DWN Fall Faculty Forum: Who do you know?

By Kris Gallagher, associate editor, Alumni Communications

As chair of the Faculty Advisory Council of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Marie Donovan regularly walks the hallways of the state capital, buttonholing legislators to discuss issues that impact higher education. Donovan, who is also an associate professor of early childhood teacher education in the College of Education, is particularly worried about the rising percentage of Illinois high school seniors who choose to attend college outside the state. In fact, Illinois is now the second-largest net loss leader, behind New Jersey.

At DWN’s Fall Faculty Forum, Donovan spoke about trying to talk with a state senator about this issue. He shrugged it off, saying “Let some other state pay to educate them. It’s not our problem.”

Ah, but it is, Donovan told attendees. She expanded on the issues discussed by DePaul President A. Gabriel Esteban, PhD, during his State of the University address in September 2017. Demographically, the number of college-ready potential undergraduates is declining, while enrollment in graduate degree programs is dropping at most universities. Budget issues are exacerbated when more students leave Illinois, leading to program cuts, layoffs, reductions in service and more. More importantly, it becomes harder to fulfill the Vincentian mission of providing a quality education to students on the margins.


“What small things can each of us do to help turn this around?” Donovan asked participants. “Who do you know, how can you influence them, how can you advocate for students to stay in Illinois?”

Participants brainstormed a variety of ideas, including:

  • Talking with teens and their parents about the importance of attending college
  • Talking with teens and their parents about ways to make college more affordable, including taking general education requirements at a community college and transferring to a larger institution to complete their degree
  • Reminding teens and parents to think about transportation costs and challenges when they are considering universities
  • Coaching parents of teens on how to expand their search for financial aid
  • Find ways to strengthen support for at-risk students already enrolled, increasing retention
  • Lobbying legislators to allow for student-loan consolidation programs
  • Asking everyone they talk with, “What are you going to do?”

In closing, Donovan noted that many small efforts lead to larger changes, a phenomenon often described as the “butterfly effect.” (Mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz coined the term after discovering that minor changes in conditions, which he likened to the flapping of butterfly wings, influenced the formation of tornadoes.) “Flutter your butterfly wings,” Donovan said. “Decide what you can do and do it.”

Faculty Forums provide an opportunity for faculty to share their research or present on a topic on interest, and are open to the entire university community.

Apply Now and Never Look Back!

By Jennifer Long

croI joined DePaul in the fall of 2013 in the Office of Advancement, on a team that works to develop special gifts from individual donors by encouraging philanthropy to a variety of initiatives. As you might guess, this externally facing job is rather autonomous and does not require much engagement across the university.

Though you never forget you’re working to support students and programming through fundraising, you can sometimes feel disconnected from the DePaul community while traveling to meet donors. Being housed in an administrative building in the Loop doesn’t help either, as it’s not strictly a DePaul building.

The DePaul Women’s Network was just what I needed to feel more connected.

It took me too long to discover it. I believe the first email that caught my attention was one regarding an improv session on public speaking. I wasn’t bold enough at the time to attend, but I did quickly start my application for the Service and Outreach team and added the Women’s Convocation—honoring 10 years of DePaul Women’s Network—to my calendar.

DWN quickly allowed me to grow in my understanding of the amazing university I had been fundraising for, to understand the breadth of experiences of DePaul women, to learn about how other women were managing their careers, and to learn new skills myself.

The Service and Outreach team—one of five you can serve on as a team member or director—plans events such as the High Tea with St. Louise de Marillac. Joining this team made me feel like I was making a direct impact on the DePaul and surrounding community, and gave me the opportunity to develop additional skills in event planning and coordination. It only required a few more hours monthly than the members-at-large membership group (no team designation). I was pleased my application was accepted and that I was able to participate for the next year. My connections quickly grew through my collaborations with other team members and members at large.

Unfortunately, due to enrolling in a graduate program, I decided to step back from the team role to serve as a member at large in late 2015. However, I’ve still remained connected by participating in a variety of DWN events, including the annual High Tea and the Interactive Art events, and I look forward to attending the more casual ones, such as the regular coffee and happy hours.

