Head shot of professor.

Dianne Rush Woods is the first African American woman to chair the University's academic senate.

Dianne Rush Woods first African American woman at helm of academic senate

  • August 10, 2010 11:30am

Dianne Rush Woods, the University’s first African American woman to head the academic senate, enters her first elected one-year term as chair when fall quarter begins Sept. 20.

She was vice chair last year and assumed the job of chair in January when her predecessor, Susan Opp, was appointed Associate Vice President of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies.

Woods is the ninth woman to be elected to serve as senate chair and the only chair to become chair mid-term without having had previous senate chair experience. 

“I am a facilitator to support faculty and students, ensuring student success and faculty retention,” says Woods.

“It’s the best job on campus, at the worst time,” she observes, referring to the budget crisis that has affecting all aspects of education.

Budget stability will be her coming year focus.

The Academic Senate includes the executive committee, and committees on academic planning and review, instruction and curriculum, budget and resource allocation, faculty affairs, research, fairness, diversity and equity, Concord Campus advisory, and layoffs.

As chair of the Academic Senate, Woods also chairs the University Executive Committee, which includes President Mohammad Qayoumi, and several faculty members, including three from the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences: Jennifer Eagan, the college representative, and CSU Senators Susan Gubernat and Henry Reichman. As chair, she also representavies the faculty on numerous university committees.

Woods holds a Ph.D. from the University of California Berkeley and is an associate professor and chair of social work. Her research areas are nontraditional student populations, managed care, social welfare history and populations of color, brief psychotherapy, and crisis intervention.


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