Women of Color Task Force (University of Michigan) Records

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Women of Color Task Force (University of Michigan) Records

The materials in this Deep Blue collection form part of a larger record group held at the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index of content related to the Women of Color Task Force, please consult the following online finding aids:

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Support group founded at the University of Michigan to aid minority women employed as office and professional staff members in combating racial and sexist stereotypes and in providing counsel on matters of career planning, job hunting, and development of communication skills. Materials in this online repository include a snapshot of the Women of Color Task Force Website from 2005

n 1979, Jennie Partee of the University of Michigan Affirmative Action Office and Beulah Sanders of the School of Education began offering career workshops for minority women several times a year. The stated purpose of the workshops was "to provide employees who are women of color with skills and confidence to move upward within the organization, both for their own benefit and to benefit the University by creating a more truly diverse and therefore enriched work force" (Box 1, History folder, "The History of the Minority Women's Task Force"). The workshops were aimed at both professionals and nonprofessionals and focused on practical topics such as communication skills and job hunting. A minority women's group developed from these workshops, sponsored by the Affirmative Action Office, the Human Resource Development Office, and the Medical Campus Office of Training and Development.

In 1982 the group officially became the Minority Women's Task Force and in 1983 held its first annual all-day Minority Women's Career Conference, which included speakers as well as workshops. Very similar to the career workshops, the conference had the added objectives of promoting a network among minority women at the university, sharing information and raising consciousness on common issues, and increasing the visibility of minority women. Entirely planned by volunteers on the Task Force, the annual conference has become the main activity of the group. The conferences grew from eleven workshops and 200 participants in 1983 to 45 workshops and 701 participants in 1989. Nearly 1000 people attended the 1992 conference, which was sponsored by the Affirmative Action Office, Medical Campus Human Resource Development, the Office of Human Resource Development and the Office of Minority Affairs.

In 1984 the Task Force implemented the Partee-Sanders Scholarship Fund, in honor of its two founders. In 1986 an awards program was established to recognize outstanding university women in human relations, leadership, and distinguished service in the Task Force. That same year the group changed its name to the Women of Color Task Force (WCTF), both to avoid the negative connotations of the word "minority" and to emphasize that it was concerned with women of all ethnic minority groups. In 1990 the WCTF broadened its purview to include women not only on the Ann Arbor campus, but on the Dearborn and Flint campuses as well, and began including a separate program for men of color during its annual conference, hoping to foster a male counterpart to the Task Force. In 2002, the Women of Color Task Force became an administrative unit of the Center for the Education of Women (CEW).

The Women of Color Task Force was the recipient of two university service awards in May 2009. The group received an inaugural 2008 University of Michigan Distinguished Diversity Leaders Team Award from Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts and the 2009 VOICES of the Staff Champion Award from Chief Human Resources Officer Laurita Thomas. WCTF was recognized for its continuing commitment to provide career development opportunities for all university personnel and to support the University's efforts in recruiting and retaining a highly skilled workforce.

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Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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