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Bird’s-I-View: Women in Education

Written by on March 30, 2020

As we approach the end of Women’s History Month, it’s important to honor the women that help create a better community. Bloomington-Normal is made up of powerful women within the community, including many teachers, local politicians and women in media.

 From student-teachers to the elementary and administrative levels, women in education have proven to dedicate their careers to our future.

Illinois State University’s Provost Jan Murphy is an example of women in our universities creating change from the administrative level.

“Even though, as Provost, I rarely have the opportunity to teach anymore, I believe that I still change lives every day. It has made for a very rewarding career,” said Murphy.

Murphy has worked at Illinois State University for decades through varying roles. She has served as a professor, department chair, dean and provost.

Murphy explains the level of impact of higher education has on students.

 

Photo Courtesy of Illinois State University

“It is incredibly rewarding to work with students and see them learn and mature during the time they are with us,” said Murphy. “Having said that, it is also rewarding to be an administrator impact all students on campus through policies and procedures that reduce discrimination, programs of study that enhance all students’ understanding of this diverse world, and funding that makes college accessible and affordable to all.”

When asked who Murphy was inspired by, she said she has been inspired by women her entire career.

“My first two supervisors at Illinois State (my department chair and college dean) were both women and I have worked for two female provosts,” said Murphy.

She advises women to find mentors they trust and listen to them, but those aren’t the only women she is inspired by. Murphy also said her own daughter inspires her because she has always been brave and mature.

“I wish that I had been as brave as her in high school and college. She is extraordinary and she inspires me to continue working hard and setting new goals,” said Murphy.

Through her career, Murphy has aided to the strengthening of international ties through the INTO program, added degree programs like cybersecurity, and continued growth for the university.

She serves as an example for many young student teachers and women in the community. As she plans to retire from her position at the end of the 2020 fiscal year Murphy is thankful for everyone who has contributed to her success.

“I have been blessed with a great family, wonderful colleagues and amazing friends,” said Murphy. “I will never be able to pay back all who have helped me through the years, but I will continue to try to pay forward and help others succeed.”

Make sure to keep an eye out on Wednesday to see how women are impacting local politics.