posted July 1, 2010

Joanne Stewart Participates in Summit on Women’s Leadership

Dr. Joanne Stewart, professor of chemistry at Hope College, was one of 51 senior women professors in chemistry and physics from 46 liberal arts colleges who gathered in Washington, D.C., recently for the first-ever summit meeting focused on the advancement of senior women scientists at liberal arts colleges.

Her participation included being among the six panelists featured during the event's second session, "Integrating Work into One's Life - Examining Aspects of Time and Stress Management for Senior Women Faculty."

The two-day working meeting, held on Thursday and Friday, June 3-4, focused on the distinctive environments of undergraduate liberal arts institutions and the challenges faced by senior women science faculty on these campuses to attain leadership roles and professional recognition.   Also present at the summit were representatives from professional organizations who advocate for faculty development and for women's leadership and gender equity on a daily basis, including the Association for Women in Science, the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee, and the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Summit participants considered the practices, infrastructure, and campus climate needed to support and enhance the professional careers, visibility, and leadership of women science faculty on liberal arts campuses.  A set of recommendations for individuals, departments, institutions, professional societies, and funding agencies to promote the professional development of women science faculty at liberal arts colleges were crafted and will be disseminated in a final report to be issued later this summer.

The meeting was organized by the co-principal investigators of a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation, and Dissemination (PAID) program.  Leading the project are four full professors of chemistry: Professor Kerry Karukstis, Harvey Mudd College; Professor Laura Wright, Furman University; Professor Miriam Rossi, Vassar College; and Professor Bridget Gourley, DePauw University.

The project created four "alliances" to study the effectiveness of peer mentoring to enhance the professional development of senior women chemistry and physics faculty members at liberal arts institutions.  Three of the five-member alliances focus on full professors in chemistry, the fourth involves full professors in physics.  Stewart was involved in a chemistry-mentoring group that also included faculty from Colby College of Waterville, Maine; Alma College; Lewis and Clark College of Portland, Ore.; and Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

"All of us felt that we benefitted strongly from the opportunity to talk to other women in senior positions," Stewart said.

Stewart is a professor of chemistry at Hope, where she has taught since 1988. Her professional interests are in the scholarship of teaching and learning and in using emerging web technologies to build an international community of inorganic chemistry scholars. She is the director of Hope's Howard Hughes Medical Institute program, a 1.4 million dollar program that supports research, teaching, and outreach in the sciences.

She has recently been appointed to the college's Board of Trustees as a faculty representative.  In September 2009 she delivered the all-campus address "Growing into a life of leadership and service: Putting the pieces together at Hope" through the "Last Lecture Series" organized by the college's Alcor chapter of the national Mortar Board honorary society.

Stewart has mentored more than 50 undergraduates in collaborative research, in both her current initiatives and in her work in synthetic inorganic chemistry.

She is among the select group of chemists from around the nation leading "IONiC," for "Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists," a program supported by the NSF to develop an online resource to help professors of inorganic chemistry work together to improve their teaching.  She was one of only 21 college and university faculty internationally named a Carnegie Scholar for 2005-06 by the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), which seeks to establish and refine standards for the critical review of teaching and learning by faculty members in college and university classrooms.

Through the years, Stewart has made presentations on cooperative learning at off-campus workshops sponsored by Project Kaleidoscope, the NSF and the Pew Mid-States Consortium, among others.   In addition to her other work at Hope, she has been a workshop leader during the college's Teaching Enhancement Workshop for new faculty.

Stewart is a 1982 graduate of Kalamazoo College.  She completed her doctorate at the University of California-Berkeley in 1988.