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Commission honors ASU women in leadership roles

June 10, 2010

In recent years, the ASU Commission on the Status of Women has become a familiar name to many at Arizona State University for it advocacy initiatives, professional development programming, safety projects, and, of course, the CSW Outstanding Achievement and Awards Program. Every year, the CSW honors individuals, groups and teams who have worked to benefit women and other underrepresented groups at ASU and beyond.

“It is such a joy to celebrate those in the ASU community who work to enhance opportunities for women and other groups," said CSW Tempe Chair Vicki Harmon. "The contributions made through the efforts of these people enhance the university environment for each of us.”

The CSW Awards Program was established in 1999, and boasts a long list of incredible men and women who have given their all to make a difference – and this year is no exception. A dean, a staff counselor, a media coordinator, and a research team of two full professors are the recipients of the 2010 CSW Awards.

“Faculty, staff, students, men and women are all represented in CSW award submissions," Harmon said. "Awards were presented this year for efforts that displayed exceptional scholarship, leadership, mentorship and program development. It is such a pleasure to see the quality of work being done at ASU.”

The recipients of the 2010 CSW Outstanding Achievement Awards are Margaret Coulombe, media coordinator for the School of Life Sciences; Dean Mari Koerner of the College of Teacher Education & Leadership; Dr. Robyn McKay, staff counselor for the Polytechnic Student Counseling Services; and the collaborative research team of Drs. Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin from the Department of English.

Coulombe was recognized for her dedication to supporting and promoting the success of women in the sciences. Not only does she work tirelessly to highlight the success of women in the sciences in media outlets, which is an important factor in the steady attrition of women scientists as they move through the ranks, but Coulombe goes one step further to provide one-on-one mentoring to undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences. Coulombe reaches out to students, mentors them and helps them to find a place in different communities on campus including organizations such as Women and the Sciences & Engineering. 

Dean Koerner was honored for her work in elevating the status of the teaching profession not only within our university, but within our community and nation. Under her leadership, Koerner has created a paradigm for a college that is focused on providing a world class education to Arizona students by creating effective teachers and school leaders. As a result of her efforts, CTEL has garnered national attention, including a 33.8 million dollar Teacher Quality Grant from the US Dept of Education for the Professional Development School program (PDS). PDS program supports and encourages low income districts to “grow their own” quality teachers – these teachers are primarily women, who normally would not have had the chance to gain a university education. Koerner is described an outstanding leader ready to meet the “challenges of educating in a rapidly changing world.”

McKay was recognized for the significant impact her efforts have had on the climate for women at ASU’s Polytechnic Campus. In the short time that she has been at ASU, she has created a multitude of different programs and lunches to help women of all ages and backgrounds, navigate through challenges from the college experience to major life changes. One of McKay’s most visible accomplishments is in the creation of a Women in Science and Engineering program to benefit the women students in the College of Technology & Innovation. McKay began the program in Fall of 2009 and under her direction and mentorship, the program has achieved great success. Membership numbers are expected to double this year. As one of her nominators explained, “Robyn is creative, innovative and strong … we have all learned and benefitted from her efforts, and our campus is better because of her presence.”

This year the CSW honored a collaborative research team of Drs. Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin, both professors in the Department of English. The pair was recognized for their outstanding collaborative scholarship on a three volume edited series in the area of Women’s Material Culture from the periods of 1750-1950. For centuries things such as such as needlework, painting, and collecting were dismissed in cultural studies and scholarship as “women’s work” or merely hobbies of women in the leisured classes; however, the work of Goggin and Tobin seeks to reframe these notions, giving new voice to women who were ignored or silenced in the past. Their scholarship helps to redefine the understanding of women’s meaning making in often neglected social and cultural work.

In addition to the CSW Award recipients, the commission honored several of its own members for their outstanding work on the CSW with the CSW Chairs Award for Outstanding Service. This year’s recipients included Jennifer Lee-Cota, Kaylen Cons, Joel Hutchinson, Kelly Jackson and Cindy Rasmussen.

All of the award nominees and recipients were honored at a breakfast reception on April 21. Vice President & Dean Elizabeth Langland delivered an inspiring key note address on the importance of women’s leadership.

For more information on the work of the commission, please visit

Written by:
Karen Engler,
Commission on the Status of Women & Faculty Women's Association
(480) 965-2958