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Created in March 2022, the Gender EquityAlliance, formerly known as the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women, cultivates gender equity at Montana State University by addressing barriers, developing relationships with partners, and creating shared accountability for sustainable change.  2022 - 2023 was the first full year of the Gender Equity Alliance.

Gender Equity Lead: Nika Stoop

Representative on the Diversity Council: Sara Teklehaimanot


In the spring of 2022, we recruited over 50 members to join the alliance (GEA) and developed a web presence. We were also offered a seat on the Diversity Council of the University.

In June 2022, the Gender Equity Alliance had a planning session to create a sense of community and shared purpose, expand the understanding ofthe history and what activities are currently ongoing at MSU around gender equity, and identify projects that the Alliance will want to undertake in the next year. We had 37 participants at the meeting from many different departments across MSU.

Key Outcomes:

  • Attendees expressed a strong interest inbuilding an informal community from theGender Equity Alliance for social connection andnetworking. 
  • Projects to work on for 2022 - 2023
  • President’s Award for Gender ExcellenceCommittee – Betsy Danforth 
  • Safe and Inclusive Fieldwork Guidelines –Tracy Gatlin and Nicole Motzer
  • Communications – Susan Andrus 
  • Equity and Inclusion at the Department level– Ariel Donohue

Pie chart of the what departments people come from:

Department/Unit Number
Agriculture 4
Arts & Architecture 3
Business & Entrepreneurship 3
Education, Health & Human Development 2
Engineering 3
Human Resources 1
Letters & Science 4
Office of Institutional Equity 1
Planning & Analysis 3
Research, Economic Dev & Grad Education 4
Student Success 5
Writing Center 2



One of the projects identified was the Safe and Inclusive Fieldwork Guidelines project that created a guide that meets the new requirement, instituted in January 2023, for NSF grants that demonstrates how MSU will “…provide a safe and inclusive workplace…” in the unique situation of fieldwork. The GEA project leaders worked with Camie Bechtold, Chief Compliance Officer, and Kyleen Breslin, Director of the Office of Institutional Equity, to create an institutional plan for off-campus and off-site research where such a plan is required by an awarding agency such as NSF. This plan establishes standards, education and communication expectations. MSU promotes environments of learning and research of high integrity and where respect and safety are at the forefront.

The plan includes review of policies, required education, a written Communication, Response, and Safety Blueprint, review of resources and a verification by all members of the research team that they have completed required components of the plan. 

The timeline below is intended to assist Team Leaders with understanding the process and timing for meeting the NSF requirements around Safe and Inclusive Working Environments for Off-Campus & Off-Site Research requirements.



The President’s Awards for Gender Equity are designed to honor members of the MSU community who have worked to improve issues related to gender, equity, diversity and inclusion. These awards are given out a two times during the year – a faculty or staff member is recognized as part of Spring Convocation, and undergraduate and graduate student awards are given out as part of MSU's Day of Student Recognition.

See the 2023 award winners