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Focus Groups on the Campus Gender Experience

Posted 04/11/2017
Submitted by Jonathan Easterbrook
Category: Campus Announcements

President Walter Harrison emailed the following to faculty and staff on Tuesday.

Dear Colleagues:

The Presidential Commission on the Status of Women conducted a campus climate study for all employees of the University in May of 2015. For the past two years the Commission has been working with senior administrators to collect and understand our policies and their gender impact. 

Respondents to the 2015 survey were asked to assess their level of concern about a list of eight items in relation to the workplace environment at the University of Hartford and to respond to open-ended questions. The results in order from the highest percentage of “very concerned” or “concerned” in response to these items were as follows:

  • Family leave policy as it relates to elder care for a family member (64.5%)
  • Family leave policy as it relates to caring for children (57.7%)
  • Gender equity in hiring practices (55.2%)
  • Gender equity in the group dynamics of meetings, administration, programs, departments, meetings, etc. (54%)
  • Sexual harassment on campus among or between students, faculty, and staff (44.8%)
  • The need for a policy supporting nursing mothers (45.5%)
  • Physical safety on campus (39.2%)
  • The use of inappropriate language relating to gender in official meetings (38.7%)

As a follow-up to the study, the Commission will be holding six small focus groups during the month of April; four for full and part time female staff members and two for full and part time female faculty. To learn the dates the groups will be meeting and to reserve your spot, click hereSpace will be limited. All focus groups will be conducted by an outside facilitator to ensure anonymity. The information will be summarized and reported to me and to President-Designate Gregory Woodward. 

While these groups are for women only, we would also be interested in knowing if men would also like a focus group. If so, please write to me at  

The Commission hopes that these focus groups will provide deeper and more nuanced insights into these issues so that we have a more complete understanding of how gender is experienced on our campus. Our goal is to shape various University policies.

I ask that supervisors please be flexible with their employees in allowing them to attend these important focus groups. 

The Commission and I thank you for your valuable input.   


Walter Harrison