It was an idea whose time had come.
Drawing inspiration from a small dialogue group comprised of men of color, in 2009 Marie Amey-Taylor, assistant vice president of learning and development, Human Resources, and Tiffenia D. Archie, director of faculty recruitment and retention in the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership (IDEAL), decided to coordinate a networking event for the women of color on Temple’s campus.
The purpose was to bring Temple University women of color together to meet and connect and to identify professional development and networking opportunities. Interest in the event was overwhelming.
“The high response helped us realize that there was something happening here — women of color on Temple’s campus had a real interest in coming together,” Archie said.
Through their interactions with faculty and staff, Amey-Taylor and Archie observed that many women of color, regardless of their positional level, felt isolated.
“Women of color faculty members may know other faculty members, administrators and staff may know each other, but there were few opportunities for them to come together, make connections and support each other,” said Amey-Taylor.
Based on the recommendations captured from the more than 200 women who attended the networking event, a formal group, the Temple University Women of Color (TU-WoC) was formed to create programming and events designed to foster continued interaction and dialogue.
In addition to the now annual networking event, the organization provides professional development and social engagement through brown-bag lunch discussions on issues related to women of color, monthly cross-cultural events, special projects and a book club that explores the work of diverse women authors.
The group invites the participation of all members of the university community who support its mission: to provide a space for women of color to engage in discussions and community building within a supportive environment.
TU-WoC’s membership reflects the cultural diversity of Temple’s campus, said Amey-Taylor. Latinas, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and women from multi-cultural backgrounds have attended the various events sponsored by the organization.
The organization is currently raising funds to support a TU-WoC scholarship to support the educational goals of a Temple female student of color. The recipient of the TU-WoC scholarship will be announced in fall 2011.
For information on TU-WoC or to learn how to support the scholarship fund, contact Kimberly Sakil.