Women of Color in the Academy Project

The Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) is a campus-wide faculty network at U-M that supports scholarship focused on understanding the experiences of women of color in the academy and advocacy work to address the challenges and issues faced uniquely by women of color in the academy. To advance this scholarship and advocacy work, WOCAP provides professional development and a supportive and inclusive community that includes writing retreats, weekly writing sessions, bi-annual dinners, and other networking and professional development opportunities. WOCAP is open to all faculty who support or are actively engaged in this work.

Vision Statement

Achieving a university where all women of color faculty experience success, leadership, visibility and representation at all levels of governance.

The campus-wide WOCAP faculty steering committee would like to extend an invitation to participate to all instructional track faculty who support or are actively engaged in scholarship or advocacy work focused on the experiences of women of color in higher education. Together, we can call attention to structural barriers and promote solutions to enhance the success of women in color in academia.

Contact [email protected] for additional information about WOCAP.

Steering Committee

Maria Castro, R C Schneider Collegiate Professor, Professor of Neurosurgery and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Medical School

Patricia Coleman-Burns, Assistant Professor Emerita of Nursing, School of Nursing

Youngju Ryu, Associate Professor of Modern Korean Literature, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and Director of the Nam Center for Korean Studies

Hitomi (Tomi) Tonomura, Professor of History, Women’s and Gender Studies, and American Culture, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Robin Wilson, Associate Professor of Dance, School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Camille Wilson, Professor of Educational Foundations, Leadership & Policy

Robin Pankey, Program Coordinator

Shirley Verrett Award

This award honors the late Shirley Verrett, a U-M Professor who “would have walked the world over for her students.” Ms. Verrett was a James Earl Jones Distinguished University Professor of Voice at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and an internationally acclaimed opera singer with over 40 roles during the course of her illustrious four-decade career. She was one of the pioneering leaders in the generation of Black opera singers and her legacy continues to pave the way for female artists from diverse backgrounds.

Award Details

The Award recognizes a faculty member whose work–teaching, performance, scholarship or service–supports the success of female artists from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds. The nominee must be within the “Art” field as broadly defined to include literary, visual, and performance arts (e.g. poetry, photography, painting, dance, theatre).

Established by the Office of the Senior Vice Provost in 2012, the award carries a $5,000 prize and is available to all tenured/tenure-track faculty, clinical faculty as well as lecturers at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Criteria for the Award

  • Demonstrated support and mentorship of female artists at U-M from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds
  • Examples of innovative diversity and inclusion impact outcomes on U-M departments or schools
  • Evidence of leadership or advocacy on behalf of female artists within the wider University community or within specific “Art” fields or the artistic community nationally

Past Winners


Amy Stillman, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of American Culture and Music; Director of Native American Studies Program, former director of Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies Program, Professor of Music in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance


Ashley Lucas, Professor of American Culture, English, and Latino Studies in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Residential College, Professor of Theatre & Drama, Penny Stamps School of Art & Design, and American Culture at the University of Michigan. Former Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project and current Director of the Latina/o Studies Program


Daniel Washington, Professor of Voice, School of Music, Theatre and Dance


Tiffany Ng, Assistant Professor of Carillon and University Carillonist


Naomi André, Associate Director for Faculty, Residential College, and Associate Professor, Afroamerican and African Studies, the Residential College, and Women’s Studies


Anita Gonzalez, Professor of Theatre & Drama, School of Music, Theatre & Dance


Professor Emeritus George Shirley, Joseph Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Voice, School of Music, Theatre & Dance


Professor Emerita Lorna Goodison, English Language and Literature, Afroamerican and African Studies


Professor Charles Oyamo Gordon, English Language and Literature, School of Music, Theatre


Professor Robin Wilson, Department of Dance, School of Music, Theatre and Dance


Professor Glenda Dickerson, Department of Theatre and Drama, School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Faculty Resources

The resources on this web page may be informative for people who are interested in the mission and activities of WOCAP. WOCAP is not responsible for, nor does it control, the content of the websites listed below. The resources listed on this web page may be updated periodically.

