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Keohane names commission on status of women

President Nan Keohane has named 16 faculty members, employees, administrators and students to serve on the President's Commission on the Status of Women, the creation of which was recommended in the Women's Initiative report released Sept. 23.

The commission was created to follow up on action items outlined in the report, establish ongoing benchmarks of progress and serve as an advisory board to the president on women's issues. The commission will also be allowed to research new issues as they arise.

"The issues we identified are complicated and can't be solved without a coordinated effort to fulfill the promises we've made, assess our progress and then chart out new solutions to move forward," Keohane said in a statement. "This commission will ensure that the issues identified in the report remain a priority for Duke."

Donna Lisker, director of the Women's Center, will chair the commission, whose members come from varied constituencies within the University: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and alumnae. Lisker said the commission will meet before the end of the semester and again in the spring.

"A number of policy changes have already happened as a result of the Women's Initiative, such as significant changes in staff benefits like the new maternal and paternal leave policy, so we can foresee something changing," Lisker said. "This is an oversight body that will kind of watchdog to make sure these issues stay front and center."

Keohane has asked that each member of the commission serve for one year and then assess the utility and efficiency of the group. The commission will report directly to Keohane, and then to her successor after Keohane steps down from the presidency in June 2004.

"One of the useful things about putting this in place is that it is institutionalized, so whenever the president changes, it's still there," Lisker said.

The members of the commission are: Ann Brown, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine; April Brown, professor and chair of the electrical and computer engineering department and a member of the faculty diversity task force; Tina Campt, associate professor of women's studies; Eric Estes, chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Task Force; Mindy Kornberg, assistant vice president for human resources; Jacqueline Looney, associate dean for graduate student affairs and associate vice provost; Devon MacWilliam, a senior and president of the Panhellenic Council; Jill Miller, assistant dean of student affairs in the School of Law; Patty Morton, a member of the class of 1970 and a Duke parent; John Payne, professor in the Fuqua School of Business; Ben Reese, vice president for institutional equity; Rob Saunders, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council; Jacki Silar, associate director of athletics; Matt Slovik, president of Duke Student Government; and Judith White, assistant vice president in the Office of the Executive Vice President.

The commission will issue a report on the progress of the Women's Initiative in the spring.

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