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Lydecker inspires lectures

April 20, 2012

In the memory of late UW-River Falls Chancellor Ann Lydecker, a lecture series will be held to continue her work towards the advancement of women through education.

The series will be held on Thursday, April 26 in the Kinnickinnic Theatre at the University Center. The guest speaker will be the first female Chancellor from the University of Minnesota at Morris, Jacqueline Johnson.

“Ann was a symbol that she demonstrated as a woman and of a role leader to female students,” Andriel Dees, the chief diversity officer said.

During Lydecker’s time at UWRF, according to the University website, the new UC was approved, she helped advance the Wisconsin Women Equals Prosperity program and was the first female chancellor in 130 years.

“As a University and on a personal level, we should continue to strive for what Ann set up,” Dees said.

The main focus of the lecture series will be about women and leadership in higher education.

“Having women in leadership roles sends a positive message to the organization [campus],” Dees said.

Setting up goals for future achievement and about individual passions is something that women at UWRF should start doing Dees said.

“I think your passion and your work should be your vocation,” Dees said. “Self fulfillment equals a true leader.”

Along with setting up future and personal goals, having a wide variety of mentors is also an important thing to have she said. However, the mentors that women choose should be from career leaders and individuals in roles such as volunteers or stay-at-home mothers.

Having a leader come in and explain how important it is to develop leadership skills and abilities is essential, junior and marketing communications major Cassie Swenson said.

“It would always be good to hear the stories and their real life experience so I could learn from that in whatever way I relate,” Swenson said.

“According to studies, women underestimate their qualifications in leadership roles so having role models is important,” Davida Alperin, political science professor said.

Alperin teaches a political science course called “Women and Politics.” The course focuses on the legal and voting aspects towards women throughout history and present time.

Looking at women in leadership roles was unheard of from a historical perspective. There were restrictions in graduate programs and education for women of what they can and cannot do, Alperin said.

“There were educational and employment nondiscrimination laws set up so women couldn’t take roles in office or go on to grad programs,” Alperin said.

There are more women now that are in leadership roles and who continue to advance educationally and in their careers.

“Now, we as a society passed antidiscrimination laws and unemployment to allow women to have the same education and employment opportunities as men,” Alperin said. The important thing for women is to build self-confidence in the work place and in communities.

“I think it is important for women to feel empowered and that we continue to have a voice,” Dees said. “We as a society have to respect the choices of all women.”

The way women have played a role in society today have caused both men and women to strive to their goals. One student said that it is important for students to hear someone come in and inspire students to achieve their goals.

“There is not a barrier between men and women and anything can be possible,” Courtney Swanson, a junior and marketing communications major said.

Both men and women need to come together and talk about these issues and to learn from one another about work life balance. Having basic knowledge will benefit on an individual

level as well as a whole whether that is campus or nationally. “We need to help inspire our students, men and women, but seeing women in leadership roles shows women that it is possible to achieve jobs in government or business,” Alperin said.