GVSU to discuss role of Asian women in higher ed

courtesy / gvsu.edu
Shaily Menon

Courtesy photo

courtesy / gvsu.edu Shaily Menon

Kara Haight

As part of it’s larger Fireside Chat series, the Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Center will host an event that aims to create thoughtful discussion about the role of Asian women in the world of U.S. higher education.

The event, Asian Women in Higher Education, will take place right in the Women’s Center, located inside the Kirkhof Center building on Feb. 27 from noon to 1 p.m.

The Women’s Center website describes the Fireside Chats series as being a tool for various women to speak openly about intercultural aspects of education, and as means for relationship building and getting to know other GVSU faculty and students.

This event, which is also part of the month of celebration in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, will more specifically look at how the two cultures have continued to become more involved in higher education, but are still significantly underrepresented.

The discussion will detail potential reasons for the poor representation, focusing on the kinds of stereotypes and social norms that may have led to the dispairity and followed up by an analysis of possible solutions to a more inclusive future.

While the Fireside Chat series is organized through the Women’s Center, the Asian Women in Higher Education event will be hosted by Connie Dang, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, alongside Shaily Menon, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who will take part in the discussion.

Dang said the event is aimed to spark ideas about representation, barriers and inclusiveness.

“Such events foster a spirit of inclusion and equity at GVSU and contribute to the ongoing conversations,” she said.

Menon said they expect to discuss an array of topics determining the underrepresentation, “such as the lack of role models and the role of cultural values in determining behaviors,” which Menon said play a role in perpetuating the stereotypes and unrealistic expectations of Asian women.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the event, Dang and Menon said, but they hope participants of the discussion will come away with a solid understanding of the representation in higher education, and learn, “strategies for building inclusive leadership teams.”

For more information about Asian Women in Higher Education or other Women’s Center Fireside Chats, visit www.gvsu.edu/oma or www.gvsu.edu/women_cen.

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