Women's Faculty Cabinet


The mission of the Women’s Faculty Cabinet is to improve and enrich the academic and professional environments for women faculty at the University of Minnesota and to ensure that the University continues and strengthens its commitment to the success of its women faculty members.


  • We represent women-identified faculty as an advisory board to the Provost. We recommend guidelines and policies to the Provost, Faculty Senate, Deans, and Departments on issues affecting women, gender equity, and campus life.
  • We undertake research important to the working and living environment for women-identified faculty at the University of Minnesota.
  • We sponsor activities such as workshops, forums, and retreats to improve equity, diversity, and overall campus life for everyone at the University of Minnesota.


The WFC was created in Fall 2006. The cabinet membership aims to represent the full range of women faculty at the University, including women at all academic ranks and in a variety of colleges and disciplines. The members are appointed for three-year terms jointly by the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and the current members of the cabinet. Eligible faculty members include both regular faculty (tenured and tenure-track) and contract or term faculty with appointment codes of 9401, 9402, and 9403. The Women's Faculty Cabinet reports to the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs. The cabinet meets monthly throughout the academic year.



  • Gayle (G.G.) Golden, Co-Chair, Charnley Professor and Senior Lecturer, CLA, 3rd year

  • Melissa Brunsvold, Co-Chair, Professor, School of Medicine, 2nd year


  • Kerry Fierke, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy, Duluth campus, 3rd year

  • Jamie Lohr, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, 3rd year

  • Samira Azarin, Associate Professor, College of Science and Engineering, 2nd year

  • Alyssa Barna, Assistant Professor, CLA, 2nd year

  • Linda Frizzell, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, 2nd year

  • KC Harrison, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Work, 2nd year

  • Milena Saqui-Salces, Associate Professor, CFANS, 2nd year

  • Claudia Muñoz-Zanzi, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, 2nd year

  • Nicole Dillard, Assistant Professor, CEHD, 1st year

  • Marta Shore, Lecturer, School of Public Health, 1st year

  • Samantha Wells, Associate Professor, CFANS, 1st year (on leave for fall)

  • Anitra Cottledge, Director, Women’s Center

Ex officio members:

  • Beth Lewis, Vice Provost of Faculty & Academic Affairs

  • Catherine (Cathy) McCarty, Co-Chair, Professor, School of Medicine, Duluth campus, (immediate past co-chair, 4th year)

  • Mycall Akeem Riley, Director, Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life 


The WFC is collecting caregiver testimonials, modeled on work done by the University of Wisconsin's system-wide Caregiving Task Force. The current world situation creates additional responsibilities for University community members who are in the role of caregiver, broadly defined. This might be because caregiving roles have changed due to the schedules of daycares and K-12 schools, issues with adult care and nursing homes, a return of adult children to the family home, changes in shared living spaces, caring for a friend or family member who is physically ill, being a support person for a friend or family member who is experiencing emotional suffering or mental illness, changes in self-care, or anything else. The testimonials recorded here are collected to document our stories and build awareness of our individual and collective experiences.

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2020-2021 ACTIVITIES

POLICY WORK 2020-2021

  1. Reviewed WFC bylaws in relation to gender inclusivity.
  2. Discussed use of COVID impact statements for annual reviews.
  3. Developed recommendations for SRT/evaluations.

EVENTS 2020-2021

  1. Met with the Executive Vice President and Provost in May 2021 to discuss WFC priorities and challenges that women faculty are facing during COVID.
  2. Collected caregiver testimonials during COVID to document the stories of women faculty at the University of Minnesota during COVID and to build awareness of individual and collective experiences.  Testimonials are recorded here.
  3. The WFC developed a new seminar and workshop series titled Let's Talk! The main message was acknowledging that the goal is progress not perfection. The final session of the 2020-2021 academic year, The Fighting Spirit, was presented by Nicole Swentzell in May 2021. Through an empowerment self-defense lens that emerges from work with Indigenous communities in the U.S., this session focused on the philosophy and practice of the fighting spirit, which is the belief that “I can, I will, and I deserve to defend myself.”

2019-2020 ACTIVITIES

POLICY WORK 2019-2020

  1. Requested the inclusion of non-tenure track faculty into the Salary Equity Review process; requested updated salary analysis.
  2. Analyzed the gender composition at mid-level leadership (i.e., departments, units) at the U and plan to track it over time.
  3. Supported the nomination of female faculty for University level awards and reviewed Women’s Center Awards.
  4. Worked with VPFAA to brainstorm and communicate solutions to pandemic-induced equity issues.

EVENTS 2019-2020

  1. Met President Joan Gabel for lunch to discuss strengths and challenges for achieving gender equity at UMN.
  2. Planned a “Forum with President Gabel” for all faculty at the Twin Cities Campus for April 2020 (*cancelled due to the pandemic)
  3. Planned the annual Women’s Faculty Retreat for May 2020 with the theme: “Inclusion and Risk-taking in the Career Path”  (*cancelled due to the pandemic)
The 2019-2020 Women’s Faculty Cabinet and President Joan Gabel

2018-2019 ACTIVITIES

View a recap of our 2019 retreat here!

POLICY WORK 2018-2019

  1. Finalized work on the Student Ratings of Teaching (SRT) project
  2. Discussed Salary Equity Review Committees (SERC) at the University
  3. Served as awards committee members for Women’s Center awards
  4. Brought more women forward for University awards
  5. Provided input on dependent care reimbursement when traveling for University business

EVENTS 2018-2019

  1. Annual WFC Women’s Faculty Retreat, May 16, 2019.
  2. WFC Provost Forum: November 28, 2018, 10 - 11:15 a.m., URC Beacon Room
The Women's Faculty Cabinet at the 2019 Retreat

2017-2018 ACTIVITIES

View a recap of our 2018 retreat here!

POLICY WORK 2017-2018

  1. Continued work on an addition to the Tenure Code to allow modified teaching duties of tenure and tenure-track faculty who bring home a baby. Talking Points on the Modified Teaching Duties for recent parents was proposed for the Tenure Code and was then was put into policy in April 2018.
  2. Continued to examine the process of salary equity
  3. Explored the impact of using Student Rating of Teaching (SRTs) when evaluating female faculty teaching performance
  4. Contributed to finding solutions to child care needs at the University

EVENTS 2017-2018

  1. Planned the 2018 Annual WFC Women's Faculty Retreat that addressed effective ways to restructure the work environment that allow all women to thrive
  2. Considered how we can create organizational change to enhance the climate for women at UMN
  3. Hosted a lunch forum with Provost Hanson attended by over 100 women faculty
Kaaren Williamsen addressing WFC retreat attendees


General inquiries: [email protected]

Melissa Brunsvold
[email protected]

Gayle (G.G.) Golden
[email protected]


WFC Bylaws 2018