Designing a woman-friendly workplace: a prognosis and prescription for institutional health at the University of Guam.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Work environment (Demographic aspects)
Gender equality (Health aspects)
Community development (Demographic aspects)
Authors: Thompson, Helen
Hartig, Andrea Sant
Thurber, Diane
Pub Date: 10/01/2009
Publication: Name: Journal of International Women's Studies Publisher: Bridgewater State College Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Sociology and social work; Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Bridgewater State College ISSN: 1539-8706
Issue: Date: Oct, 2009 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 2
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 229530794
Full Text: Abstract

This article explores the campus activist and research efforts made possible through a Campus Action Project grant awarded by AAUW (2006-2007) to the University of Guam (UOG). Faculty-student researchers developed a workshop series addressing women's workplace concerns and conducted research investigating the health of UOG through selected key indicators of a woman-friendly institution. This article focuses on the research findings, the impact of the grant efforts, and recommendations for institutional changes.

Keywords: status of women, higher education, Guam


In Fall 2006 three faculty members from the Women and Gender Studies program at the University of Guam (UOG) were awarded a Campus Action Project (CAP) from the American Association of University Women Leadership and Training Institute. Exploring the theme of "higher education as the gateway to women's economic security," we shaped a student-centered project to raise the awareness of our students, faculty and the community by examining our university not just as a place of higher education but also as an infrastructure that organizes its labor in ways that are not always egalitarian. Ultimately our project, "Designing a Woman-friendly Workplace," invited participants to learn about and reflect on ways in which their current or future work-lives would be shaped by the policies, social dynamics, and physical environment of their workplaces. The CAP grant team of three faculty coordinators, four student leaders, and a budget of $5000, designed the two components of our project: 1) a series of four workshops each with a keynote speaker discussing issues relating to the workplace and 2) student-faculty research measuring the health of our institution using these same measures. Through these combined efforts we created a body of research and a collaborative model for future explorations of the University of Guam's health.

The two components of our project allowed us to realize different goals and maximize our time and our budget. We invited prominent leaders from the university and local communities to talk at our workshops in March 2007. Captain Janice Wynn, Navy Chief of Staff spoke about the history of women in the US Navy and her personal experiences of evolving gender policies and practices; Dr. Mary Spencer, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at UOG spoke about the unequal representation of women in the university and gave the attendees some specific advice on the importance of aspiring to top positions; representatives from the University Equal Employment Opportunity and Human Resource Offices, Louise Toves and Angela Diaz, answered questions regarding workplace discrimination and UOG policies regarding family and medical leave; and finally Guam Senator Judith Won Pat addressed the history of women in Guam politics and offered advice and motivation to the continued growth of women's participation in civil service. (4)

A Project Designed for Who We Are

This CAP grant gave us the unique opportunity to serve a population whose existence is a blindspot to a lot of Americans. Many do not know where Guam is, that it is a United States unincorporated territory in the Western Pacific, that it has a diverse Asian and Pacific Islander population, and that the indigenous Chamorros have been influenced by early Spanish colonizers but are not Hispanic. While the United States mainland usually assigns Asian/Pacific Islanders to one group, Guam's population breaks open this category to reflect a diverse range of ethnic traditions existing on this small island. If the census categorized Guam's inhabitants as Asian/Pacific Islander (including the bi- and multiracial population), the population would appear to be homogenous with this category accounting for 91% of the populuation (n=154,805). However, the 2000 Guam census records a different picture of Guam's population, one that is unique to the United States and its territories. Indigenous Chamorros constitute 37% of the population with Filipinos the next largest ethnic group. Guam's white population is relatively small, a large proportion of which is military personnel from the Navy and Airforce bases at both ends of the island (see Fig 1 below).

The demographics of the student body do not deviate significantly from those of the larger island. In Fall 2007, 40% of the student body was Chamorro and 36% Filipino with only 5.8% white students (n=3111). (5) However, the statistical data on faculty is quite different and mirrors more closely the mainland United States. (6) While the white population constituted less than 7% of Guam's population, at the University of Guam in 2006 whites constituted 53.67% of the faculty, only 17.5% of the faculty was Chamorro, and Filipinos constituted an even smaller proportion at 3.95% (n=176). Similarly, while Guam's population by gender was roughly equal (51% male and 49% female), UOG had a slightly higher female student population--35.2% male and 64.8% female in Fall 2007 (n=3111). Yet the University faculty differs dramatically from these statistics with males constituting 61.36% and females only 38.63%. Of the percentage of female faculty, it is important to note that over 60% are women of color. Hence, the demographics of the UOG faculty do not mirror those of the student body or the larger island.

Our workshops were designed around the unique experience of Guam and UOG with the above ethnic diversity. While a similar workshop on the mainland might situate the health of an institution by addressing concerns of minority populations like African Americans, Native Americans and Central and South Americans, our concerns in Guam center around the clashes of cultures brought about by colonization of an indigenous populuation by a white minority and the migration of people and their ethnic traditions from Asia and neighbouring Pacific Islands. (7) The AAUW CAP grant workshops were particularly important to highlight this clash of cultures and how it impacts local women as they enter the workforce.