General Programs and Policies

    Resources for faculty on mentoring guidelines and career advising.  In addition, resources for diverse recruitment and retention, as well as climate issues and leadership development. Reports on UM faculty equity, institutional diversity, and university policies and practices.
  • Faculty Ombuds
    The University Faculty Ombuds provides information, options, impartial review, and help in resolving conflicts, and they offer feedback and recommendations for system change to senior administration. Each school/college also has their own Ombuds.
  • Office of the Provost
    Academic Policies for Faculty (see “Faculty Information” section) including faculty handbook, promotion guidelines, university family-friendly policies, joint academic appointments, dual career program, and use of research and discretionary accounts.
  • U-M’s institutional membership to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) allows all U-M faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to take advantage of the resources offered by the NCFDD for free. For more information and instructions on how to sign up for a FREE sub-account under U-M’s institutional membership, please visit this website: http://odei.umich.edu/national-center-for-faculty-dev-and-diversity

Teaching and Research

  • Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS)
    This is the study abroad office for students, but also provides opportunities for faculty to teach abroad (both semester and summer), and provides funding to incorporate overseas components to UM courses (through the Global Course Connections program).
  • Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT)
    Strategies for teaching, including tips for using technology in teaching and working in a multicultural classroom. Information on UM grants for enhancing teaching and learning. Lots of links to other UM teaching resources.
  • Center for Statistical Consultation and Research (C-SCAR)
    Provides free consulting on statistical analysis and research design; long term consulting services also available by arrangement.
  • Faculty Exploratory (in the Hatcher Graduate Library)
    Free workshops on eResearch (IRB), finding grant money, using Ctools and clickers, building websites and electronic bibliographies
  • MPublishing and Author-Publisher Liaison (APL)
    Consultation services on copyright  and digital publishing issues. Also maintain a list of editors (email [email protected] for a current list). The APL will provide publishing-related services and guidance on such aspects as approaching acquisitions editors, manuscript submissions, identifying the market, and understanding subventions, permissions, and contract terms. Faculty can contact Rebecca Sestili at any time (i.e. even right when you arrive) to have either a casual or substantive conversation about any part of the publishing process.
  • Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR)
    Internal funding/support for research, scholarship, and creative activities in all fields.

Dual Career Resources

  • Dual Career Program
    Information on UM’s Dual Career Program which recognizes dual career partner assistance as a crucial element in recruiting and retaining its excellent faculty.
  • HERC (Higher Education Recruitment Consortium)
    Website with listings of jobs in regional institutions of higher education (e.g., Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, University of Detroit Mercy); Good for those with dual career issues.
  • Human Resources Dual Career Resources
    UM site with information on local employers besides the University, as well as resources for international families.

Beyond Work

  • Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP)
    Free, confidential, short-term counseling services for faculty—dealing with personal or workplace issues such as grief, relationships, substance abuse and stress.
  • Work/Life Resource Center
    Information on local childcare (both centers, and home-based daycare) and eldercare resources, as well as a listing of family helpers (for running errands, yardwork, pet sitting, etc).
  • Kids Kare at Home
    A back-up child care program for families at the University of Michigan. It is a back-up option when your child is sick and cannot be sent to school/child care or your regular child care is not available. A trained caregiver who will come to your home and you will be charged a sliding scale hourly rate. 

Working with Students

Emergencies/Critical Incidents

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
    Free short term and crisis counseling for students on the 3rd Floor of the Michigan Union. They have a counselor on duty for walk-in emergencies. Some tips/faqs for dealing with students here www.umich.edu/~mhealth/faculty.html
  • Dean of Students
    Critical incident management–student emergency outside of the academic setting; Dean of Students office will coordinate services and support.
  • Department of Public Safety (DPS)
    Campus police. If in doubt, CALL 911 from any campus phone, or 734-763-1131 for non-emergencies.
  • Ombuds
    Good place to refer students to if they are having a problem or conflict involving the University and don’t know how to proceed – or if you are trying to avoid escalating a problem into a serious conflict.
  • Psychiatric Emergency Services
    University of Michigan Hospital’s Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) provides emergency/urgent walk-in evaluation and crisis phone services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for people of all ages. 734-936-5900
  • Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC)
    The crisis line (734-936-3333) is available 24-hours a day and is staffed by professionals, who provide confidential crisis intervention, information and referral services to survivors of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, sexual harassment and stalking.


