Today: Jun 18, 2024

Professor elected president of College and University Work/Family Association

Southernct.eduChristian CarrionSpecial to Southern News
Michele Vancour, graduate of Central Connecticut State, Southern and New York University along with being an associate professor of public health at Southern, quickly developed a passion for teaching.
“I saw opportunities to work as an adjunct after I graduated (from Southern),” said Vancour. “and pretty much after my first day teaching, I decided I needed to go back to school to get my Ph.D. so that I could teach forever.”
Vancour, who is married with two children, discovered the challenges of balancing one’s personal and professional lives firsthand.
“In 2001, I had my first son and I entered the realm of motherhood and realized that it’s a lot more challenging to balance motherhood with all the other things people have going on in their lives,” Vancour said.
Around that same time, Vancour was working on her dissertation in pursuit of her Ph.D. in public health from New York University. This presented her with the opportunity to create a link between public health and the field of work/life balance. It was then that she first heard about the College and University Work/Family Association.
“The CUWFA’s mission is to basically provide leadership between universities and students on campus,” Vancour said, “to have a better integration of work and family responsibilities.”
Vancour has been a member of the CUWFA since 2003. In her years as a member of the association, she has provided Southern’s faculty with knowledge needed to maintain a successful work/life balance.
“As a result of my dissertation and research, and my role within the college family, I was able to work with other people on campus to create initiatives like the Lactation Support Program,” Vancour said. “We also now have, through Human Resources, Take Your Child To Work Day, as well as professional development and recognition programs that we didn’t have before.”
In 2011, Vancour was elected president of the College and University Work/Family Association. Her colleagues within the association are confident in Vancour’s leadership skills, as well as her ability to better the organization.
“Michelle’s intelligence, organization, and leadership qualities make her very well-suited for her role with CUWFA as the organization moves towards reaching increasing numbers of institutions of higher education and having ever greater influence on the work/life field in general,” said Marilyn Kraut, past president and current director-at-large of the CUWFA, as well as human resources director at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Dr. Vancour brings a wealth of experience in work-life to the position, as well as many great ideas for moving the organization forward,” said Robynn Pease, vice president of the CUWFA.
Vancour has big plans for the association she now leads, plans that she hopes will increase the organization’s visibility on campus.
“Right now, we are gearing up to have a membership drive, so we can recruit more universities to become members of the association. We’re also trying to enhance our memberships so that we have more to offer our members—for example, we’re beginning to roll out a series of webinars that are free for members, but will have a fee for non-members.”
Vancour does offer a bit advice to the student or faculty member who may have trouble strengthening their work/life relationship.
“Time management. I am big on trying to be organized and planning ahead for things. I always try to have my kids’ backpacks ready for school the night before. So it’s little things like that which help a lot,” Vancour said.

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