We focused on the particular challenges women from Chamorro, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Filipino communities face as they take on professional responsibilities outside the home. For example, women from the island of Chuuk in FSM are subject to a stringent code of silence and modesty to ensure the incest taboo. Beatriz Moral (1998), anthropologist specializing in Micronesia, explains that "the fundamental rule of this taboo is that the brother should ignore his sister's sexuality and anything to do with it. Therefore the sister has to erase any kind of sexual connotation from her behaviour and body in the presence of her brothers" (p. 67). Such practices can and do interfere with womens' abilities to succeed in the workplace when they migrate to Guam since these workplaces are mostly patterned on a Western rather than a traditional model.

For our introductory workshop we selected a speaker who could address a significant issue for the larger community of Guam. Guam is preparing for a potential military buildup of personnel relocated from Okinawa, Japan, thus shifting Guam's current military population from around 6,500 to nearly 19,200 (Dumas 2008). One community group that has taken a particular interest in this issue is Fuetsan Famalao'an (Chamorro for "the strength of women"). Part of the recent work of this group has been to advocate on behalf of girls and women so that their concerns are included in all prefatory discussions and impact studies of this potential increase in the military presence of Guam. These concerns include employment opportunities for women; the impact of the military on the already low representation of women in Guam's legislative bodies (at the time of this research Guam had only 3 women senators of 15); (8) the continued segregation of local and military children in schools and thus unequal educational opportunities; and the potential increase of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assaults, and rape. Also in this region human trafficking is not uncommon with a case under investigation involving Chuukese women falsely promised restaurant work in Guam only to be forced into sex work in Tumon's tourist district upon arrival (Godlewski 2008a). In May 2008 owners of the Blue House nightclub along with three employees were indicted and also face federal charges for trafficking (Godlewski 2008b).

In her talk, "Introduction to Women in the Workplace: A Military Perspective," Captain Janice Wynn spoke about her experiences in the US Navy and her perceptions of the military's attitudes toward women in the service. Captain Wynn stated that during her watch she has seen institutional bad behaviors and gendered "traditions" disguised as norms. Despite some of these experiences, she related that the Navy has made significant strides. This important talk gave the workshop participants several concrete examples of gendered workplace issues as well as emphasizing the continuing need to build on the progress of the past and challenge present forms of discrimination. Given that more military-civilian jobs will be available on island if the buildup takes place, potential female employees need to be conscious of gender discrimination in this historically male-dominated workplace.

The remaining three workshops built on this discussion and targeted additional workplace issues of vital importance to the health, saftey, and gender parity of the woman worker. The workshops allowed students, faculty and community members to investigate ways in which their work-lives could give them perceptions of control, allow them time, space and resources to care for family, and to feel empowered as workers. We hoped to arm our participants with the tools to create healthy relationships with co-workers, supervisors and with the work environment itself. The tools we offered were knowledge from experts speaking to the workshops and the opportunity to ask questions, share experiences and gather advice from these experts and other workshop participants. The aim of these workshops was to increase awareness, promote the Women and Gender Studies program, and empower the participants with knowledge and resources. The research component of our CAP grant accomplished important goals regarding the health of the University of Guam as a workplace and this work will be addressed in the remainder of this article through explanations of our research into selected key indicators of a woman-friendly institution, the impact of our studies on our workshop attendees and University practices, and our recommendations for institutional change.

Assessing Woman-friendly Institutional Indicators

Given the limited resources of a $5000 grant and no release time we limited our investigations to a series of three key indicators of a woman-friendly workplace--1) women in leadership positions at UOG and student perceptions of female leaders locally and nationally; 2) the history of the UOG EEO office, campus safety and family-friendly benefits; and 3) salary, tenure and promotion of female faculty and faculty working conditions at UOG. The research we gathered took on a life of its own and the extent of the data warranted a larger document than this article can contain, something resembling a Report on the Status of Women at the University of Guam; hence, we have limited our discussion in this article to major trends within each indicator. These key indicators ultimately became a way for us to measure the health of our institution and how it nurtures and sustains the physical as well as the social and mental health of working women. We found the National Organization for Women's (NOW) Women-Friendly Workplace Campaign Employer's Pledge useful in giving us direction. (9) The Pledge explicitly addresses common factors of discrimination beyond sex, including race, sexual orientation, age, marital or family status, pregnancy, parenthood, disability, body size, and gendered appearance. In particular, the NOW pledge recognizes the gendered nature of care giving by explicitly stating the need for workplaces to accommodate the working parent through family-friendly policies. Additionally, NOW recognizes the importance of continued efforts to counter historical discrimination through affirmative action hiring and recruitment programs and practices that recognize diverse family units. NOW's pledge also includes extending employee benefits to domestic partners of same-sex as well as opposite-sex partners. As stated, each indicator was represented by a workshop and a series of investigations led by a faculty-student team.

