrange their schedules to accommodate an hour or even a few minutes, if given sufficient notice.

Remember too, that you are able to send your questions in beforehand, so your questions still have a chance of being answered, even if you’re not here. Because this is our first live chat, only members will be able to participate. We hope it is successful enough to schedule many more live chats at different times, open to the public, and featuring many exciting guest speakers from all areas of interest to AAUW.


Jo Harberson, Walnut Creek, CA: As a result of your attendance at the IFUW Ottawa conference, what role should AAUW play in IFUW’s program goals?

Jackie Woods: JO, Thank you for your question. My attendance at IFUW this year was a real eye-opener about the role and responsibility of AAUW in this international organization. We are a real model of programming and partnership for many of the smaller and more isolated federations. The AAUW attendees did a lot to strengthen our relationships with other member federations. We also had opportunities to share our publications and program strategies and challenges. We need to also share with our AAUW members more information about the global public policy issues and education programs that are parallel and different form our own to enhance our understanding of the international issues for women and girls.  There are excited opportunities for AAUW to partner and network with these global federations in the future.


Phyllis S. Thompson,Fort Wayne,Indiana: What is AAUW doing to encourage Branches to work more closely with the college and/or university within their own communities?

Jackie Woods: Phyllis, We are encouraging AAUW branches to work more closely with the colleges by sharing information about our public policy priorities, sharing information about fellowship and grant opportunities, and conducting shared programming activities. Two weeks ago, the Virginia Branches concluded their diamond anniversary activity by hosting the EF’s Third Shift release with several local colleges actively participating. Our colleges are important allies because they have students, staff and faculty that are eligible for membership, are active policy activists and would love our help with mentoring and other support activities. I encourage all branches to actively partner with their colleges and universities.


Jackie Woods: AAUW members, You have really participated in this first chat. I thank you for your many excellent questions and suggestions. We will leave all questions and answers on the website for your review and consultation at a later time. We just couldn’t answer all the questions in the short amount of time we had we you. Many of you have good answers to some of these questions. Please share your answers with your colleagues. Some of you have already inquired about future conversations and more contemporary ways of having this chat.  Keep in mind, we are still working on our technology. We would like to keep up an active communication with you to serve you better. We welcome your input on how you want this done.

Have a good year. I look forward to working with you to move AAUW forward.

Jackie Woods

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