News & Press: ACSP News

FWIG: More Than Thirty Years of Supporting Women in the Planning Academy

Monday, May 21, 2018  
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A special feature article from

Petra Doan, FWIG President 2017-2019

The Faculty Women’s Interest Group (FWIG) was started in 1986 when a group of women faculty got together at the annual conference held that year in Madison, Wisconsin. Deborah Howe and Janet Hammer reported, in a 2002 ACSP presentation, that the 20 women at the meeting represented virtually ALL of the female planning professors in the United States at that time. The women present made a commitment to organize an interest group within ACSP that would promote the interests of women faculty; providing networking opportunities and educational programs to ensure that more women faculty would not only succeed but rise to positions of leadership within the academy.

After more than 30 years, the group has grown considerably and made great strides in supporting the next generation of women in the planning academy, many of who have held and currently hold leadership positions in their universities and within ACSP. For me personally, I have found that the annual FWIG luncheon has become a “must attend” event for seeing my friends from across North America and meeting up-and-coming new scholars. While luncheons at a large conference can often be quite expensive, a number of dedicated FWIG professors make donations to enable younger scholars, and especially graduate students, to attend and begin networking. In 2017, there were 182 people present (116 were faculty members and 66 students).

If you are not already involved in FWIG activities and are passionate about promoting and supporting women faculty, the FWIG leadership team (listed below) would like to invite you to join us. One easy way to become more involved is join us for the FWIG luncheon in Buffalo in 2018. Other ways to get involved are to join the FWIG Facebook page, currently engaging 362 followers. This is a “closed group,” but any person wishing to join simply needs to answer a question or two, sharing their connection to the planning academy and their interest in joining this very welcoming group. There is a slow but steady growth in the number of members with a growth of 10 new members since January 1, 2018. In addition to a group page on the ACSP website, FWIG also maintains a separate website:

Beyond organizing the annual luncheon and business meeting, FWIG leadership has undertaken a regular set of additional roundtables and workshops designed to highlight key issues of concern for our members. In 2018, the theme of the FWIG Roundtable will focus on “Beyond Me Too,” bringing a feminist and intersectional perspective to issues that influence the ability of women to combat harassment on their campuses. Other roundtables in recent years organized or co-sponsored by FWIG include: the 2017 Roundtable, “Pathways to Academic Leadership for Women and Faculty of Color,” jointly sponsored with the People of Color Interest Group (POCIG); the 2016 FWIG and POCIG co-sponsored workshop on race/ethnicity/gender discrimination and bias in the academy; and the 2015 Roundtable “Work-Life Balance: Ways to Succeed.”

Each year under the leadership of the FWIG Vice-President, FWIG organizes the award committee for the Marsha Ritzdorf Award for the best student work on diversity, social justice, and the role of women in planning. In addition, in odd-numbered years, FWIG sets up a committee to determine the Marcia Feld Leadership Award for a FWIG colleague who has shown outstanding leadership within the ACSP organization and in even-numbered years the Margarita McCoy Award to honor ACSP women whose teaching, research, or service helps advance women in the planning academy by creating a positive climate for women students and faculty.

Periodically, FWIG has undertaken special reports or studies of interest to the membership. In 2017, the previous FWIG leadership undertook a survey of gender bias and discrimination in the academic workplace. They hope to present the results at the upcoming ACSP meeting in Buffalo. In prior years, FWIG sponsored other reports including the report on Interest from FWIG Members Regarding Childcare Services at ACSP Conferences and the report authored by Carissa Slotterback on Parental Leave Issues in the Planning Academy.

Other regular activities of FWIG include the annual production of the Resume Book, which is a collection of CVs of women seeking academic positions in planning. In 2017, there were 55 resumes included in this book sorted by specialization to facilitate search committees seeking certain types of faculty members.

In addition, FWIG periodically updates the Yellow Book. This very useful volume titled, How (not) to Get Ahead in Academia is an essential guide for doctoral candidates and early career faculty members on how to find and survive a job as an academic in the field of planning.

FWIG Leadership

  • Petra Doan, President
  • Rosie Tighe, Vice President
  • Andrea Roberts, Secretary


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


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