Key Indicator I: Women in Leadership Positions at the University of Guam

The research team approached the investigation of women in leadership positions at UOG by exploring the history of the institution and the numbers of women in high status positions, namely the President, the Board of Regents, and emeritus faculty. Because the university library did not have a complete or even partial collection of the University's course catalogs the sole source of this historical data was collected from A Retrospective of the University of Guam: Its Leaders and Mentors a document compiled through the sponsorship of The Society of Emeritus Professors and Retired Scholars. This historical review is vital to understanding the present workplace environment and helpful to recognize patterns in the indicators we investigated.

The University of Guam's history began in 1952 when the Territorial College of Guam was established as a two-year teacher training institution offering Associate of Arts degrees in teaching, liberal arts, and non-credit vocational courses (Beamer, 2004, p. 5). At this time the College came under the administration of Guam's Department of Education. Director of Education, Dr. Jose R. Palomo cultivated the idea of training teachers locally rather than continuing to import qualified individuals from off island. To do this however, Dr. Palomo believed the island needed to first import university faculty to train the local teachers. The foundational faculty contracted from Ohio State University would "cooperate in the development of an educational program at the college level for the preparation of elementary school teachers and would assist in the evaluation and modification of the program as it developed" (ibid, p. 4). The list of Ohio State arrivals in 1952 include two female faculty members out of six, 33% (n=2); of the two original female faculty, one left after only one year (ibid, p. 8). Dr. Palomo, who is primarily attributed with the idea and the implementation of the contract with Ohio State, would later receive the designation "Founding Father of the University of Guam" by the 1985 Board of Regents, a title that reflects both the patriarchal and paternalistic attitudes inherent in US-centered rhetoric. It was not until 1956 that Dr. Pedro C. Sanchez became the first local hire; he went on to become the first local Dean and second President of the University (ibid).

While UOG does not have a Founding mother, according to this document, it does have the occasional female President and member on the Board of Regents; however, it took a quarter of a century before the first of only three women filled the Presidential role. (10) The female composition of the Board of Regents ranged from 0%-50% in the first twenty-five years. When the membership numbers are compiled they reveal that the Board seats have been occupied by 120 men and 28 women, a historical percentage of only 5.3% women (ibid, p. 6,11,12,19). One of the ways we can tell if a work environment is friendly, supportive, and encouraging of women is if it has women in leadership positions. It is possible of course that a woman-led organization can in fact be unfriendly to women; however, having women on top may affect the structure of institutions, institutional policies and other subtle but important office politics. Additionally, when we place the historical practice of hiring off island and the contemporary percentage of a majority of white, male faculty mentioned earlier in this article, it is clear that the University has failed to address both the need for affirmative action hiring in terms of racial and gender parity with the demographic of the local population, or to provide sufficient support for programs to entice local scholars back to Guam. As revealed in the following EEO discussion, these issues are always more complex in practice.

Based on the data pulled from this single available source and from the first quarter of the University's history, we have found a significant gap in the number of women and men who have served this university in the Presidential Office and on the governing Board. One additional indicator of the health we felt was important to investigate was the number of female emeritus faculty. While emeritus status does not necessarily indicate that a faculty member was in a leadership role during their tenure, it does signify recognition of their lengthy contributions to the institution. A significant number of female emeritus faculty members at an institution might indicate that the job was rewarding, she was recognized for her contributions, and the institutional policies toward women were fair, equitable, and inclusive.

A review of the Society of Emeritus Professor and Retired Scholars in the UOG 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog reveals that since its inception in 1952, UOG has recognized fifty-seven faculty with this title. Of that number, only 30% (n=17) have been women. While the first person to be awarded with the emeritus designation was Pauline Harvey, the Retrospective states: "Of the ten original faculty only Morris Harvey was to extend his time and remain until his death in 1966. His wife, Pauline, was to continue teaching in the Art Department until her retirement when she became Professor Emerita in 1978, the first faculty member to be given the title" (Beamer, 2004, p. 8). Embedded in this statement is the implication that Pauline was not hired originally based on her own merit but on her association with her spouse. This wording undermines the validity of Pauline Harvey's pioneering role at this institution and demonstrates the paternalistic milieu that has characterized UOG's continuing gendered practices.

The historical review embedded in the Retrospective is important foundational data necessary to accurately track institutional workplace patterns and as such needs to be continued and made more widely available. The brief discussion here is partial because this single available document was missing information and insufficient to do a complete and up to date analysis that includes female administrators. (11) A more complete report of this history is needed, one which may include oral histories as well as continued archival research. Such a task requires sustained institutional financial support.

Key Indicator 2: History of the University of Guam EEO Office

The history of an institution's leaders offers an important litmus test for institutional health in terms of patterns of behavior that have become entrenched within the institutional infrastructure and used to maintain systems of inequality. These habitual patterns often become codified in hiring and promotional procedures and without vigilance will not change for the better. For this reason Equal Opportunity is a particularly salient issue for UOG given its spotty history of following Federal guidelines. This research team investigated a 2000 case of employment discrimination filed against UOG and we have used this case and its ruling as a benchmark for restoring health to the university.