In November of 2015, one of the tragic bereavement notices we all receive in our inboxes, referenced a loss I was experiencing. When I returned to the office, I had interoffice mail in the form of letters and gifts from women I had met through DePaul Women’s Network, and even the Service and Outreach team, from which I had recently stepped down. That outpouring of support is yet another example of the benefit of connecting with the beautiful, wonderful women at DePaul and in DWN.

I would encourage every woman to consider what the DePaul Women’s Network might offer their DePaul experience (and beyond!), and how they might like to participate. DePaul University is a place where people grow, and DWN helps connect women throughout that process. Apply now and never look back!

Recruitment for 2017-18 team members and directors is open until April 7, 2017. Click here to apply.

Jennifer Long is a DWN member at large and an assistant director of development for DePaul’s Richard H. Driehaus College of Business.

DWN Book Club: ‘Orphan Train’ Explores Identity and the Things We Carry

By Kris Gallagher


Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline, explores the parallel stories of Molly, a present-day teenager ricocheting through the foster home system, and Vivian, who was put aboard an orphan train bound for Minnesota in 1929.  Members of the DePaul Women’s Network discussed the spring book selection at the Loop and Lincoln Park campuses May 18 and 19.

Only two of the 12 women in the Loop, both history majors, had ever heard of orphan trains before reading the book. Between 1854 and 1929, about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned and homeless children on the East Coast were put on trains heading west. People in rural areas would wait at the train depots and choose children, sometimes to adopt, but most often for labor.

One of those children was Vivian, now 91. She meets Molly when the teen agrees to help Vivian clean her attic to fulfill Molly’s community service hours. As the boxes are opened, their stories unfold.

The participants explored the many parallels in the book. Both Molly and Vivian struggle to shape their own identities as they are shuttled from household to household. Both avoided intimate relationships, sure that those they cared for would soon be torn away from them. Both were adept at letting go of their pasts to survive. At the same time, both carried talismans with them—a Claddagh necklace, cheap pewter charms, an old mustard coat–even though the memories they evoked were painful.

“They didn’t have people who were witnesses to their lives, so they used things,” one participant said. “The things were proofs that they survived.”

Both girls were born into dysfunctional families. They were put into the system of the time to get to more stable circumstances. They found themselves placed, again and again, in households that saw them as labor, not as children. Many of the adult women saw the teenage girls as competition for their husbands’ affection. Many of the men were a little too friendly, and one was a predator.

Vivian finally found a champion who helped her establish a quiet, stable life.  Would Vivian become that champion for Molly? Everyone in the Loop wanted to know what would happen next.  (We won’t find out, but read about a 99-year-old woman who just met the daughter she gave up for adoption in 1933.)

“I’ve come to think that’s what heaven is—a place in the memory of others where our best selves live on.” – Vivian

Kris Gallagher is a member of DWN’s Marketing and Communication team and an internal consultant in University Marketing Communications.

‘Notorious RGB’ Sparks Insightful Discussions

By Kris Gallagher


“She puts so much of her own personal history in her decisions. There will never be anyone quite like her again.”

No, that isn’t a quote from Notorious RBG, the Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was the March selection for the DePauL Women’s Network (DWN) Book Club. Voiced by Elly Kafritsas-Wessles from the College of Computing and Digital Media, it summed up participants’ reactions to Judge Ginsburg’s remarkable story.

Ginsburg did not set out to become an activist for women’s rights, a Supreme Court justice known for her scathing dissents, or even the adored subject of fan clubs, artists and a Tumblr. She simply wanted to be a good lawyer. Whenever culture and tradition got in her way, she went about eliminating the obstacles.

“The pedestal upon which women have been placed has all too often, upon closer inspection, been revealed as a cage.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

At the Loop book club discussion, about a dozen DWN members talked about Ginsburg’s strategic approach to challenging legal and societal barriers. Most were surprised by her personal opposition to the landmark Roe V. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Ginsburg supports the legality of the procedure, but believes incremental changes in the law tend to stick, while dramatic decisions tend to be undermined—an accurate description of the cases surrounding the issue today.

