As you seek to welcome and connect with women students, staff, faculty, and administrators, here are a few things to know from ministry experts from InterVarsity's Women in the Academy and Professionals.
A few things to know
1. Women – particularly graduates, student, and faculty women - often experience a “double loneliness”: their academic department doesn’t “get them” and neither does the church. Connecting them with other women who are exploring what it looks like to love God and hear and follow his call will be deeply appreciated.
2. When planning grad student and/or faculty events - online or in-person - be wary of planning over the dinner hour or in the evening to make space for women with young children.
3. Many women – especially those who are mothers – may not attend typical student or faculty events but offering something especially for them now and then will create a way for you to keep women involved when they otherwise might not. These occasional gatherings can also be “doors” into your chapter as women invite others to join them. While Women in the Academy and Professions hosts various gatherings in person and online, they are not about starting groups across the country. Instead, they seek to help colleagues do their jobs better: to see and serve women on campus.
4. 75% of Women in the Academy and Profession’s activity was already online pre-pandemic. Faculty Ministry has seen attendance grow recently by virtue of moving meetings to Zoom; more were willing to hop on Zoom vs. walking across campus to attend a meeting. So, don’t throw out what you’ve learned about hosting good Zoom meetings during the pandemic!
5. InterVarsity’s Women in the Academy and Profession’s website/blog (The Well) has great articles and resources for women in the academy and beyond.
6. At the InterVarsity staff store, you’ll find bookmarks that help people find The Well (and our social media spaces) and booklets with a few of the best articles from The Well. Both make a great NSO gift that says, “I see you and want to help you flourish.’
7. When sharing the link to “The Well” (or handing out a bookmark) you can say, “Here’s a place that gets you—they want to resource you and connect you with others who are on the same journey.”
8. Don’t hesitate to contact Women in the Academy and Professions with questions or requests for specific resources or connections. They’d be glad to consider coming to your campus to help you gather women and/or coach you in doing it yourself.