Extraordinary Ordinary Women of MSU


In the News

PCOSUW presents "Herstory of Montana State University"
Women's Day

In this year celebrating MSU’s 125th anniversary, the PCOSUW is honoring women leaders, problem solvers and innovators from today and throughout MSU’s history in a presentation at the 1st Annual Diversity Symposium on March 29th

Come hear the stories of the amazing women who have played a pivotal role in shaping Montana State throughout its 125-year history. Women like Una Herrick, the first Dean of Women, who taught women skills to promote their financial independence in the 1920s. Women like the group who challenged gender pay inequities in the 1970s. And today, the President's Commission on the Status of University Women - formed by MSU's first female president, Waded Cruzado - continues to work toward the discovery and elimination of institutional barriers to the success of women.

For more information and to register, please visit http://calendar.msu.montana.edu/events/25975

Sovereignty of the Soul: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America

Shannon Weatherly LectureThe MSU Women's Center is very excited to announce that Sarah Deer, prominent feminist author, professor and activist, will visit our campus to present the 2018 Shannon Weatherly Memorial Lecture. Ms. Deer's lecture: "Sovereignty of the Soul: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America," will give us an opportunity to learn about the crisis of interpersonal and sexual violence in Native America.

Learn more on the Women's Center website

Student Award Nominations Call, 2018 - Deadline 4 p.m. Monday, February 5th

Montana State University is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the President's Commission on the Status of University Women Student Award. This award is designed to honor any student who has worked to improve issues related to gender, equity, and diversity on any of MSU's four campuses. Nominations (including self-nominations) can be made by submitting the student's name and a short (maximum of five sentences) reason for nomination to Recognitions Committee Chair, Betsy Danforth at danforth@montana.edu.

Deadline for nominations is 4 p.m. Monday, February 5th. Individuals nominated will be asked to provide a one page narrative describing their work in this area and a current resume. The award recipient will be recognized at MSU's Day of Student Recognition in April.

MSU faculty seek to increase participation of women in agriculture with $94,000 USDA grant

Audrey HarveySix female professors at Montana State University and Flathead Valley Community College, including previous PCOSUW co-chair Tracy Sterling, hope to increase the percentage of women agricultural scientists, engineers and policymakers by way of a $94,000 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, "Empowering Women in Agriculture." Shown is Audrey Harvey, a graduate student in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science, who is making observations on a research plot of bluebunch wheatgrass.

Read more....

Sara Rushing named 2018 President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Awardee

Sara Rushing, Family AdvocateSara Rushing, associate professor in political science and University Family Advocate, has won the President's Commission on the Status of University Women Award, which honors a member of the faculty or staff who has established a record of working to improve issues related to gender, equity and diversity on any of MSU's four campuses.


MSU celebrates first woman doctoral graduate in mechanical engineering

Anita Sarkeesian

Former PCOSUW Member, Sarah Mailhiot is the first woman to graduate with a doctorate from MSU's mechanical engineering program. She served as the graduate student representative on the President's Commission from 2015-2016. Mailhiot, who is the first person in her family to go to college, studies innovative applications of MRI technology and completed her Ph.D. in engineering with mechanical engineering option in the College of Engineering in July. Read more

Sponsored Events

"Resources for Talking about Workplace and Pay Equity" Lunch

workplace pay and equity panel

The President’s Commission on the Status of University Women hosted a lunch on January 26, 2017, featuring several MSU faculty and staff, who spoke on “Resources for Talking about Workplace and Pay Equity.” Jessi Smith, professor of psychology and director of ADVANCE Project TRACS, shared research on the role of self-promotion, norms, and situational factors that can hinder or help women advance within the pay structure. Professors Graham Austin, Virginia Bratton, and Amber Raile from the Jake Jabs College of Business presented research on equity theory and language choice for more welcoming and effective discussions on pay, and Cathy Hasenpflug, chief human resources officer at MSU, shared HR tools to help supervisors address equity issues. The presentation concluded with a panel Q & A session.

