Technology Professor Earns Difference-Maker Award

Dr. Holly Hutchins’ efforts toward the support of gender equity, inclusiveness, and policies that benefit women and families are making a remarkable difference at the University of Houston. The College of Technology is proud of her leadership, which has been recognized by the UH University Commission on Women (UCW).

The Commission’s Difference Maker Awards were established to acknowledge a faculty, staff, student or administrator whose efforts support the goals of the UCW, including the promotion of faculty and staff advancement. “Dr. Holly Hutchins was a standout member during her two terms, which included serving as faculty chair of the UCW,” said Dr. Beverly A. McPhail, director of the UH Women’s Resource Center.

“She has brought great enthusiasm and skills to the Commission and moved the agenda forward by leaps and bounds by instituting many new programs. She is a phenomenal leader and exemplary role model with great ideas, creativity, and admirable motivational skills,” said McPhail.

Hutchins, associate professor and coordinator for the undergraduate HRD program in the Human Development and Consumer Science Department, served on the UCW for four years in diverse roles as a member, faculty chair and chair of the faculty advancement sub-committee.  She helped to shape the focus of several initiatives targeting faculty, staff and children on campus. Her work on faculty development initiatives included a new faculty brown bag series, the faculty welcome luncheon, the “First Tuesday” women's faculty lunch group, distinguished scholar awards and multiple faculty networking and information sessions. In addition, she participated in writing and editing a number of significant reports that addressed faculty mentoring, domestic partners and the status of women.

Hutchins played a key role in the launch of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) faculty satisfaction survey, which examines factors predictive of faculty satisfaction around issues of tenure, work-life balance, research, service, teaching, compensation and inclusiveness. This survey has been especially useful in helping UH understand satisfaction differences specific to gender and race, which has proven instrumental in institutional planning and the development of grant proposals such as the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program.

“I have greatly enjoyed serving with such an inspiring group,” said Dr. Hutchins. “It is indeed a working committee, where many of initiatives highlight areas of need within the UH community”, she added. “It is especially touching to win this award during the last term of my service. I encourage any faculty interested in equity and inclusiveness to consider joining this dedicated and impactful group of individuals.”

“Dr. Hutchins truly makes a difference for the University of Houston as well as the University Commission on Women. We expect to see more of her outstanding leadership as she continues to make a difference in even bigger arenas,” said McPhail.

The University Commission on Women identifies the concerns of women at the university; promotes gender equity throughout all areas of the university community; recommends to the appropriate administrative offices ways to address the concerns of women at the university; communicates and collaborates with other committees and organizations to provide support, advocacy and information regarding women’s issues; and to raise awareness regarding behaviors, actions, issues, policies and procedures that affect the status of women.