Women’s History Month highlights Delta leadership

The leadership of Delta College gather together for a group photo to celebrate Women’s History Month. From left to right: Vice President of Student and Educational Services Margaret Mosqueda, Vice President of Instruction and Learning Services Reva Curry, Vice President of Business and Finance Sarah DuFresne, President Jean Goodnow, Executive Director of Administrative Services and Institutional Effectiveness Andrea Ursuy, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Pamela Clark. (Zach Parfeniuk/Reporter)

By Zach Parfeniuk, reporter.

At Delta College, Women’s History Month blazed a trail straight through March. In the hallways, a series of dedications to women of history laid out across the hallways, immortalizing the images of those such as Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony.

Delta College has its own unique achievements when it comes to workplace diversity, especially when compared to other community colleges. For starters the entire group of administrative officers are female: the president, the three vice presidents and both executive directors.

“I think on the surface it sends a positive message that you have an all-female senior administration that’s working through the same challenges and opportunities as other community colleges,” Reva Curry said. “I also see that, just like when I’ve been at institutions that were mostly male, they made a conscious effort to diversify. We do the same thing at Delta, only we need to be looking for more men. And so we say that and in our search processes we’re conscious of that. But the ultimate deciding factor is who is best qualified.”

Curry was encouraged by former vice presidents of instruction of learning services, such as Betty Jones and Thomas Lane, to seek a position at Delta when first moving to the area. Curry says that it’s that support from those around her that inspired her to focus on building constructive workplace relationships.

“I like to take the time to build relationships because this is not an easy position, and you can’t do it by yourself,” Curry explained. “I want to be the type of person that can reach out to faculty, and faculty can reach out to me, and, together, we might not always agree, but we can work towards what’s best for our students.”

Curry discussed that she finds her work at Delta rewarding, regardless of any perception that public education is somehow worth less of a student’s time.

“I believe in the power of community college to give a student the skill sets that they need to go right into the world of work and to be paid, well, a living wage,” Curry said. “Or if students want to transfer, then community colleges can give students the same quality of instruction at very much reduced rates.”

Delta’s first female president, Jean Goodnow, has served at the college for fourteen years. With decades of experience in education, Goodnow has a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, and a doctorate in higher education. She previously served as a teacher and president of an Illinois community college for nine years before coming to Delta.

Goodnow attributed her work ethic and efficiency in the past and present to an early appreciation for consistent effort that began in her childhood.

“I think probably it goes back to being raised on a farm with my grandparents,” Goodnow said. “I’m used to rolling up my sleeves and doing the job with a sense of responsibility and commitment to doing the best job that I can do. I’m very passionate about what I do here at Delta because I care about serving our students, and I want all of our people that work here to have that same commitment. It’s really about being a servant leader.”

Goodnow also highlighted Delta’s equal pay for employees, differing from other community colleges and most businesses.

“Women are still not paid as much as males in higher education,” Goodnow said. “Here at Delta, I am very pleased that we have balance and we have gender equity in our salaries across the board in all of our areas.”

While there’s still a long way to go, working together will provide increased opportunities towards the ideal form of feminism, a reality where gender doesn’t even have to be considered as a factor for payment, parenting or characteristics.

“I think that some of the battles that women have men have as well,” Curry explained. “So how can we help one another? Men and women together. Neither gender has to ‘win,’ meaning that the other one loses.”

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