It Doesn't Make Cents: The Social Psychology of Women's Pay Inequity

Managing Conversations about Pay Equity

Resources for Talking about Workplace and Pay Equity (MSU HR)

WebEx Recording of Presentation


A Workshop and Lunch for Deans and Department Heads

PCO group discussion

On January 20, 2016, in SUB Ballroom B, PCOSUW held an informational lecture for department heads and deans on diversity and inclusion. "Lessons Learned About Diversity and Inclusion at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)" was presented by Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, instructor in the Department of Education at MSU and former chief diversity officer at NOLS. She shared five lessons she learned about diversity and inclusion while she worked at NOLS. After her presentation, the audience broke into small groups to discuss why diversity and inclusion are important to MSU, challenges and pitfalls to progress, what we can do to further diversity and inclusion in departments, and who should be responsible for getting this important work done.


PCOSUW Member Awarded at Spring Convocation 2016

anne camper

Anne Camper, Montana University System Regents Professor, professor in the MSU Department of Civil Engineering and associate dean for faculty and administration in the College of Engineering, received the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award given to a member of the faculty or staff who has established a record of working to improve issues related to gender, equity and diversity on any of MSU's four campuses. The award includes a $2,000 honorarium. Above photo is Provost Martha Potvin, Dr. Anne Camper, and President Waded Cruzado at spring convocation 2016.



How to Write a Winning Nomination for Student Scholarships and Awards

In October, Ilse-Mari Lee, dean of the Honors College, and Betsy Danforth, director of the Women's Cneter at MSU, presented a session on how to write a winning nomination letter for students for scholarships and awards. Lee, who has had tremendous success in writing letters for students who have won national awards such as Goldwater, Fulbright, Marshall, and Truman, provided tips for letter writers, Danforth discussed inclusive, unbiased language in letters of support and nominations. Co-sponsored by the Center for Faculty Excellence and the President's Commission on the Status of University Women.


PCOSUW Sponsored Lectures

Anita Sarkeesian

PCOSUW was excited to co-sponsor, along with the MSU's Women’s Center, Anita Sarkeesian, prominent feminist video blogger and public speaker, who visited our campus as the 2016 presenter for the Shannon and Frances Weatherly Memorial Lecture. The lecture was on March 2 in SUB Ballroom A. Other sponsoring Montana State University entities were: Department of Computer Science; Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship; College of Engineering; College of Agriculture; College of Letters and Science; College of Nursing; College of Education, Health and Human Development; Office of Activities and Engagement; Diversity Awareness Office; VOICE Center, and The Leadership Institute.

Ms. Sarkeesian’s lecture: “I’ll Make a Man Out of You: Redefining Strong Female Characters,” gave the audience                                                      an exciting opportunity to learn about and question gender roles in video games and the popular media.


Irshad Manji

 Best-selling author and inspirational speaker, Irshad Manji, addressed a packed house when she presented a lecture and panel discussion on February 22 at MSU. Manji is a Muslim reformist and founder of the Moral Courage Project,which seeks to empower people of all religious backgrounds to stand up for human rights. For more information, go to http://www.montana.edu/news/15920/irshad-manji-muslim-reformist-and-moral-courage-project-founder-speaks-feb-22-at-msu




 MSU Receives National Honor Recognizing Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

MSU is one of only 83 institutions from across the nation – and the only university in Montana – to receive the 2014 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. Read more.


Joan Williams and MSU ADVANCE Team Members

Distinguished Guest Joan Williams after her keynote "What Works for Women at Work: How to Spot Subtle Bias and How to Eliminate it." She is standing with (L to R) Allie Hay, Senior in Psychology; Lexie Kambich, ADVANCE Student Research Assistant; Dr. Sara Rushing, Co-Director of ADVANCE Project TRACS; Joan Williams, Director of UC Hastings Work Life Law Center; Dr. Waded Cruzado, President, MSU; Dr. Nicol Rae, Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. 



updated 3/29/18