Academic Women's Forum


All faculty, academic staff, post-docs, librarians and graduate students who identify as women are cordially invited to participate in the MSU Academic Women's Forum. The forum has been created to provide a safe-space to connect, build community and explore issues that are relevant to the success, support and empowerment of academic women at Michigan State University.

Academic Women's Forum programs and seminars are open to all. 

Current Events

Tuesday, January 23, 2018: Boundary Negotiation as an Engine for Success in the Academic Workplace and in Life (Register for this session at:
3:30-5:00 p.m. Chittenden Hall, Room 110
This highly interactive session will help participants think about the powerful role that boundaries play in succeeding (and being happy!) in your professional roles at MSU and in your personal life. Without boundaries, our productivity, relationships and health can suffer. When our boundaries are too strong, we can lose out on important opportunities in our professional and personal lives. At this session, a general framework for thinking about boundary negotiation will be provided, along with resources and strategies for participant use. Presenter: Melissa McDaniels, Graduate School. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018: Leadership & Influence: Leading in Place (Register for this session at:
3:30-5:00 p.m. Chittenden Hall, Room 110
Regardless of position or title, leadership and influence can happen at every level. This panel discussion will address the various types of formal and informal leadership styles and opportunities. Panelists will discuss how to be a leader within a department, a classroom and the university as a whole, how to positively influence those around you - whether it is your department chair or your peers - and will address the challenges and barriers to women's leadership in academia and some strategies for overcoming them. Panelists: Dr. Denise Troutman, Associate Professor, Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures and Linguistics and Languages and recipient of the 2017 Inspirational Woman of the Year Award; Dr. Filomena Nunes, Associate Professor of Physics and National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and recipient of the 2017 Inspirational Woman of the Year Award; Sarah Handspike, Coordinator of Advising and Undergraduate Services, Psychology. 


Wednesday March 21, 2018: Surrendering Assumptions to Achieve Connection (Register for this session at:
3:30-5:00 p.m. Chittenden Hall, Room 110
Part of thriving in academia and reaching your full potential requires the highest level of self-awareness and courage. In this session, participants will explore the assumptions that they carry, the ways these assumptions impact their personal and professional lives, and how to identify and suspend these assumptions as part of effective dialogue. In these ways, participants will examine how assumptions interfere with effective connection and sometimes result in micro/macro-aggressions. This session will help us create the ability to work from our highest and most authentic selves in life, love, and career. Presenter: Matt Helm, Graduate Student Life & Wellness. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2018: Exploring and Employing the Benefits of Mindful Self-Compassion (Register for this session at:
3:30-5:00 p.m. Chittenden Hall, Room 110
Many people believe that being hard on themselves is what keeps them motivated to do their best work. Often when we make a mistake, or let someone down, we are our own worst critics. To demonstrate kindness to ourselves seems counter-intuitive, selfish, even weak. Yet research indicates that our unwillingness to be self-kind could be preventing us from becoming our most resilient and successful selves. Mindful self-compassion is a crucial pre-requisite to resolving impostor syndrome, perfectionism, burnout, shame-driven anxiety, and a wide variety of related self-defeating behaviors. Based on the research of Kristin Neff, Ph.D., this session will explore what mindful self-compassion is, challenge the myths that discourage us from developing this key skill, and help us begin to shift towards the more effective practice of holding ourselves more "lovingly accountable" for value guided behavior. Presenter: Lisa Laughman, Employee Assistance Program & Health4U. 


To download an accessible flyer for these events, click here


Past EventsAcademic Women's Forum wordmark

Fall 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2016


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The forum is co-sponsored by the MSU WorkLife Office, Office of the University Physician-Employee Assistance Program & Health4U, Academic Advancement Network, and Graduate Life & Wellness.