March 21, 2008

Conference focuses on women faculty, staff at SIUC

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — How can today's woman juggle work, family and life commitments while retaining her sanity and health? Southern Illinois University Carbondale's April 9 "Conference on Women: Balancing Work and Life" will offer some answers.

The University Women's Professional Advancement (UWPA) and the Office of the Associate Chancellor for Diversity are sponsoring "Negotiating Work and Life: Women in the University Setting and Beyond" at the Student Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m..

Open to all SIUC female faculty and staff, the day includes a number of breakout sessions along with a keynote address by Carol Bryce-Buchanan, director of development at Families and Work Institute.

"The conference has been designed for women on a topic of importance to many women – balancing work and life," said Michelle H. Miller, director of UWPA. "We hope that women faculty and staff at SIUC will be able to attend sessions of interest to them throughout the day. Ultimately, we hope this conference provides women with an opportunity to learn and to speak out about ways SIUC can improve its support of women employees."

Individual sessions will focus on managing finances, dealing with life's changes in the workplace, stress and release, the tricks and trials of spending time on oneself, developing positive work relationships, combating the 'superwoman" syndrome, making a career plan, as well as eating, drinking and exercising for health and balancing life relative to personal responsibilities, family leave and worker's rights.

There will be campus dialogues too. Topics include making leave policies work for you, developing and valuing a diverse workforce and changing the culture for women at SIUC.

Bryce-Buchanan, of New York City, oversees the Corporate Leadership Circle, the board of directors, and grants, contracts and contributions on behalf of Families and Work Institute (FWI), handles the Circle's conference calls and briefings. She interacts regularly with abut 1,000 companies, including more than 50 Fortune 500 organizations. She helped develop the curriculum for the inaugural Ms. Foundation "Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day," co-produced "Lessons in Leadership: A Book of Quotes" and speaks all over the United States and Canada.

Bryce-Buchanan will discuss current academic and corporate strategies in support of employees balancing diverse work, home, personal and social responsibilities. Founded in 1989, FWI ( is a non-profit organization researching and addressing the workforce and workplace, parenting, youth development and education, care and community

Pre-registration is due by 4 p.m. April 7 by sending participant name and information along with $5 to the Division of Continuing Education, Mail Code 6705, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901 or by calling 618/536-7751 or faxing 618/453-5680. You can register online at The registration fee includes lunch. Advance registration, limited to 300 participants, is required to get lunch.

Miller encourages all University women to attend. If they can't make it for the entire day, they're still welcome to attend whatever portion they can. She also encouraged supervisors to be supportive of the conference, saying the event promises to be beneficial for SIUC women and in turn for the University. For more information about the 2008 Conference for Women, contact Miller at