Classroom Issues

  • Academic Integrity
    General resources about plagiarism and cheating; each school/college has different policies for dealing with academic integrity:

  • Grade Grievance
    Guidelines for dealing with student grade grievances in LSA and Engineering; generally starts with the instructor, and then to the department before moving to the College level.

  • Office of Services for Students with Disabilities
    If you have a student who needs accommodations in the classroom, SSWD is the office that works with students to determine (and receive) needed accommodations.

Financial Issues

  • Center for the Education of Women+ (CEW+)
    CEW+ offers emergency funding available for current U-M Ann Arbor campus students; grants are for unforeseen/emergency situations. Students must make a (free) appointment to see a counselor to determine eligibility.
  • Financial Aid
    Loans, grants/scholarships, work-study, as well as special funding such as: emergency loans for international students, child care subsidies.

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Academic and Staff HR Services
    Provides advice and consultation primarily to academic administrators, but also to faculty, particularly with regard to graduate student appointments
  • Benefits Office
    UM Benefits Office info, which is applicable to “Research Fellows” who are employee trainees of UM. (Between 10-15% of UM’s postdocs are classified as scholar trainees because of the way they are funded. Most scholar trainees are eligible for the same benefits as employee trainees; see PACWI Memo on Postdocs pages 2 and 4)
  • Mentoring Others Results in Excellence (MORE)
    Resources for faculty who are mentoring graduate students
  • PACWI Recommendations for Postdocs 
    Includes recommendations and resources for postdoc appointments, including a checklist for hiring and onboarding new postdocs. Recommended reading for faculty and new postdocs. Also a link to the University’s Standard Practice Guide (SPG) for Research Fellows.

Finding Your Way Around Ann Arbor

Other WOCAP Recommendations


  • MCard Discounts
    You can get discounts on everything from airport parking to cell phone plans with your MCard

Hair and Beauty

  • Brow Art 23
    at Briarwood Mall (next to California Pizza Kitchen); eyebrow threading
  • Mark Nine 
    320 Miller, Ann Arbor 604-0211
    Nessa specializes in natural black haircare and styles
  • Penthouse Hair Designs (for black hair)
    561 North Hewitt Road, Ypsilanti 434-6419

Popular daycare options

  • Community Day Care
    Not-profit preschool, with sliding scale tuition
  • Gretchen’s House
    7 Centers in Ann Arbor with infant care, some with transportation to aftercare from some elementary schools
  • UM Early Childhood Programs 
    4 Centers in Ann Arbor, serving different ages–including infant care–and schedules
  • YMCA
    Preschool and transportation to aftercare from some elementary schools)

Running a household

  • What’s Cooking
    Prepared meals delivered to your home, or pick up locations around town 

Other recommendations? Please email the WOCAP Project Coordinator at [email protected].


The Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) has a rich grassroots history that began in the summer of 1994 with conversations among a group of diverse and passionate faculty, staff, and administrators across U-M schools, colleges, and units.

These conversations focused on the structural barriers facing women of color in the academy and solutions to enhance their success that ultimately led to a joint proposal submitted to the Office of Academic and Multicultural Affairs by the Center for the Education of Women and the U-M Women’s Studies Program.

The proposal was approved with co-funding from OAMA and the Office of the Vice President for Research to develop WOCAP, currently supported by the Office for Diverasity, Equity and Inclusion and the Office of the Provost.

Read More


Research on the Status and Experience of Women of Color at Michigan

Women of Color Faculty at the University of Michigan: Recruitment, Retention, and Campus Climate (2008, Aimee Cox for CEW+)
Cox conducted extensive interviews with current and former women of color faculty members at the University of Michigan. Her findings? Their numbers are small; they experience significant annual attrition; they are often called on to perform extra service without compensatory support. Aimee Cox was the 2007-2008 Center for the Education of Women (CEW+) Jean Campbell Research Scholar and a current Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University.