Book club participants credited Ginsburg’s strong, egalitarian marriage to fellow lawyer Marty Ginsburg as a source of both her feminism and her success. The two shared childrearing and household duties and supported each other’s careers in an era where this was unthinkable. Ginsburg turned their shared experience of gender stereotyping into a crafty strategy. She took the cases of men whose rights were infringed by their gender to achieve equivalent women’s rights. She also used her position to advocate for everything from more female legal clerks to the addition of women’s bathrooms in traditionally all-male chambers.

“I think that men and women, shoulder to shoulder, will work together to make this a better world. Just as I don’t think that men are the superior sex, neither do I think women are. I think that it is great that we are beginning to use the talents of all of the people, in all walks of life, and that we no longer have the closed doors that we once had.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Members admired the cheeky and cheerfully illustrated book, which used lyrics from the rapper Notorious B.I.G. as chapter titles. Red “handwritten” annotations filled the borders of excerpts from her briefs and dissertations. Photos of Ginsburg from throughout her life pepper the pages. The cartoons and fan art are particularly wonderful, including a needlepoint submitted by Shannon Downey of the School for New Learning.

They enjoyed the unexpected aspects of the justices’ lives: fantasy baseball leagues, opera, prank gifts, and Ginsburg’s impressive work-out routine. They also talked about Ginsburg’s close friendship with recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, the current Supreme Court vacancy, and Ginsburg’s decision to remain as a justice until she believes she can’t do the job properly anymore.

“For some reason, people repeatedly have asked RBG when she thought there would be enough women on the court. The question is asinine, her answer effective: “When there are nine.” — Irin Carmon, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The next selection for the DWN Book Club is Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Cline. Watch for your invitation to register!

Kris Gallagher is a member of DWN’s Marketing and Communication team and a part-time staff member in University Marketing Communications.

Remembering DePaul’s First Laywoman Graduate

by Beth A. Murphy

Minnie E. Daly listed as a DePaul graduate in the General Alumni Catalog, 1918. Image courtesy of DePaul University Archives.

Who was one of the first women to graduate from DePaul? In celebration of Women’s History Month, we decided to find out.

While the first religious women graduates from DePaul earned their degrees in 1912, Minnie E. Daly (1865 – 1934) was the first laywoman graduate of DePaul University when she earned an A.B. degree in Education in 1914. She was close to 49 years old when she graduated. She attended by means of the Extension Program, which means she attended classes on Saturdays.

Minnie came to DePaul in 1911 to further her education and be a better teacher. Her DePaul transcript shows she had high school credits and attended classes at Lewis, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago – to name a few. Minnie was commuting from two addresses from Rodgers Park. She was a parishioner at St. Ignatius Catholic Church.

Minnie was a public grade school professional. She was principal of Hendrick’s School (43rd and Princeton) from 1922 to 1924; in the late 1920’s, she was the first principal of John B. Murphy School (3539 West Grace). William Adams at Chicago State states that Mary E. Daly (Minnie’s full name) attended Cook County Normal School in the academic year of 1879-80 (when she was 14 years old). Chicago directories for 1885 and 1889 have Minnie listed as a teacher, living at 332 Ohio.

Daly marker
Image courtesy of Brother Mark Elder, CM.

Minnie never married and lived in an apartment building with her siblings Eleanor, Elizabeth, James and John. She died at the age of 69 on June 30, 1934 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Evanston on July 3, 1934. In fall 2015, a head stone was placed at her grave as a result of the efforts of Brother Mark Elder, CM and Father Dennis Holtschneider, CM.

Our gratitude to Brother Mark Elder, CM who contributed to this post.

Beth A. Murphy is a member of the Marketing & Communications team for DWN, and an associate professor in the School of Accounting at DePaul.

Volunteer with DWN for Vincentian Service Day

Jackie Posek
Jackie Posek, DWN’s Service & Outreach Team

By Jackie Posek

As I’m sure we all know by now, St. Louise de Marillac was a huge advocate and propagator of service to those living in poverty and on the margins of society. In her time, she worked for some of the least cared-for populations in Paris and rural France: widows, orphans, abandoned children. Even the women she reached to become Daughters of Charity were often poor country girls with few prospects for education or fulfillment. She was the embodiment of servant leadership, engaging with the poor not as lowly, faceless folks whom she could save, but rather as beautiful, dignified human beings who allowed her the privilege of serving them. For St. Louise, to engage with those living in poverty was a huge blessing, because it was in that service that she was able to encounter the face of God in the world.