In 2000 eleven UOG employees--faculty and administrators--filed an EEO complaint against the University claiming discrimination based on race and/or national origin. The case was referred to the Department of Justice who filed suit against the University. United States v. University of Guam contended that UOG "by and among other ways, subject[ed] [the plaintiffs] to discriminatory terms, conditions and privileges of employment and discharg[ed] him [sic] because of his national origin and/or discrimination ... and/or in retaliation for complaining about what he reasonably believed to be employment discrimination" under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (12) The eleven employees were Filipino American, African American, American Indian and Caucasian. Even though the Settlement Agreement indicates that the University "specifically and unequivocally denied the United States' allegations of violations of Title VII," they did enter into voluntary mediation towards a settlement; this mediation took place between March 10 and March 14 2003. (13)

The Settlement Agreement outlines the following terms mutually agreed upon in two separate sections--Specific Relief and General Relief. Under Specific Relief the UOG faculty and administrators were awarded $775,000 in total as monetary damages and assurances that all negative reports filed in personnel files from January 1997 to the time of termination would be removed. Under the terms of General Relief the University was responsible for doing the following:

1. To not discriminate against employees because of race and/or national origin as it had allegedly done in the past;

2. To not retaliate against anyone bringing an EEO complaint;

3. To ensure proper investigations of EEO complaints and in particular to establish a set of procedures for internal complaints including the designation of an EEO Officer who will receive complaints, investigate, make recommendations and document cases;

4. To ensure that the EEO Officer, the Senior Vice President, Human Resources Director and other supervisory personnel undergo training in the areas of employment discrimination law and ways of investigating complaints and sign a document confirming this training. Quarterly reports are to be provided to demonstrate such training is ongoing;

5. To keep records of complaints filed with the EEO Officer; and

6. To make fully public a written policy prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, national origin and retaliation. The policy to be distributed and posted.

The Settlement Agreement was in effect from 2003 until 2006 and it is clear from its terms that the alleged infractions were institutional with a lack of procedures, reporting and training, thus providing employees with little protection against discrimination of any kind. The General Relief settlement was important to our CAP grant team as it indicates a move towards redressing an institutional dysfunction within a time frame that has just expired; hence, our CAP grant work examined the health of EEO policies and procedures now that the Settlement Agreement is no longer in effect. We have been told anecdotally from a variety of sources that the University President at that time wished to redefine the demographics of the majority-white faculty to better reflect those of the island. A 2003 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education reinforces the problems with ex-UOG President Jose Nededog. Author Jen Lin-Liu claims that "he is openly hostile about a mostly white "faculty elite" that he says has heavily influenced tenure, promotion, and hiring. During his tenure, he says, the proportion of Chamorros in the administration and the faculty increased to 20 percent" (p.27). Hence, who constitutes the minority and the majority are complicated in this case. The health of an institution is, we believe, determined by how less protected constituents are treated and so even though the faculty demographics more closely reflect those on the mainland, once a white faculty member leaves campus she is in a minority situation. (14)

Our 2007 research indicated that the terms of the 2003 Agreement are still being followed, although more could be done to ensure the openness and transparency necessary for the health of our institution. While at the time of our grant UOG had an EEO Officer, Louise Toves, she also wore a variety of other hats, including Executive Assistant to the former President, Harold Allen, University Ombudsman and Title IX Coordinator. We questioned the extent to which Toves, despite her expertise in the EEO position, could be an effective steward in light of her many responsibilities. Similarly, we were concerned that EEO training for new faculty in 2007 was almost canceled because of the scheduling difficulties arising from Toves' multiple responsibilities and similar training for students has been significantly limited.

Key Indicator 3: Salary, Tenure and Promotion of Female Faculty at the University of Guam

Our summary of Key Indicator 1 demonstrated that research into women in leadership positions was incomplete, outdated and not readily accessible, despite existing online. Similarly the team working on Key Indicator 2 conducted their research solely via the web with no information provided by the institution. For research into the faculty issues of salary, tenure, and promotion researchers had university data but no Pacific benchmark for a point of comparison. In the absence of Pacific-based data we compared UOG to mainland US institutions with the aim of promoting coalition building among the student body and the local community in support of the University's land grant mission. As Patricia Hill Collins (2007) argues about social change from the perspectives of race and gender, coalitions are 'fragile' entities but they are important because they involve "sharing a common cause" and "developing empathy for each other's points of view" (p. 82). We cannot effect change by not reaching out to disparate communities and so an important part of our research function has been to find ways of bridging the gaps between male and female faculty, administrators, staff, students and the local community. We believe that these kinds of coalitions will be beneficial to all and create a more egalitarian community both on and off campus.

Based upon data on the faculty from 2006 we put together a profile and compared it to national statistics. As indicated earlier, the UOG faculty is predominantly white and male. More men (45%) than women (23%) are tenured and more women (51%) in nontenure-track positions (n=177). In terms of rank 80.1% of full professors were men while women constituted over 73% of the instructor pool. The reported salary ranges for men were higher in every ranking except at full professor where women earned between 92% and 95% of what their male colleagues earned. The rank of Associate Professor experienced less equity in salary where women made approximately 83% of what men made while there was only a 3% difference in salaries of male and female Assistant Professor salaries.

