Virginia Tech’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity will host its 10th annual Faculty Women of Color (FWCA) in the Academy conference April 1-3 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. While the program will be held in person, many sessions also will have a virtual option.

The conference offers educational and professional opportunities for Indigenous and women of color scholars — at all levels of their career — to network, engage, and learn with colleagues from around the country. This year's FWCA will feature sessions that will explore the topics of leadership, career advancement, personal well-being and scholar activism. 

“The national planning committee has created a dynamic program that includes professional development workshops, networking socials, and mentor development sessions. At the end of the day, it is all about connecting with and supporting one another so everyone feels a sense of empowerment by the end of the program,” said Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity Menah Pratt-Clarke, who founded the conference in 2012. 

The conference’s opening keynote speaker is renowned author and cultural critic Roxane Gay.

Gay, who holds a doctorate in rhetoric and technical communication from Michigan Technological University, has received international acclaim for her reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism. Her collection of essays, "Bad Feminist," is universally considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism.

"Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture" is an anthology edited by Gay that has been described as “essential reading” and a “call to arms” by its readers. And she has the distinction of being the first Black woman to ever write for Marvel, penning a comic series in the Black Panther universe.

Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay
Norma Cantú
Norma Cantú
Nikole Hannah-Jones
Nikole Hannah-Jones

The FWCA's next keynote speech will occur midway through the conference and feature Norma V. Cantú, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and distinguished attorney who was appointed by President Biden in 2021 to serve as the chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. This appointment makes her the first Latina to serve as chair of the commission.

Cantú has a long and impressive record of public service and commitment to social justice. Highlights include serving on the Biden-Harris Transition’s “Agency Review Team” for education and serving as the assistant secretary of education for civil rights in the Clinton Administration for eight years. Cantú was only 22 years old when she received her law degree from Harvard University. 

The final keynote speaker will be Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times and creator of the landmark 1619 Project. Hannah-Jones, who is a MacArthur Genius recipient, is known for reshaping national conversations around education reform. She's won a Peabody, two George Polk awards, and the National Magazine Award three times.

“Women of color need opportunities to come together to uplift one another and build lasting professional connections that will strengthen our communities. I have been a part of this conference since its beginning and have observed over the years how valuable it is for the underrepresented faculty women who attend,” said Pratt-Clarke.

Workshops on personal well-being, career development, leadership, writing, and scholar activists will be held throughout the conference and are sure to be thought-provoking, informative, and inspirational. Many of the sessions will be offered both in-person and virtually, and a conference app will be available to attendees. 

Virginia Tech continues to be vigilant in adhering to a range of public health and university guidelines to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Please look online for current information about the COVID-19 and in-person programs.

Virtual registration is open through March 30. A full conference schedule is available online.

2022 FWCA Flyer

To learn more about #FWCA, please visit the website, and like FWCA on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

Share this story