Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP)

About WOCAP | WOCAP Steering CommitteeEvents and Projects  

 About WOCAP

The Women of Color in the Academy Project (WOCAP) was founded by a group of female faculty of color at the University in 1994. It is funded by the Office of the Provost and administered through the Center for the Education of Women.

The goals of WOCAP are to:

  • Highlight the contributions women of color make to the university community and to society at large, and
  • Build a campus-wide network of women of color faculty that serves as a support system for their research undertakings, academic career development, and enhanced career satisfaction, thus supporting their retention.
  • To advocate on behalf of women of color faculty and graduate students by working collectively for progressive institutional change with the goal of creating healthy and equitable environments in which to engage in scholarly activity.
  • To serve as a model for future recruitment and retention programs for women of color faculty at the national and international level.

The campus-wide WOCAP faculty steering committee would like to extend an invitation to all instructional track faculty who are, or identify with, women of color, and would like to work together to call attention to structural barriers and promote solutions to enhance the success of women in color in academia.

Contact Deborah Willis for additional information about WOCAP, or for articles on topics of interest to women of color faculty.

2014-2015 WOCAP Faculty Steering Committee

Naomi Andre (Associate Professor, Womens Studies & Residential College)

Maria Castro (Professor, Neurosurgery)

Patricia Coleman-Burns (Assistant Professor, Nursing)

Robin Means Coleman (Associate Professor, Communication Studies & DAAS)

Vilma Mesa (Assistant Professor, Education)

Stephanie Rowley (Professor, Psychology and School of Education)

Denise Sekaquaptewa (Professor, Psychology and Women's Studies)

Hitomi Tonomura (Professor, History)

Robin Wilson (Associate Professor, Dance)

Mieko Yoshihama (Professor, Social Work)

Project Coordinator: Deborah Willis 

Events and Projects

For current events, please see our events page

Here is a sampling of past events and projects:


Shirley Verrett Tribute and Awards Presentation
Thursday, January 30, 4:30 pm
Stamps Auditorium, Walgreens Center


"Advancing Together"

A conference held at the University of Michigan in March 2011 with a keynote address by Dr. Nancy Barcelo, President of Northern New Mexico College, and breakout sessions featuring faculty from across the UM campus. Topics of discussion included:

  • Promising Practices for a Diverse Campus
  • Considering Leadership Positions
  • Academia and Community Engagement
  • Promotion from Associate to Full Professor
  • Balancing Work and Personal Life
  • Mentoring for Junior and Mid-Career Faculty

Professionals of Color Connect

A networking event in the summer of 2010 for area professionals, featuring the performances of 3 UM faculty members: renowned jazz pianist Geri Allen, bassist Robert Hurst, and dancer Robin Wilson.

“State of Women of Color at the University of Michigan Address”
Held in the Winter of 2008, the purpose of this panel of speakers was to spark dialogue within the university community about the state of recruitment, retention, and promotion of women of color faculty across ranks, departments, and units. We hoped to develop interventions that will lead to the successful recruitment and retention of women of color, as well as improve classroom environments, departmental climates, and service contributions.

Through My Lens Video Project

The video project "Through My Lens"  was completed in the fall of 1999. The video was produced to capture the experiences of women of color faculty at U-M as a part of a broad undertaking to create a dialogue that would lead to promoting reform in the recruitment, retention, and overall satisfaction of women of color faculty in academe.

The 27-minute presentation captures salient commentary by women of color faculty on such pertinent themes as: campus climate, isolation/lack of community, balance issues between career and family, and recruitment/retention issues.

The targeted audiences of the video include college and university administrators, faculty and students who are considering careers in the academy. Through My Lens is available for purchase in DVD format.  Please contact Deborah Willis at willisds@umich.edu to purchase the "Through My Lens video.