Mark Askren was recently honored by the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women for his leadership and encouragement of women and their values in the information technology and computing fields.
The Outstanding Contribution to the Status of Women Award is given annually for outstanding faculty, staff and student efforts to create a climate that encourages women to succeed at UNL. Two awards are given each year, one to a faculty/staff nominee and another to a student or student organization.
Askren, vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer for UNL, received the faculty/staff award during a March 17 award ceremony. The student honor was presented to Danielle Young, a sophomore English major. Click here to read about Young’s award efforts.
Nominators praised Askren for his efforts to support women, including his spearheading UNL’s first IT Leadership Conference, held in 2015 with the theme “Opportunities that Scale: Women Advancing the Future of Information Technology and Computer Science.” The event drew female leaders from across the state and speakers from across the country.
Based on the success of the conference, a second is being planned for 2016. The theme will also focus on under-represented populations within the information technology community.
“It is obvious that Mark is committed to encouraging and enabling women to reach for the stars and attain their full potential,” a nominator wrote in a letter for the award. “He’s not afraid of real conversations. He steps up to lead and provides his unwavering support.”
Under Askren’s leadership, ITS also joined the “Sit with Me” program. Organized by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, Sit with Me encourages others to recognize the important role women play in creating future technology. Participants are encouraged to sit in a red chair and share stories related to the initiative.
A red chair was privately donated to UNL and dedicated in honor of Pamela Holley-Wilcox, in appreciation of her inspired advocacy and leadership during more than 20 years of service to the university. Holley-Wilcox retired in December 2014.
Askren has also:
Nominated two women from UNL to the SEW@I2 program, a partnership between Internet 2 and the Society of Women Engineers. The nominees received a free, one-year membership, paid for by Internet 2.
Participated in discussions with Internet 2 leaders on the need for diversity in the technology industry and how it can help encourage discover and innovation in research and education. The messages were shared through an online video.
The award includes a $1,000 stipend. Askren has allocated the funding to support the UNL Computing for All chapter. Computing for All is a national initiative designed to increase and enhance computer science education for students of all ages and from all backgrounds.
For more information on UNL’s Outstanding Contribution to the Status of Women Award, including a list of past winners, click here.