In summer 2015, Dr. Michele Janette returned to the Department of English after completing a very productive five-year term as Head of Women’s Studies. Dr. Valerie Padilla-Carroll thanked her for her many and substantial contributions to the department, and presented her with an engraved glass sculpture at our End-of-Year Celebration in May 2015:
“Today I would like to say a few words about Michele and her time as Head of Women’s Studies. When she first became Head I went to her office for the yearly goals meeting and she asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted a tenure-track position. She said “give me a published article–show me you can do the required scholarly research and I will fight for you.” And after two years, she managed to convert my position to tenure track. That, to me, is representative of Michele as Head of Women’s Studies. She fought for the department and for the faculty to secure resources and to support excellence in research.
Let me list just some of the things she did in her single term as Head of Women’s Studies:
She secured a long-promised targeted hire for Tushabe.
She managed to convert two instructors to assistant professor positions- one for me and one for Gabriela Diaz de Sabates.
She obtained not just one but two visiting positions last year.
She has secured and maintained travel funds for women’s studies core faculty at levels that, as I understand it, make other faculty jealous.
She made our Administrative Specialist Kim Garver full-time.
She secured the continuation of Tom’s Sarmiento’s visiting position for next year.
She pushed through the queer studies minor.
She helped secure on ongoing relationship with a donor to endow a scholarship.
And so on…
Oh, and also, in her spare time, she earned promotion to full professor.
By any objective measure Michele has been an extraordinary Head. By subjective standards and as my friend, Michele has been a strong and kind leader of the department. She is straightforward when you can’t have something and she is fantastic at soothing the inevitable tensions among people. Seriously, and my colleagues don’t know this, but Michele’s ability to work through issues without drama is the reason that I have not gone on several rampages throughout the office. Michele works to fix the problem, finding alternatives and sometimes just sitting and talking it through with you. She is also willing to speak the truth and tell you the problem is that you are wrong. Strong medicine, I know, but absolutely necessary.
So, Michele, for all your hard work, your amazing ability to secure resources, for your tireless advocacy of Women’s Studies I would like to present you this memento. Thank you for all you have done and I will miss you.”