The organization was established in 2003 at the behest of the American Council on Education – Office of Women in Higher Education (ACE-OWHE) that Mississippi develop a state-wide network.
The Mississippi Steering Committee, comprised of Becky Askew (Pearl River Community College), Evola Bates (Jackson State University), Mary Harrington (University of Mississippi), Beverly Hogan (Tougaloo College), Rosetta Howard (Coahoma Community College), Gloria Kellum (University of Mississippi), Claudia Limbert (Mississippi University for Women), Frances Lucas (Millsaps College), Cheryl Ragan (Northeast Mississippi Community College), Lavinia Sparkman (East Central Community College), and Thelma Spencer (Alcorn State University) met on August 5, 2003, to establish the mission and goals of the network. It was decided that a poll be conducted to decide the name of the network. At a subsequent meeting on September 24, 2003, the name of the organization was chosen, the structure of the organization was established, and the foundation approved for the Mississippi network.
Name, Mission, and Goals
The name of this organization shall be Women in Higher Education-Mississippi Network (WHEMN) as prescribed on September 24, 2003.
The mission of WHEMN is to identify, develop, advance, and support women in higher education.
(1) Promote and support women’s leadership in higher education, particularly in Mississippi. (2) Facilitate networking of women leaders in higher education with each other and with organizations and networks that have shared goals. (3) Develop collaborative partnerships with other institutions, organizations, associations, foundations, and businesses to help achieve the mission of WHEMN. (4) Enhance the visibility of women administrators on Mississippi campuses. (5) Assist in career development of professional women and women students in higher education, with particular emphasis on minority women. (6) Identify potential women leaders and provide mentoring. (7) Recognize achievement of women administrators through appropriate awards.
Administrative and Financial Structure
Administrative Institution: The administrative home of WHEMN will be accomplished by rotating every two years from a senior college/university to a community college thereby insuring that every institution of higher education in Mississippi has a vested interest in the mission and goals of WHEMN, involvement and investment in WHEMN, as well as a succession plan to insure continuity in the leadership.
Financial Structure: Financial support for carrying out the mission and goals of WHEMN, for hosting an annual leadership conference for women, and sponsoring a session at the Mississippi Association of Colleges (MAC) Conference each fall, include affiliate membership fees, institutional membership fees, solicited sponsorship, and conference registration fees.
The annual institutional membership fees are as follows: IHL Universities (8) at $750 each; Community Colleges (15) at $500 each, and Private Colleges (7) at $250 each.
The membership shall consist of Institutional Representatives (IR) from each of the two-year and four-year colleges/universities, both private and public, led by an Executive Committee elected from the membership. The Institutional Representative (IR) is appointed by the president of her institution. In this capacity, the IR serves as the liaison between Women in Higher Education-Mississippi Network (WHEMN) and her colleagues. When a vacancy occurs through resignation or retirement, the WHEMN Coordinator will contact the president of the institution to request a replacement IR.
The IR is expected to support WHEMN by attending meetings and conferences, by mentoring colleagues and students, and serving as liaison to their constituencies and administrators on their respective campuses. It is important for the IR to communicate the business of WHEMN on a regular basis by establishing a list-serve or some other means of regular contact with their colleagues. The IR should invite opportunities for exchange of ideas and information between their campus constituencies and WHEMN.
Affiliate membership is women faculty, staff, students, and administrators in higher education in Mississippi who complete an application form and pays the $10 annual membership fee. Affiliate membership must be renewed each year.
Honorary membership is women leaders in higher education and other outstanding women leaders chosen by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee will include the Coordinator, the Coordinator-Elect, the Immediate Past Coordinator, the Treasurer/Recorder, the Public Relations Coordinator, the Technology Coordinator, and the Student Representative. The term of office for each member of the Executive Committee will be two years.
The Coordinator is the key leader of WHEMN and serves a two-year term while her institution is the administrative home of WHEMN. She chairs the Executive Committee and serves as the principal liaison among the Institutional Representatives, the American Council on Education – Office of Women in Higher Education (ACE-OWHE), and the presidents of the junior and senior colleges/universities in Mississippi.
The Coordinator is responsible for providing leadership for the Executive Committee and Institutional Representatives. She should identify and nominate women for senior administrative positions and facilitate nomination of women ready for college presidencies and other senior-level positions. The Coordinator should disseminate information throughout the state regarding professional development activities and programs initiated by ACE-OWHE. The Coordinator should encourage all women in all institutions of higher education in Mississippi to become involved and actively support WHEMN and its goals. The Coordinator must also submit a year-end report to OWHE by June 1 each year.
The Coordinator-Elect serves a two-year term in preparation for her institution to become the administrative home of WHEMN, during which time she will become the WHEMN Coordinator. She assists the Coordinator and serves as the Program Chair. She should coordinate with the Executive Committee to plan the annual spring leadership conference, the MAC Conference session sponsored by WHEMN, and other activities of the organization.
Immediate Past Coordinator
The Immediate Past Coordinator shall serve in a support capacity. She should be willing to assist the Coordinator and Institutional Representatives in promoting the goals of WHEMN.
The Treasurer/Recorder shall serve WHEMN by keeping accurate written records of financial and business transactions. She should also record minutes of all meetings and distribute to the membership for review.
Public Relations Coordinator
The Public Relations Coordinator shall serve WHEMN by publicly promoting the organization and its activities. She should initiate contact with other organizations and media to advance the goals of WHEMN through publicity about conferences, workshops, and other activities.
The Technology Coordinator is responsible for maintaining a communications network among the Institutional Representatives and women in higher education. She should enhance the visibility of WHEMN through list serves, message boards, organizational web site, as well as other forms of mass communications.
The Student Representative should develop collaborative partnerships among the Institutional Representatives and aspire to administrative roles in higher education. The Student Representative should serve as a liaison between other students and senior-level women in administrative positions in higher education.
President’s Advisory Council
The Presidents Advisory Council, made up of the women presidents in Mississippi, will serve as an advisory body to WHEMN.