KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Michigan American Council on Education Network has recognized Dr. Carla Koretsky, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, as a distinguished woman in higher education leadership.
This annual award is given to those who have distinguished themselves by providing outstanding leadership to women in their institutions, in their profession and in society at large. The award recognizes groundbreaking work on behalf of women that is outside the scope of the nominee’s formal workplace responsibilities. This is the highest honor the Michigan ACE Network presents.
Koretsky has served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for four years. In this position she has actively promoted diversity and inclusion initiatives, especially related to the advancement of women and people of color in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
"Dr. Koretsky is an exemplary administrator and a compassionate citizen with an unwavering commitment to serve both university and broad community, particularly those who are historically underserved," says Dr. Jennifer Bott, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "She is a valued member of our campus community."
A problem solver by nature, Koretsky has worked tirelessly to investigate and educate others on health disparities and advance educational equity, and has also helped promote access to underserved communities across West Michigan leading a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Racial Healing Planning Grant in her previous role as dean of the Lee Honors College.
As dean of the Lee Honors College, Koretsky also helped create the Raise Your Voice series, which featured female artists, academics, politicians and activists, including prominently featured keynote speakers Gloria Steinem and Anita Hill.
She has served as a faculty member in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability since arriving at WMU in 2000.
An active researcher with expertise in aqueous geochemistry and biogeochemistry, Koretsky has led a diverse team of undergraduate and graduate students, seeking to integrate field, laboratory and modeling studies of mineral-water-biological interactions near the Earth's surface.
LEADING THE WAY TO RETENTION AND CAREER ADVANCEMENTS FOR WOMEN IN STEM
Koretsky's latest accomplishments include leadership roles on two major initiatives intended to increase the diversity of STEM fields.
Koretsky serves as the WMU lead investigator on a three-year, $996,000 ADVANCE grant from the National Science Foundation awarded to support a collaborative partnership with Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University and North Dakota State University. The partners seek to develop and implement strategies to increase the diversity of STEM faculty across the country.
"As a geochemist, Dr. Koretsky is intimately familiar with the obstacles women face both within the scientific disciplines as well as higher education as a whole," says Bott. "I have personally witnessed her outreach to, advocate for and mentor many female students, faculty and staff across our campus community."
The NSF ADVANCE project will bring a number of strategies to WMU intended to support diverse faculty, including training programs for campus leaders, an advocates and allies program, and cross-institutional faculty mentor communities.
In fall 2019, WMU joined 19 other universities selected to participate in the Aspire: National Alliance for Inclusive and Diverse STEM faculty, supported by the American Public and Land-grant Universities and funded by the National Science Foundation INCLUDES initiative. Koretsky serves as a WMU co-lead for this project, which provides support for member institutions to assess and improve their faculty recruiting, hiring and retention practices.
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