Fast-forward 350+ years to the present day, and we who want to follow in the footsteps of St Louise have an amazing opportunity to embody her spirit of service and love for the poor by participating in Vincentian Service Day on Saturday, May 3. More than 1,200 DePaulians will gather and go out to various service sites all over Chicago to engage in a morning of service and relationship with the poor and marginalized. But VSD isn’t just about doing work in poor neighborhoods; it’s about being Vincentian in our community, reaching out to those whom we would ordinarily not encounter and receiving the gift of getting to know them. Vincentian service is first and foremost about personal relationships, coming together with those who surround us every day whom we ordinarily might not see, and seeing the face of God in them in a very special way. And we get this chance to do it together as proud, fierce, Vincentian women of the 21st century!

Signing up for VSD is super easy. Just send an email to me, Jackie Posek, by April 4, letting me know that you’re interested. I’ll take care of registering us as a team through the Vincentian Community Service Office and will let you know all the necessary details. The event starts at 9 a.m. on May 3, with an opening ceremony gathering all the volunteers together and sending us forth in service. We’ll do service in the morning at a particular site as a group, and then come back to DePaul in the early afternoon for a picnic gathering for all volunteers.

This is a great chance to do meaningful service with your friends and colleagues from DePaul. Please consider joining the DWN team for Vincentian Service Day. You will be really glad you did!

Jackie Posek is a member of DWN’s Service & Outreach team and is Assistant Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at DePaul University.

DWN Membership, Explained

Are you confused about what it means to become a DWN Member? By reading on, you’ll discover 7 answers to 7 of your most frequently asked questions about DWN Membership—just in time to apply to join us for 2013-14!

1. Aren’t I already a member?

We answer this question by explaining the difference between DWN participants and DWN members. Both are avenues for getting involved with DWN and supporting the overall DePaul community.

DWN Participants

DWN events are open to all DePaul faculty and staff (including part-time workers) regardless of gender. Without DWN participants to attend events, we would not have a DePaul Women’s Network.

Participants contribute a great deal to DWN’s success:

  • Participants help keep the network alive by encouraging co-workers to attend events, sharing ideas and perspectives, and completing the DWN event evaluation forms.
  • Participants make networking with women across the university possible.

DWN Members

DWN membership is limited to women faculty and staff. DWN members make up the group of volunteers who help plan and execute DWN events throughout the year. Any woman on DePaul’s faculty or staff is welcome to apply to join DWN as a director or general member within 1 of 6 DWN areas.

2. What are the different DWN areas to which members can contribute?

There are 6 areas of DWN that encourage members to share their strengths:

  1. Programming
  2. Communications
  3. Events
  4. Mission & Service (New for 2013-14)
  5. Outreach (New for 2013-14)
  6. Operations

For detailed descriptions of the 6 DWN areas, review the How to Join DWN page or DWN Area Summaries.

3. What is the difference between a director position and a general member position?

Director Position

The directors help mentor the next generation of DWN leaders. This position requires previous project management and/or supervisor experience. The director manages a team of general members within 1 of the 6 areas of DWN.

General Member Position

A general member is a volunteer on 1 of the 6 DWN areas under the guidance of an area director. When applying for a position, please express at least 2 DWN areas that interest you.

4. What are the benefits of DWN membership?

  • Broaden your professional and personal network
  • Support and contribute to Vision 2018 diversity goals
  • Sharpen your skills and build your resume
  • Join an insanely fun group of women!

5. How long does my membership last?

After being selected to be a member of DWN, you are expected to commit to one year of service to the DePaul Women’s Network: July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

6. How do I apply for a director or general member position?

Review Application Instructions

Submit Your Application

Send the completed Member Application Form and signed Direct Manager Support Form along with your resume to dpuwomensnetwork@depaul.edu with attention to next year’s DWN President, Joy Boggs.

7. What if I am still confused about what it means to be a member?

Applications are being accepted through April 5, 2013 – apply today!