The MI-ACE Women’s Network

Women of Color Collaborative (WOCC)

While white women are making great strides in reaching the top ranks in higher education leadership across the country, the picture is still quite bleak for women of color. Far too many women of color in higher education describe experiences of isolation, marginalization, bullying, disrespect, belittlement, and feeling undervalued.

In response to these persistent issues for women of color, in 2011, Lynette Findley called together a meeting at Eastern Michigan University. The goal was to convene women of color from the MI-ACE Network to explore ideas of how we can better support one another by using the structure and sponsorship of the Network to make real change. Several months later, under the leadership of co-chairs Lynette Findley and Gloria Thomas, the MI-ACE Women’s Network launched its new Women of Color Collaborative (WOCC) in 2011 at its annual conference.

At the group’s first meeting, it was established that the mission of the WOCC would be to provide a forum and means of support for women of color employed in faculty, administrative staff and leadership roles at Michigan’s colleges and universities. Further, the goal is to enhance career advancement and success for women of color in higher education across the state, thereby strengthening the overall MI-ACE Women’s Network.

WOCC now hosts the first full day of the MI-ACE Annual Conference, with the day focusing on specific career issues and challenges that women of color encounter.

In addition to the first day at the Annual Conference, WOCC hosts an annual Networking Luncheon in early November. Each year a different MI ACE member institution hosts the Networking Luncheon at a location of their choosing. The list below outlines the past and upcoming dates and locations since the luncheon’s inception in 2011:

Date                            Host                                                    Location

11/11/2011                  Eastern Michigan University              Marriott at Eagle Crest

11/02/2012                  University of Michigan                      Charles H. Wright Museum

11/08/2013                  Oakland University                            Meadow Brook Hall

11/14/2014                  Washtenaw Community College        Morris Lawrence Building

11/15/2015                  Grand Valley State University             Kirkhof Center

11/11/2016                   Mott Community College

11/10/2017                  Western Michigan University              Bernhard Center South Ballroom

11/9/2018                     Ferris State University

11/1/2019                     Henry Ford College

WOCC plans to offer this type of programming as well as mentoring, ongoing communication, and in-time support for women of color in higher education across the state. Ultimately, the plan is to have WOCC serving the needs of women of color students as well. The MI-ACE Women’s Network Board fully supports this initiative and will continue to do so until more of its women of color consistently achieve high-ranking leadership positions and thrive in these roles while in them.