Mechanical engineering professor chosen to manage gender equity issues at UT

Reihaneh Hajibeigi

With the goal of promoting equal opportunity for UT’s faculty, mechanical engineering vice provost and professor Janet Ellzey has been chosen to oversee gender equity issues at the University.

Taking over for Judith Langlois, Ellzey will now be in charge of all institutional issues related to faculty gender equity as the new chair of the Gender Council. Ellzey said her responsibilities will include working with department chairs and other leaders throughout the University to analyze compensation and to help develop strategies for providing a positive environment for the entire faculty.

Ellzey said as a woman in mechanical engineering she has always been interested in gender equity and in providing mentorship to female students and faculty.

“I was delighted when Provost [Steven] Leslie asked me to take on gender equity at the university level, and I look forward to working with him and other campus leaders on this important issue,” Ellzey said.

Langlois has overseen gender equity issues since appointed in 2007, but she has stepped down to take on new duties as interim dean of the school of graduate studies.

Ellzey will retain her responsibilities as vice provost for international programs at UT as well as her teaching load in the engineering department.

According to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost’s website, the Gender Council meets regularly to discuss and consult gender issues at UT.

The committee is there to aid faculty with any personal and family issues they might have throughout their time serving UT, according to the Gender Council’s website.

Ellzey said she believes the addition of these new obligations will not cause any strain.

“Since my appointment to that position [assistant dean for international engineering education] in 2009, I have been on a reduced teaching load in my department, and I have been able to balance my administrative, teaching and research activities,” Ellzey said. “I am optimistic that I will continue to be able to balance this larger portfolio of responsibilities.”

Business sophomore Sarah Taqvi said she looks at Ellzey’s achievements with admiration.

“She serves as an inspiration for any female pursuing a career in a male-dominated world,” Taqvi said.

Taqvi said she is personally motivated to work harder to be successful in the business field because there is a natural competitiveness against the men in the field, and it is great to see someone like Ellzey maintain a high position at the University.

According to her online biography, Ellzey has had a history of involvement in gender equity in her own field.

Ellzey chaired the Women in Engineering Program Committee in the Cockrell School of Engineering from 2002 to 2007. She also currently serves as the faculty mentor for Women in Mechanical Engineering in the department of mechanical engineering.

Printed on Monday, February 13, 2012 as: New chair for UT Gender Council