New Women’s Center Director Plans Work For Women’s Equity

By: Julia Hall – Print Editor

Sitting on a cabinet in an office on the second floor of Alumni Hall, a framed paper read, “Empowered Women Empower Women.” This office belongs to a University of Dayton hire of the 2017-18 summer: Dr. Lisa Borello.

Borello was named the Director of the University of Dayton Women’s Center June 20.

“I have a longstanding interest, passion and education in issues concerning women and gender in higher education in particular from graduate school moving forward throughout my career,” Borello stated.

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Borello earned a B.A. in journalism, a M.A. in women’s studies, a M.S. and a PhD in sociology of science and technology.

Additionally, Borello has 15 years of work experience in higher education. She has worked in multiple capacities, including positions in journalism, public relations, project coordinating and grant writing at different universities. Her most recent post at Johns Hopkins University was Assistant Director of Professional Development.

Regarding her first weeks in her position, Borello stated, “I think that I am spending a good bit of time trying to understand past history in a lot of ways- what has the Women’s Center done? Where are areas that they have made a lot of ground as far as advocating for women on this campus, and what are area in which there is still unmet need or still work to be done.”

Borello applauded President Spina’s policy change in the maternal leave policy calling it, “a step towards greater equity.”

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The policy had previously treated pregnancy as a disability, which Borello mentioned is quite common in university policies. As of July 1, UD’s policy provides six weeks of paid maternity leave after the birth of a child.

The Women’s Center led the move to make lactation rooms available on campus, which was another change that Borello praised. While Borello highly commended the work that had been done before her hiring, she also sees space and opportunity for more work to be done.

“There is potentially some unmet need within the graduate female student population that hasn’t been met at this point. Again, this is all with the caveat that I’m new,” Borello stated. She also mentioned the modernization of women’s issues in regards to places for work to be done.

As she comes to UD’s campus, Borello intends to create an advisory board of students, faculty and staff in order to inform her of the needs and concerns of the women on our campus.

“In the kind of work that we do, it is by nature collaborative, and we want to involve the voices of as many people as we can. So, that is certainly going to give us some greater insight, too, to those unmet needs. What is underlying all the work we do here is we want to make the lives for women on this campus better, right, to meet them where they are and grow from there.”
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When asked about the role of intersectionality in her work, Borello stated, “We can’t necessarily assume unity based on one aspect of identity, of gender without paying attention to our other vectors of social difference intersect and inform our lived experience.”

Borello added, “Part of my goal in forming this group is to ensure that we have representation that is cognisant and mindful of the role of intersectionality moving forward. So, it is really critical. I mean it has to be.”

Excited, Borello stated, “Clearly, diversity and inclusion is core to what we want to do. So, being a part of a university that values that truly in all aspects of its being makes being in this role so much more meaningful and so much more exciting.”

Photo courtesy of the University of Dayton.