Commission on the Status of Women

CSW Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Awards

2009 Award Recipients


Dean Christopher Callahan, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism/Mass Communication

The mission of the CSW is to identify and advocate for needed change in order to enhance opportunities for women.  In the three short years that Dean Callahan has served as Dean of the Cronkite School he has demonstrated that in order to make change, determined action is required.  He has demonstrated that it is not enough to simply recognize the need for opportunities, but that those in leadership positions must move to create those opportunities.  Senior Associate Dean, Assistant Dean, Director of the new Media Innovation Lab, Director of the Carnegie-Knight New 21 Project, Director of Enrollment Management/Student Success – all of these leadership positions are held by women appointed directly by Dean Callahan.  When Dean Callahan became the founding dean of the Cronkite School in 2005, none of these positions existed – and many described the School as “male dominated.”  In his short tenure as Dean, Dr. Callahan created all of the positions noted, appointed women to take on this positions, and gave volume to the voice of women in the Cronkite School.  In addition to increasing gender diversity of Cronkite’s administration, Dean Callahan has also dramatically changed the gender make up of faculty and staff from 30 to 50% women, while at the same time, tripling the size of staff and increasing the number of faculty from 22 to 37.  Dean Callahan has proven himself to be a leader among leaders in the plight for gender equity and diversity.


Stanlie James, Professor & Director, African and African American Studies Program

Since arriving at ASU in 2006, Dr. Stanlie James has proven herself to be an outstanding advocate for women.  Her understanding of the diversity among women and her commitment to improving the status of women has often been called “a potent combination.”  In her role as Director of ASU’s African and African American Studies Program, Dr. James has lead with vision, fairness and finesse – and she has demonstrated strength in mentoring, building alliances, and in leading organizational change for women.  Some of Dr. James’ many accomplishments can be seen in her role as current President of the Faculty Women’s Association.  Dr. James was instrumental in the creation and running of an FWA pilot program focused on leadership development of faculty in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.  The goal of the program was to develop faculty women for future leadership roles at ASU.  The pilot was a huge success and it is hoped that the program will be institutionalized at a larger level.  In addition to the leadership program, Dr. James also designed and implemented the Madame President Summit, a unique leadership conference on the topic of women of color as intellectual leaders.  She had the vision to recognize that we were in a historical moment when women of color have been elected to serve as Presidents of Learned Societies including the American Sociological Association, American Political Science Association, American Studies Association, the American Library Association, and the American Historical Association.  The Summit, in its planning and conception, in its modest but welcoming format, and in its insight and depth of discussion provided inspiration to the 175 faculty, students and staff that attended.  Important to note is that the idea for the Summit was developed nearly two years before dialogue on gender, race, and leadership became a topic of conversation at the kitchen tables of Americans.  This again, is testament to the incredible vision of Stanlie James.  In the words of her nominators, Dr. James is a “seasoned leader, generous with her time and talent … she has been a ‘hearth’ around which many of us gather for warmth and sustenance.”


Dr. Susanne Neuer, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences

Dr. Susanne Neuer came to ASU as “trailing spouse,” feeling fortunate to find teaching opportunities and lab space in which to work.  Despite these challenging circumstances, Dr. Neuer set herself apart as a researcher and a mentor.  As the only scientist at ASU working in oceanography, Susanne has overcome numerous obstacles in establishing her lab and making connections with colleagues and students.  Susanne has proven herself an accomplished scholar with more than 33 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has established a strong funding history with NASA, National Science Foundation and the Salt River project.  Perhaps one of Susanne’s most impressive accomplishments comes in the contributions Susanne has made in mentoring others, particularly women students at ASU.  Despite the demands of a young untenured faculty member, Susanne devoted countless hours to reviving the Central Phoenix Chapter of the Association for Women in Science, making the chapter a vibrant and important place for women scientists and students to network, learn from others and share discoveries.  Through her leadership, membership to the chapter has increased by 50%.  Recently, Dr. Neuer was elected to the national board of directors for AWIS – a board which includes many of the most prominent women scientists in the U.S., and is nationally visible in promoting women in science, math, engineering and technology fields.  In addition to her role at AWIS, Susanne has become a leader in supporting women academics at ASU.  She has worked to develop and support programs such as learning lunches -- and she has aggressively pursued the need for females in leadership roles, on prominent panel discussions, and as speakers at ASU.    Through her work at ASU and with AWIS, Susanne is actively mentoring, advocating, and providing a platform at ASU to reach out to support women in the sciences.  In the words of her nominator, “personally, locally, and nationally, Susanne Neuer is a leader in supporting women and girls, helping to create networks and structures for sustained support” and future success.


Denisse Roca Servat, Student Activist & Doctoral Student, Justice & Social Inquiry

The activist work of Denisse Roca Servat not only impacts the ASU community, but also the community beyond our campus borders.  Through her leadership of Local to Global Justice and the group’s annual “Teach-In” event, Denisse has helped educate and inspire numerous women-centered organizations to open up greater dialogue on gender inequities and the ways to change this.  As a founder and board member of Las Otras Hermanas, Denisse has worked with undergraduate students to assist women in Juarez, Mexico.  Perhaps one of Denisse’s most impressive accomplishments, however, can be felt directly here on campus.  During her first year as a doctoral student, Denisse became involved with the Living Wage Coalition, which sought to improve the quality of life for men and women working at ASU in lower wage positions.  The LWC advocated for ASU administration to come up with a Fair Labor Standards policy.  After nearly two years, the policy was created and reinforced when the Aramark food contract was secured.  This policy required that ASU and Aramark provide dignified working conditions and a living wage to all men and women.   Denisse met regularly with Aramark and ASU officials to ensure that Aramark followed this “Values Based Standard.”  In the words of her nominator, “I believe that the [CSW award] should recognize those who contribute to the lives and status of the “other” women on campus, the often “invisible women,” who labor in food, custodial, and grounds keeping service.”  The CSW agrees.  Denisse is a leader on many fronts that benefit women at ASU and beyond.