The Status of Women Report (2009, President’s Advisory Commission on Women’s Issues–PACWI)
PACWI’s report provides data on the status of women students, faculty, and staff at the University of Michigan. This new report adds to the knowledge accumulated in four earlier editions, and presents an accurate measure of the relative standing of women in the University, identifies areas where inequities still exist and provides benchmarks for setting goals and measuring progress. There is a specific section on women of color faculty.

Experiencing Michigan: Accounts by Faculty from Underrepresented Minorities (2006, ADVANCE)
Twenty-six science and engineering faculty drawn from four racial-ethnic groups (African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian/Asian American) were interviewed by a member of the ADVANCE Project staff during the summer of 2006. Most of the faculty of color interviewed regard the University of Michigan and their departments as offering many positive career opportunities. At the same time, a large proportion of them report serious interest in leaving the UM, in part because of their experiences both in the University and in the larger community. These include isolation, a sense of being marginal or unvalued, exclusion from decision-making and from networks, and disrespect and lack of deference from students. These difficulties are exacerbated by frequent experiences of heightened visibility and of being viewed as a representative of a group.

Instructor Identity: The Impact of Gender and Race on Faculty Experiences with Teaching (2004, Diana Kardia & Mary Wright for CRLT).
Some teaching challenges are enacted along gendered and racial/ethnic lines in ways that significantly alter the teaching experience for women faculty and faculty of color. In this Occasional Paper, we describe findings from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching’s (CRLT) research about these challenges, contextualize these findings in the literature on gender and student ratings, and suggest strategies for U-M faculty and administrators in regard to teaching and using student evaluations.

Institutional Indicator Reports (ADVANCE)
Since its creation with the support of an NSF grant in 2002, the ADVANCE program has created institutional indicators reports for each academic year (AY), but for 2007. These reports present statistical data on all faculty with appointments on the instructional (tenure), primary research, and clinical tracks, by gender and race/ethnicity, at the University of Michigan. These reports are divided into three sections: overall campus-wide assessment; indicators for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) faculty campus-wide; and indicators for non-STEM faculty campus-wide. The overall campus-wide assessment provides summary information about all faculty on the instructional, research, and clinical tracks.

Upcoming Events

Check back here for more information on upcoming WOCAP events!

Other questions? Please email the WOCAP Program Coordinator at [email protected].

Past Events

Sampling of Past WOCAP Events

  • WOCAP Overnight Writing Retreats
  • Shirley Verrett Tribute and Awards Presentations
  • WOCAP Academic Promotions Celebration
  • WOCAP Fall Welcome Dinners
  • WOCAP Spring Celebration Dinners
  • “Advancing Together” March 2011 Conference with a keynote address by Dr. Nancy Barcelo, President of Northern New Mexico College, and breakout sessions featuring faculty from across the UM campus. Topics of discussion included:
    • Promising Practices for a Diverse Campus
    • Considering Leadership Positions
    • Academia and Community Engagement
    • Promotion from Associate to Full Professor
    • Balancing Work and Personal Life
    • Mentoring for Junior and Mid-Career Faculty

Sampling of Past WOCAP Projects

Professionals of Color Connect

A networking event in the summer of 2010 for area professionals, featuring the performances of 3 UM faculty members: renowned jazz pianist Geri Allen, bassist Robert Hurst, and dancer Robin Wilson.

“State of Women of Color at the University of Michigan Address”
Held in the Winter of 2008, the purpose of this panel of speakers was to spark dialogue within the university community about the state of recruitment, retention, and promotion of women of color faculty across ranks, departments, and units. We hoped to develop interventions that will lead to the successful recruitment and retention of women of color, as well as improve classroom environments, departmental climates, and service contributions.

Through My Lens Video Project

The video project “Through My Lens” was completed in the fall of 1999. The video was produced to capture the experiences of women of color faculty at U-M as a part of a broad undertaking to create a dialogue that would lead to promoting reform in the recruitment, retention, and overall satisfaction of women of color faculty in academe.

The 27-minute presentation captures salient commentary by women of color faculty on such pertinent themes as campus climate, isolation/lack of community, balance issues between career and family, and recruitment/retention issues.

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