Communication professor to be honored with Googasian Award

Come spend an afternoon celebrating successful women and gender studies students, as well as one of Oakland University’s accomplished and influential women.

The Women and Gender Studies Program Spring Awards Luncheon and the 25th Annual Phyllis Law Googasian Luncheon are on April 11. The joint event will take place 12-1 p.m. in the Oakland Room of the Oakland Center.

With a buffet lunch provided, the day will begin with a presentation of WGS student awards. Jo Reger, director of the WGS program, will address the program’s graduating seniors.

As the luncheon shifts gears, this year’s Googasian Award will be given to Beth Talbert, special instructor and senior adviser for communication in the Department of Communication and Journalism.

“The award is bestowed annually to recognize extraordinary service to the university community and demonstrated commitment to the positive development and advancement of women at Oakland University,” said Jeff Youngquist,  associate professor and chairperson of the Department of Communication and Journalism.

It was created in 1992 in honor of Trustee Emerita Phyllis Law Googasian.

“It has been my experience, in recent years, that the women honored by the Googasian Award have dedicated significant portions of their lives to advocating not just for the women of OU, but also for the betterment of people in general,” Youngquist said. “Unfortunately, much of their work goes unheralded, and this award recognizes, in a small way, their accomplishments and achievements.”

Youngquist said that Talbert is widely known for her work and interest regarding women in leadership.

In addition to teaching, Talbert is a trustee of the Rochester Community Schools’ Board of Education, as well as a member of the Women Officials Network, an organization that provides training and networking opportunities for female officials in the Oakland County area.

She also recently began the OU Women’s Leadership Institute, which creates research-based leadership learning experiences for women.

“It is important to acknowledge and honor the women who make an impact on campus, especially women like Ms. Talbert, who do so much,” said Rebecca Mercado-Jones, assistant professor of communication. “Both instinctively and purposefully, Ms. Talbert improves the status of women on campus with her presence, her persistence and professionalism.”

“Ms. Talbert brings with her a kind word, a cheer of support, and a positive energy, everywhere she goes,” Mercado-Jones said.

Talbert is specifically interested in the ways women both inhabit and experience leadership. She mentioned that society’s prototype for leadership is still masculine, and that many people still don’t feel women should be in the highest levels of leadership.

“I would call myself a pragmatic idealist,” Talbert said.

She hopes her work at OU has a positive impact on everyone she interacts with.

“But for female students in particular, my goal has always been to help them see themselves as leaders and to not apologize for having ambition,” she said. “I want to help women find effective ways to confront unconscious bias, negotiate a salary, and to challenge policies when needed. I don’t have all the answers, but I know we can all do a better job of supporting women and the decisions they make for their lives.”

Youngquist said both of these award programs display the vast possibilities available for students. The WGS awards honor students who will soon be moving on to the next stage of their lives.

“These [recipients] represent the promise of the future,” Youngquist said. “On the other hand, those highlighted by the Googasian award are always highly accomplished women who have done, and are doing, great things in their careers. These women are the inspiration for those who follow in their footsteps.”

For any questions about the event or awards, contact the Office of the Provost at (248) 370-2190.