Sandra Banet Weiser (2000-2001) argues that women are overrepresented in the adjunct ranks at US universities. In a 1996 study women constituted 43.2% of adjunct faculty as compared to less than 30% of men (Buckless, Ravenscroft, Baldwin-Morgan ctd in Weiser 2000-2001). We examined UOG data from 2006 and discovered that our university hires women as adjunct faculty to a greater degree than Weiser's 1996 national statistics. In 2006, 62.5% of the UOG adjunct pool was female with the Colleges of Professional Studies (CPS) and Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) most reliant on this workforce. It should be noted that there are not many opportunities to be an academic migrant in Guam because there are only two post-secondary institutions on island, UOG and Guam Community College, which means that adjuncts are in an even more vulnerable position than mainland adjunct faculty. Many work both in and out of academia out of necessity, leave island or remain unemployed when they are not needed.

The University of Guam in 2006, then, seems to reflect national trends as detailed in the AAUW and American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reports on salary and tenure and is not a unique case, despite the island's geographic and demographic difference from the mainland United States. Using data from the 1999-2000 academic year the AAUW Tenure Report shows that men made up 62.5% of all full-time faculty in the US, 79.1% of full professors, and 72.9% of tenured faculty. (15) AAUW also finds that "across all ranks and all institutions, the average salary for women faculty was 81% of the amount earned by men." This research is supported by an AAUP 2005-2006 study (ctd in Banerji 2006). Similarly, the female faculty at the University of Guam in 2006, on average, made less money than their male counterparts, regardless of rank, held fewer tenured positions than men across all divisions and ranks, and they made up the majority of non-tenured Instructor faculty and the minority of full, tenured professors.

While we thought that the university would be more woman-friendly, this research suggests it is no better than any other workplace. In fact, Kathleen Christensen of the Sloan Foundation states that there is "a profound structural mismatch between the way work is organized in our country and the needs of the workforce" especially since the male breadwinner model is still in practice. Christensen argues that universities are the "worst offenders" (ctd in Marcus 2007, p. 28). Our investigations revealed other reasons why women are not achieving equity in the university.

A report on tenure inequity by Elizabeth Mooney O'Callaghan (2006) suggests a variety of reasons why tenure is so difficult for women to achieve. O'Callaghan states that tenure was designed to be gender-biased because it was designed by men, for men and it takes no account of women's needs or requirements. She also mentions that it is the part of the academic "old boys' network" that flourishes at the peril of many women's careers. She lists a variety of reasons why women have more difficulty achieving tenure, including "devaluing women's academic work," work assignments that are not valued in the tenure process such as "departmental drudgery," voluntarily devoting more time to work that is not valued in the tenure process such as teaching and service, and the intangible and often unwritten collegiality requirements. She also argues that a woman's reproduction can affect her tenure as well as a refusal to take mothers seriously as academics and women's own reluctance to relegate family responsibilities while climbing the tenure ladder. While it might appear that O'Callaghan is underplaying the value of teaching in the tenure process at both teaching-based and research-based universities, we would argue that the official policies for tenure and promotion are often qualified by informal and formal communications between administrators and senior faculty and their tenure-seeking proteges which emphasize the publish or perish ethic without a similar concern for teaching effectiveness. For example, one of our authors can chart this pattern from two teaching-heavy positions she has held. The message has been clear that research is privileged while teaching is just something we do.

Furthermore, women often see less clarity in tenure requirements than men according to the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) (ctd in Fogg 2006). COACHE also examined the compatibility of the tenure track position with raising children and satisfaction with the work-home balance. Not surprisingly, professors rated their ability to strike a work-home balance very low. Junior faculty reported that informal mentoring and limits on teaching obligations were more helpful than child-care, housing assistance or partner-hiring programs, indicating that guidance and institutional knowledge contribute to the overall comfort level of faculty.

While tenure, promotion and salary are tangible factors in women's inequality in academic institutions, Elizabeth Pleck (1990) points out that less tangible factors contribute to women's lower status. She points to what she calls "subtle belittling of faculty women" which takes the forms of not having equal voice in faculty meetings and being characterized as a "type" of woman within informal department discourse as anything from "hysterical, manipulative, unpredictable, or stereotyped as the departmental mascot, the iron maiden, the cheerleader, the mother, or the seductress" (Simeone ctd in Pleck 1990, p. 519). Indeed, this kind of subtle put-down has been experienced at UOG by a female graduate student who we have heard referred to by her professors and fellow students as "Lady Macbeth." Young and Wright (2001) also point to the reticence of female faculty to mention family obligations for fear of being perceived as wanting special treatment or being unable to fulfill their professional duties. Ramsay and Letherby (2006) concur that family obligations must remain invisible in order to support the institution. What they call "greedy institutions" want members to be readily available for the work of the department and frown upon faculty members who do not insulate the institution from their family lives (p. 27).

