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Shelley Correll: Reflecting on Remarkable Partnerships and Accomplishments as Director

photo of Shelley Correll
Aug 22 2019

On August 31, I conclude nine wonderful years serving as the Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Professor Adrian Daub will take over as director on September 1, and I’m confident he, along with the Institute’s strong staff, will continue to advance the Institute’s mission in new and exciting ways. Reflecting on this remarkable experience as my term comes to a close, I am so proud of the accomplishments of our dedicated team, and deeply grateful for the support of so many people on campus and beyond.

Our accomplishments are the result of contributions from many talented staff, campus partners and advisors. The Clayman Institute Advisory Council, and its chair Michelle Clayman, have been instrumental in guiding our course and unflagging in their support. Each year has brought new faces and new experiences into the council, with valued voices from the academic community to the private sector to the nonprofit world. Each member of the council has generously supported our work and has helped us maintain ties to the important history of the Institute.

staff photo
Clayman Institute staff (photo by Jennifer Townhill)

 

Faculty members from across campus have participated in our Faculty Research Fellows program and joined the Faculty Affiliates program, as well as partnering through involvement in our research and events. Their expertise from across the disciplines adds a deep richness to our work at the Institute, and serves as the underpinning of the interdisciplinary intellectual life enjoyed here by scholars at all stages of their careers. To my faculty colleagues, I am grateful and deeply appreciative of your support, expertise and partnership over the past nine years. 

As many of you know, intergenerational mentorship has been integral to all we do at the Institute since our founding. During my directorship, we have expanded our programs to support students and junior scholars at different stages of their careers. We have brought together postdoctoral fellows, graduate dissertation fellows, undergraduate Susan Heck interns, student workers, and other junior scholars to create an intergenerational community. To all the students and fellows who have shared your excellence, your pioneering research ideas, and your partnership on so many projects,  I extend my thanks. You are the lifeblood of the Institute, and I am excited to follow the exciting paths you are taking. 

I’ve said many times: we have one of the best staffs on campus. I am profoundly grateful for the contributions of our staff who manage our fellows programs, events, stewardship, communications, finance, and operations. I deeply appreciate the long-time partnership of Lori Nishiura Mackenzie and the thought leadership of Alison Dahl Crossley. I am also deeply appreciative of the dedication and great work of Natalie Mason, event coordinator; Shivani Mehta, director of programs; Valerie Miner, artist-in-residence; Cynthia Newberry, communications manager; Jennifer Portillo, program administrator; and Wendy Skidmore, fellowship manager. As a staff, we have achieved so many things. The Institute simply would not function without all of your leadership and effort. Thank you! 

Looking back on what we’ve accomplished together, I’d like to highlight some memorable activities. In my first few years, as a new director I chose as a theme, “Moving Beyond the Stalled Gender Revolution,” to focus on how gender equality gains in leadership and wages had leveled off in recent decades. In addition to this research, we worked to strengthen and continue core Clayman Institute activities through Honoring our Founders events, the faculty Voice and Influence Program, and a restructuring of the graduate dissertation fellows program to provide full funding for our fellows.

I step down as the Clayman Institute director after nine wonderful years, and while I will deeply miss being director, I leave feeling very good about the Institute’s future. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the incoming director, Professor Adrian Daub, through his leadership of the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and I know he will excel in building the Institute’s partnerships, working with and inspiring students, and charting his own memorable course as director. For me, serving as director of the Clayman Institute has been the most remarkable experience of my faculty career.

The Jing Lyman series of lectures brought such dynamic and diverse women to campus to share their wisdom with the Stanford community throughout my tenure. From journalist Kathy Pollitt, to Gloria Steinem, Sheryl Sandberg and Paula Giddings, as well as the incomparable Kimberlé Crenshaw and Carla Harris – it was truly an honor to host and learn from these women luminaries.

From 2013 to 2015, our increasing partnership with the private sector stands out through the establishment of several important programs. Our Redesigning, Redefining Work conference, establishment of the Women’s Leadership Center, and joining forces with business leaders via our Corporate Program provided valuable opportunities to put our academic research into real-world practice. We were also proud to expand our academic mentorships by launching a Graduate Voice and Influence Program and by convening the groundbreaking Online Feminism Conference. 

In 2016 and 2017, it was rewarding to see the growth of the Clayman Institute through our continued focus putting research into to action to advance gender equality. We a hosted a multi-year symposium on Breaking the Culture of Sexual Assault, and we convened an academic-practitioner conference, the Beyond Bias Summit, to develop empirically supported solutions for removing gender biases in the workplace. We established the Seeds of Change program under the leadership of Sara Jordan-Bloch. By partnering with external partners in Bay Area high schools and Stanford undergraduate STEM majors, who lead the program with circles of high school women, we are having an impact on students’ leadership development and their interest in STEM fields. 

During the last couple of years, the Clayman Institute helped establish a framework to carry much of this work forward. With a generous endowment from the tech company,  VMware, the Women’s Leadership Center became the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab, where I will continue as director. Stanford Alums Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden demonstrated their support for ongoing feminist scholarship through the establishment of two named chairs at Stanford. The first chair was created in honor of Professor Estelle Freedman, and will support a faculty member committed to scholarship and teaching in feminist and gender studies. They also established the Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden Family Professorship in Women’s Leadership, and I’m honored to serve as the inaugural chair.

In my final event as director, the Gender Equality 2019 Symposium, I invited colleagues and friends whom I had some role in mentoring to join me in reflecting on the continued barriers to full gender equality and to share research-based strategies for getting beyond those barriers. The event featured exciting research from Professors Adina Sterling, Erin Cech and David Pedulla.  I am grateful for your participation in this event and for the kind tributes you offered to me.

As we have worked to develop and test strategies for promoting gender equality, we have promoted a “small wins” model of change. I have been gratified to partner with those in business and academic settings to put this model into action and to see the positive results it is producing in organizations.  To our partners, I am grateful for your willingness to join forces with us, and because of you I believe even more strongly that academic research can be a transformative force. 

I step down as the Clayman Institute director after nine wonderful years, and while I will deeply miss being director, I leave feeling very good about the Institute’s future. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the incoming director, Professor Adrian Daub, through his leadership of the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and I know he will excel in building the Institute’s partnerships, working with and inspiring students, and charting his own memorable course as director. For me, serving as director of the Clayman Institute has been the most remarkable experience of my faculty career. To all of you who have supported me as advisors, donors, fellows, staff and academic colleagues, thank you—we have accomplished so much together. 

With gratitude,
Shelley J. Correll

A gender lens
exposes gaps in knowledge,
identifies root causes of barriers,
and proposes workable solutions.