President Lynn Pasquerella continues to manage a full schedule both on-campus and off lately, keeping Mount Holyoke in the forefront of national and international conversations on higher education and women in leadership.
Last week, Pasquerella visited Washington, D.C., twice, for a conversation with President Barack Obama’s policy advisors on education, and to participate in the third United States-China Women’s Leadership and Exchange Dialogue (Women-LEAD).
On Monday, March 26, Pasquerella and Kevin McCaffrey, MHC’s director of government and community relations, met in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Zakiya Smith, Obama's senior policy advisor for education, and Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to the President for education. Their discussion focused on MHC’s 2012-13 tuition freeze and access to and the affordability of higher education, topics that have received much attention in national media recently. They also discussed MHC’s partnerships with Holyoke Community College, including an initiative to help women students at community colleges to advance their science, technology, engineering, and math studies at MHC.
“Our recent decision to freeze tuition for 2012-13, our partnership with the other Seven Sister institutions and the State Department to foster a new generation of women leaders in public service, and our commitment to liberal learning are of great interest for leaders seeking to enhance access to educational excellence,” said Pasquerella.
Two days later, Pasquerella was invited to be part of a delegation of women working with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on promoting women’s leadership at the global level. The U.S. delegation met with a group from the All China Women's Federation to discuss best practices and effective policies to promote the economic, legal, and social advancement of women in the workforce in their respective countries. In her conversations with Women LEAD delegations, Pasquerella provided a perspective on women’s leadership in academia, noting that the lack of female role models and disparate work/life balances between men and women are ongoing challenges for women.
"Forming partnerships with government officials and other leaders at every level has the potential to enhance public awareness of Mount Holyoke and our mission,” said Pasquerella following her meetings. "In addition to opening doors to collaborative opportunities for our faculty, staff, students and alumnae, Mount Holyoke is playing a leadership role in helping to shape the agenda for higher education at the national and international levels."
Between those two meetings, Farah Pandith, the State Department’s special representative for Muslim communities, visited MHC to meet students and faculty and to deliver a public lecture. Pandith’s visit was a result of the College’s participation with the State Department and other Seven Sister Colleges in the Women in Public Service Project, an initiative aimed at increasing participation by women in government and politics around the world.