Written by Dwight Bachman
Martha Shouldis, left, president and CEO of St. Vincent's College in Bridgeport; Carmen Cid, Henriette Pranger, chairperson of the Department of General Education at Goodwin College in East Hartford; and Christine Boronico, associate vice president for retention at the University of New Haven, pose for a photograph after Cid is presented with Higher Education honor of Distinction.
Willimantic, Conn: -- Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University for the past seven years, has been named the first recipient of the American Council on Education's Women's Network/Connecticut Women in Higher Education Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award. This award was created to recognize and honor women who have distinguished themselves by providing outstanding leadership in their institutions, in their profession and in society at large. The award is designed to recognize the work of women in higher education that is outside the scope of the nominee's formal job responsibilities.
"Dr. Cid is an inspiration to women everywhere," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez, "especially young women considering careers in science. As our Dean of Arts and Sciences for the past seven years, Dr. Cid has supported undergraduate research, led efforts to enhance access and retention for underrepresented student populations, and advocated for our faculty and students to have research opportunities in science. She is a distinguished member of the biology faculty who leads by example."
Cid's advocacy of women in higher education began in 1991 with her appointment as chair of the Women and Minorities Committee of the Ecological Society of America (ESA). She successfully laid the foundation for this newly established committee through initiatives and programs for mentoring and promoting career development of women and minorities. During her three-year term, Cid, a native of Cuba, developed the first Careers in Ecology brochure, coordinated the first provision of child care at the ESA annual meeting, and coordinated the publication of the first ESA article on career options for dual-career couples.
"Dr. Cid has been a role model, advocate and mentor to women," said Martha Shouldis, president/CEO of St. Vincent's College in Bridgeport. "Her work inspires me to do more to support the development of women in higher education. The Connecticut Women in Higher Education are proud to have her as the first recipient of this Distinguished Women in Higher Education Leadership Award." Henriette M. Pranger, chair of the Department of General Education at Goodwin College, agreed: "Dr. Cid's scholarship, resilience and service to others inspire all women, especially young women, like my teenage daughters who dream of a career in the sciences."
From 1991-2000, as a member of the American Institute of Biological Sciences Executive Council, Committee on Women, Minorities and the Disabled, AIBS Board of Directors, and chair of the AIBS Human Resources Committee, Cid coordinated collaborative projects to enhance recruitment and retention of women and minorities in the biological sciences. From 1993-1995, Cid was an ecology panelist for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation Fellowship organization and was responsible for coordinating doctoral fellowship distribution to women Ph.D. ecology applicants. Cid chaired the AAUW Educational Foundation American Fellowships combined panel for two years, and was in charge of distribution of more than $2 million in grants/fellowships to women pursuing doctoral programs in all disciplines.
Cid said she was fortunate to have as mentors women who were pioneers in plant ecology in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as minority male and female university presidents who empowered her to develop her leadership potential. "I believe women leaders need to pay attention to the talents of those around them to meet the strategic planning goals for the organizations they lead, seeking out diversity of perspectives and training so as to maximize innovative solutions to any problems that arise.
"Women must be permitted equal opportunities to excel at all ages and to give back to other women seeking to advance and succeed, Cid continued. "We need to encourage girls from an early age to become independent thinkers, to value their point of view and to learn how to use data to back their statements."
In 1994, Cid was one of the first recipients of four-year National Science Foundation funding for developing programs to improve participation and mentoring of girls and women in the sciences, with the project entitled "United Connecticut for Women in Mathematics, Science and Engineering."
She developed an education coalition to unite Connecticut's education programs (K-16), community groups and businesses in working toward attracting and keeping girls and women in STEM studies and careers.
Since 2005, Cid has been an active member of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), the national professional organization for deans of arts and Sciences. In 2006, she organized the first Cultural Diversity Committee for CCAS. Since then, she has put together panels and workshops at the annual CCAS conference on ways to mentor women and minority faculty who seek leadership positions, with special attention to the additional problems encountered in the sciences.
With CCAS, Dr. Cid is now a co-principal investigator of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant that infuses STEM gender equity content in an existing CCAS national professional development program for deans and chairs.
Cid has received several awards and distinctions recognizing her work as a professor, scholar and mentor in the sciences, including the 1984 Michigan State University Woman Achiever Award and the 1995 American Association of University Women Achievement Award. Her NSF-funded work in improving recruitment and retention of women and minorities in the sciences, creating education coalitions to enhance student retention and progress to graduation, and Project Wonderwise led to her being chosen for the 2006 Maria Stuart Miller ― Woman of Excellence Award by the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF).
Cid earned her bachelor's degree in biology at New York University; and a master's degree and PhD. degrees in plant ecology at Ohio State University and Michigan State University, respectively.