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Pisaneschi honored by network of Michigan educators

June 14, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Janet I. Pisaneschi, Western Michigan University provost and vice president for academic affairs, is the 2007 recipient of the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award from Michigan's American Council on Education Michigan Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education.

During a June 12 awards ceremony in Lansing, Mich., Pisaneschi became only the sixth Michigan woman to receive the coveted annual award created to "recognize women who have distinguished themselves by providing outstanding leadership to women in their institutions, in their profession and in society at large." Only the presidents of ACE Network member colleges and universities are invited to make nominations for the award, and the selection committee is made up of officers from Michigan's two- and four-year public and private institutions.

WMU Interim President Diether H. Haenicke nominated Pisaneschi for the Michigan ACE Network award, calling her "a leader of enormous talent, who is a role model for both women and men on our campus, in our community and around the nation."

Pisaneschi served for 17 years as dean of WMU's College of Health and Human Services before agreeing to serve for a year in her current role. She will retire at the end of this month. In the years immediately before coming to WMU, she was a Congressional Fellow of the American Society for Allied Health Professions, serving for a year on the majority health staff of the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, and she was a consultant for the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

She was lauded for the role she played in leading WMU's College of Health and Human Services to national recognition for the quality of its program, for leading the creation of WMU's Unified Clinics, which serve the West Michigan community, and the creation of WMU's Bronson School of Nursing. She was also praised for recruiting other strong women to serve in leadership roles, and for her own distinctive leadership style.

"Her term in office has been characterized by traits I would call the best qualities of leadership," Haenicke noted in nominating her. "She listens intently, quietly makes her priorities known, is quick to offer praise for a job well done and is seen as someone who has united the campus behind the important goals she has clearly defined."

A 1961 graduate of Ursuline College, Pisaneschi taught biology to elementary through high school students for six years before pursuing graduate work. She then earned a master's degree from St. John's University and a doctoral degree in the philosophy of science from St. Louis University.

Her career has included a faculty position at Christian Brothers College, where she went on to be the first woman to lead an academic division at that institution. She also served on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and held administrative posts at the University of Kentucky, where she served as the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Education and later as assistant dean of the College of Allied Health Professions.

The Michigan ACE Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education provides professional development, networking, mentoring and public policy advocacy for women in Michigan's higher education system. The network is open to all state public and private, two-year and four-year institutions and requires institutional membership for participation. A 16-member Executive Board oversees network activities. In addition to working with five regional and 46 institutional representatives, the board communicates directly with college and university presidents and their statewide associations to facilitate interaction between women with executive potential and chief executive officers in the state.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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