Indeed, our own experiences testify to this dilemma. At the time of writing, one researcher is writing late into the night in order to spend time during the day substituting for a sick colleague, another is writing while she is also making dinner for her young son who is watching "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop," and our third researcher is breaking from writing in order to make money for graduate school by becoming Jingles the Clown for children's parties. We are often forced to make a distinction between our professional and private lives and so the effort and conditions within which we produce our work are erased in order to supposedly even the playing field. We believe it is important to reveal these conditions in order to highlight the inequalities that are harder to quantify and in doing so echo the sentiments of Bird, Litt and Wang (2004) in their article about writing reports on the status of women. They explain their goal "to make the work process visible and to examine what this work means in terms of institutional responsibility for gender inequality" (p.194). Similarly, our collaborative work has provided us "a bridge between the worlds of professional and family responsibility" (Zorach and Melin 2001, p. 127) providing community, camaraderie and mentoring. While oftentimes work similar to our CAP grant work is considered "institutional housekeeping" (Valian ctd in Bird, Litt and Wang 2004, p. 195), we are singing as we push the broom and wipe the windows.

Impact of "Designing a Woman-Friendly Workplace"

To measure the impact of our workshops quantitative and qualitative surveys were disseminated before and after the speakers. These surveys documented participants' increased knowledge of the workplace issues under discussion, whether the participants felt empowered to seek answers to questions and apply the knowledge provided to their current or future work experiences. Based on this data a majority of attendees revealed that the workshop experience was relevant and applicable to their daily lives (23% presurvey versus 69% post survey, n=137).

We also were able to see ripples beyond the workshops emanating from our research. During the CAP grant we challenged the failure of the University to consider the needs of parents when attending a required evening faculty event and successfully encouraged the administration to provide free childcare to the faculty for the first time in the University's history. While the quality of the childcare was severely lacking, (16) our team highlighted the need for such assistance when we were asked to perform duties outside our regularly contracted hours.

A healthy institution is one that regularly monitors its initiatives and collaborates with its constituents to improve the quality of the institution. We see this happening in terms of the University hiring necessary personnel in the forms of an EEO officer and an institutional researcher. At the time of writing the University has hired a new EEO Officer, Elaine Faculo-Gogue, to relieve Toves of some of her responsibilities and Dee Leon Guerrero has filled the position of institutional researcher. While the grant team cannot take credit for these personnel decisions, we do believe that the visibility we have brought to these issues has further solidified the need for these positions and the work that they will do for the faculty, staff and students. Our efforts to promote and understanding of EEO policies and services has definitely impacted the administrative decisions to offer additional training to students on EEO and ADA issues. We believe our grant team is also partially responsible for EEO officer Louise Toves conducting workshops for new faculty on non-discrimination policies and sexual harassment, despite the multiple demands on her time.

One of the most important outcomes of our grant workshops and research is the University's first Safety Week in Fall 2007 initiated by the Student Government Association (SGA) and the UOG Triton Society, the sociology club. The work of these organizations was inspired in part by the experience of one of our student team leaders. During this week the student groups addressed several of the key concerns our research uncovered in relation to campus safety. The organizations focused on the health and wellbeing of the student body as well as campus security and offered the student body a comprehensive understanding of health and safety with information booths and speakers to address specific concerns. This event was repeated in Fall 2008. We are encouraging the SGA to continue this event each year and to consider ways in which they can gather faculty support and lobby the administration to make safety a priority. This is especially important since the administration is under budget constraints and since Fall 2007 continued austerity measures have implemented a black out of campus lights after 11 pm and several campus security crimes related to faculty offices has required our continued efforts to address the need for a working campus safety budget. One of our student team leaders who is responsible for mobilizing the Triton Society and SGA is about to defend her undergraduate honors thesis entitled "Safety and Security 101." Her journey from the AAUW grant via the Student Leadership Conference in Washington to activism and research is a testament to the possibilities of small grants and dedicated students.

In Fall 2007 a new ad hoc committee on faculty development began putting together a program for Faculty Development Day that resembles concerns that have been addressed during our grant experience. Instead of narrowly defining faculty development to include what we do in the classroom, how to create a power point presentation or do an assessment project, for example, this committee, chaired by a faculty member from our grant team, focused on faculty health in a holistic sense by creating a day of activities ranging from an early morning yoga class and fitness walk around campus, a healthy lunch and a talk by a professional mediator to a faculty "show and tell" encouraging us to talk to each other about what we do in our different disciplines. The event took place in February 2008 and we hoped it would set the trend of faculty development that is productive both personally and professionally.

Our CAP grant team intended to promote change on the UOG campus and to publicize the importance of the Women and Gender Studies program, a small minor and certificate program with ten years existence on campus. While the Introduction to Women and Gender Studies course (WG 101) is a general education option for all students and is a popular course, many students either do not know of our minor and certificate programs or do not see the value of such programs to their personal and professional lives. In a time when education is expensive and with a student body aimed at getting a degree that is clearly career-bound in the quickest time possible, women and gender studies appears to be a luxury. However, for four weeks in March 2007 students got a very different sense of what our program is achieving and its importance to developing healthy workplaces. We are currently building on this momentum and maintaining a visible profile on campus and in the community. For example, in response to the 2008 search for a new university president and the current national presidential campaign, the Women and Gender Studies program promoted a panel discussion on women and leadership with a group of female ex-university and current community college presidents. Scheduled for Spring 2008, the panel featured the University's only full-time female president, Rosa Carter, Guam Community College's current president, Mary Okada and Northern Marianas College president, Carmen Fernandez. We were encouraged that this timely discussion raised awareness of the gendered politics of academic administration and helped to create a demand for transparency and equity in this process.

