Girgus appointed special assistant to dean of the faculty
Princeton NJ -- Joan Girgus, who has served as a faculty member, department chair and senior administrator at Princeton, has been named to the new post of special assistant to the dean of the faculty to work on matters relating to gender equity.
In a report released Sept. 29, the University's Task Force on the Status of Women Faculty in the Natural Sciences and Engineering called for the creation of the position to help implement its recommendations. Girgus, a member of the psychology faculty since 1977, served on the task force.
Her two-year appointment, also announced Sept. 29, was effective Oct. 1. She will work with Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin to develop a strategic plan to recruit women faculty as well as take on other projects to improve the climate for women at the University. She will sit on the Target-of-Opportunity Search Committee, which helps bring to campus outstanding faculty members whose recruitment is of special interest to the University as well as to individual departments.
Girgus will begin her new job by talking with department chairs and individual faculty about the task force report and its recommendations, and by exploring how other universities and the professional societies are addressing similar issues. "The task force report provides both interesting data and good suggestions. Now we need to have extensive conversations throughout the natural science and engineering departments to discuss the specific ways in which we intend to proceed to make Princeton a more inclusive university," said Girgus, noting that the report is on the agenda for the Oct. 13 faculty meeting.
"I have known Joan for 20 years and very much look forward to working with her," Dobkin said. "When I sought to fill this position, hers was the first name I heard from everyone I asked."
Girgus came to Princeton 26 years ago from the City College of the City University of New York, where she had been a faculty member in psychology and dean of the Division of Social Science. She was dean of the college at Princeton from 1977 to 1987, chairing several standing faculty committees and serving as a member of the president's cabinet.
She then began teaching full time in Princeton's psychology department, and chaired the department from 1996 to 2002. As a faculty member, she also chaired the Committee on Women Faculty in Science and Engineering and the Faculty Committee on Conference and Faculty Appeal. She has been a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Appointments and Advancements, the University Priorities Committee and the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy, among others.
Since 1993, Girgus has been one of the principal organizers of the Pew Higher Education Roundtable and the Knight Collaborative, working with a broad range of colleges and universities to identify "best practices" for academic restructuring. From 1987 to 1999, Girgus directed the Pew Science Program, a national program to improve undergraduate science education sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which gave grants to consortia of colleges and universities for collaborative projects.
In addition to conducting research and writing on perceptual development and personality development, Girgus has produced papers on undergraduate science education and on women in science.
"I look forward with great anticipation to serving in this new position, which will draw on many of my experiences at Princeton," Girgus said. "While my charge is to focus on matters relating to gender equity, it is important to note that such matters concern men and women alike. Most of the task force recommendations will make a positive difference in the lives of both men and women faculty. For example, mentoring programs, more readily available daycare and help with two-career family issues are not just of benefit to women.
"Through the implementation of the task force recommendations," she continued, "I hope more women will be appointed to faculty positions, the lives of men and women faculty and their families will be improved, and Princeton will become an even more inclusive environment for those who work here."
Girgus is currently a trustee of Adelphi University, McCarter Theatre and the Princeton Ballet Society. She also has served on the board of trustees of the American Association on Higher Education and Sarah Lawrence College, where she was vice chair and chair of the board and chair of the executive and finance committee. Girgus received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York City.