Our final impact, we hope, will establish a model for future investigations into the ability of the institution to create a healthy working environment for administrators, faculty, staff and students. Our faculty-student team was successful in coming together in an ad hoc committee to activate change on the university campus and to encourage the local community to participate in the life of the University during the workshops. Through faculty guidance the students learned research methods and discovered realizations about the university as an institution that indicated to them the need for future projects. The students guided the faculty to ways in which they can further collaborate with student activists and work together on common interests. We would like to see this work continued and to include more constituents who have common concerns. The research experience has also taken us far afield by becoming ambassadors of the grant team at community events where they have presented our findings. In fact, two of our student leaders left island in June 2007 and attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) sponsored by the AAUW. Their presentation particularly impressed the grantors who had not expected so much to be accomplished with such a small grant.

Prescription for Institutional Health

The American Association of University Women Campus Action Project workshops were designed to empower our students and community with knowledge and resources for their working lives. With limited data, resources and time to do the kinds of thorough investigations necessary for such a report--and one that would be an inaugural document at the University of Guam--we managed to put together a series of recommendations to the University administration, Faculty Senate and Board of Regents to promote better working conditions for women at the University. With more institutional support we could have actually produced a Status Report that more fully reflects the experience of women at all levels and throughout the history of the University. It should be noted that while these recommendations do benefit women men do not lose; in fact men benefit just as much as women from institutional change despite the tendency towards resistance because of the perception that the change equates with loss of privilege. Our recommendations also benefit students and support staff who exist within the institution in similar ways to female faculty. By agreeing to continue the work we have started, the University administration and Board of Regents will be recognizing what the need for consistent monitoring and change.

The University needs to gather data on its faculty composition by race and gender and regularly research the needs of minority faculty. The work of this kind of data gathering and research writing should be fully supported by the University administration who should commit to collaborating with the faculty by providing the necessary resources for such work to take place. Collaboration is at the heart of our recommendations and we are pressing for an impetus that includes all levels of the University workforce and the population we serve. Necessary resources include the hire of a full-time institutional researcher to be at the disposal of the writing team. When researching we found similar problems in data collection to Bird, Litt and Wang (2004) who, when doing similar research at Iowa State University found a "striking lack of coordination and continuity among campus offices in the reporting on, and no overall plans to monitor, the status of women" (p. 96). Also, faculty working on such a report require release time from teaching to complete the work, full recognition of the work in annual evaluations as well as tenure and promotion applications, support of recommendations for change and a desire to support the work of the researchers. There is little data on education and the workplace within the cultural climate of Guam and places similar to Guam (17) and so this work is necessary and, we believe, will be groundbreaking because it will help shape the institution itself as well as offer insights into Pacific Island cultures and their relationships to the United States.

As part of this reporting attention should be given to recruitment and diversity, salary and rank of the minority faculty and the particular needs of female and minority faculty. For example, our recommendations echo those of Young and Wright (2001) who argue for childcare facilities for faculty, facilities for parents with sick children, summer funding for research, re-tenure semester sabbatical, job-sharing, mentoring for faculty retention, "a climate of collaboration among colleagues," and "promote a general understanding throughout academe about the challenges inherent in balancing motherhood and an academic career." We would like comments like, "You've had a child before you have tenure, which ... is a really risky thing to do" (Marcus 2007, 27), to be unnecessary on our campus with our administration following the example of Sloan Foundation Award winners Duke and Lehigh Universities who allow faculty to work less hours when family obligations are more pressing. For female faculty at UOG, who are not overwhelmingly white, family responsibilities go beyond mothering children given the extended family structure prevalent in this region and so this recommendation is particularly salient. Our university can also learn from the University of California at Davis who have created a campaign to help faculty make full use of policies beneficial to parents (ibid 28). As Marcus notes, male faculty can benefit profoundly from these changes (p. 30).

It should be noted that UOG mirrors the larger island community in its attitudes towards children and this fact distinguishes our university from many other mainland institutions. Children are welcome in many more places than our researchers have observed elsewhere and so there is a higher incidence of students and faculty bringing children to class. Two of our researchers are parents with young children and have on more than one occasion out of necessity brought their children to class without fear of censure. However, the persistence of children on campus and the administration's willingness to allow faculty and student to bring their children to work is not a formal policy, perhaps because in Guam such a policy appears to be stating the obvious. However, this research team believes that UOG can build upon this strength by formalizing the practice and developing it into a more sustained family policy, including making childcare provisions a standard component when organizing events outside regular school and daycare hours.

Finally, it is imperative that we eradicate the 'Us vs. Them' dichotomy set up with a system that posits authority and knowledge with the professors and the learning with the students. Our belief is that students will be empowered with understanding the university as an institution from the perspective of faculty members and workers as well as from their own points of view as learners. This kind of knowledge politicizes their education and makes them better agents in the institutional system for themselves and for the potential coalition building that can happen between faculty and students. This same kind of coalition building can exist between the University institution and the community. With sometimes tense relations between the Government of Guam, the University Administration and the Faculty Senate being reported in Guam's main newspaper--Pacific Daily News--community members need to develop a vested interest in the discourses of budget, staffing and educational quality since the University of Guam takes up a prominent position in this small island community, particularly in its mission as a land-grant university.

In order to cross this boundary students and faculty must recognize their common interests and develop coalitions that will help build a more cooperative and, therefore, healthy environment for both. Also, students and faculty must recognize working on each other's behalf will benefit both parties. If students have little knowledge of the structures within which a college professor operates, they cannot be effective allies. Faculty must work to involve students in the politics of the work they do which means that students must be educated about the university as a workplace so that they can see their professors' material and ideological environments as something more than a vocation for transmitting knowledge and skills. In this way students and faculty can learn from each other and effect healthy change in an environment within which they both exist.


Since the time of writing, our hopes for sustained research and collaboration have been only partly realized. We now have a new full-time EEOC officer and while we also have added an institutional researcher who could help with our efforts to continue researching the key indicators of this project, the ailing financial status of the institution has significantly reduced our abilities to chart women's status at UOG. For example, sabbatical leave has been indefinitely suspended, research and travel support are becoming more difficult to obtain, and financial constraints have prompted hiring more adjunct and part time employees. Not only are no new funds available, but existing discretionary accounts and some student course fees have been appropriated by the administration in order to meet the operating budget.

Despite these serious constraints, our student leaders have made Safety Week a tradition, which is evolving into a major event during Student Orientation week. A new initiative, the Violence Against Women Prevention Program (VAWPP) is being funded by the Department of Justice. This program, while not a direct result of the research or recommendations of this project, builds upon what our grant work initiated by making visible important issues pertaining to women and discovering the blindspots in the UOG system. For example, VAWPP staff are encouraging campus security to become compliant with the Clery Act and the grant staff are also educating students about domestic violence and stalking. Additionally, one of our writers developed and was awarded an AAUW Community Action grant to work with at-risk middle-school girls on an educational and creative project. This new project fulfilled our desire to realize student-faculty coalitions and also find stakeholders in the local community.

We are hopeful that this publication will spark some renewed investment in our continued investigation into the status of women at UOG..


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By Helen Thompson, (1) Andrea Sant Hartig (2) & Diane Thurber (3)

(1) Helen Thompson is an Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Guam.

(2) Andrea Sant Hartig is an Assistant Professor in the Division of English and Applied Linguistics at the University of Guam.

(3) Diane Thurber is an M.A. student and Adjunct Instructor in English at the University of Guam.

(4) Senator Judith Won Pat is the current Speaker of the 30th Guam Legislature.

(5) This data was provided by Dr. David Okada, Acting Director Institutional Effectiveness, Planning & Research at the University of Guam.

(6) At the University of Guam administrators are not considered faculty and so are not included in the statistics we have analyzed.

(7) Guam was colonized by the United States in 1898 (acquired from Spain), was lost to the Japanese in 1941 and regained in 1945. Since then it has been an unincorporated territory which means its inhabitants are U.S. citizens but they do not vote in presidential elections. They vote instead in local elections (Guam is self-governing) and have a non-voting member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

(8) Guam currently has a 4:15 ratio of female to male Senators. For details on Guam's Senators go to:

(9) This pledge can be found at:

(10) There have been two other female presidents, but both have served in interim positions. One, Dr. Helen Whippy, was appointed Interim President in December 2007. Dr. Whippy's 2008 application for President was unsuccessful. Dr. Robert Underwood was appointed January 2009. Dr. Underwood is a former Guam Senator. a recent gubernatorial candidate, a Chamorro activist, and a past UOG faculty member.

(11) The Retrospective is missing data on the Board of Regents for the following periods 1959-1960, 1970-1972, and 1979-1980.

(12) The Complaint can be accessed at

(13) The Settlement Agreement can be accessed at

(14) For purposes of our own transparency, our faculty researchers and one of our student leaders are white; the remaining three undergraduate student leaders are Chamorro. Of the faculty researchers, all of us were in our first year at the institution, two of us in our first full-time academic job, and none of us are tenured.

(15) This report can be found at

(16) The administration provided two students from Americorps but did not have a venue in mind, had no child-friendly facilities and suggested the children be transported on golf carts to the Student Center for snacks.

(17) Hawai'i and other Pacific Islands might qualify as having similar cultural climates but there is no place quite like Guam.
Fig 1: Guam Demographics by

Percentage of 2000 Guam Census (n=154805)

Carolinian      0.08
Chamorro       37
Chuukese        4
FSM             5.5
Marshallese     0.16
Palauan         1.39
Other...        0.42
Chines          1.75
Filipino       26.31
Japanese        1.35
Korean          2.46
Other Asian     0.6
White           6.8
Black or...     1
Some...         1.2
Bi or ...      12

Data Source: 2000 Guam Census

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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