Amy Fried, a professor in the political science department at the University of Maine, is the recipient of the 2019 Career Recognition Award. Given by the Rising Tide Center, the award seeks to recognize female faculty members at UMaine who have made significant contributions to the community through their research, teaching, leadership and out-of-classroom service.
“My focus is a special niche in work on public opinion, as I write about the social and political uses of public opinion,” Fried said. “I’m very proud of working on policies to make the university better for faculty when it comes to work-life balance, an issue that affects all but especially women faculty.”
Fried has been teaching at UMaine since the fall of 2017, when she was part of a cohort of social sciences and humanities professors funded by Stephen and Tabitha King. She said that some of her proudest achievements while at UMaine include writing three books, two of them single author and one co-authored coming in 2020.
“I’m also proud of the great work of students I’ve taught and mentored, both at the university and after they’ve graduated,” Fried said. “My colleagues in the Political Science Department are excellent teachers and scholars who are committed to serving the state, and I’m so glad to be a part of that group and proud of what we do despite our limited numbers.”
Recipients of the Career Recognition Award must be women with more than 10 years of experience in any discipline at UMaine. Only associates or full professors are considered by the selection committee which is composed of peers, at least two previous award winners and the director of the Rising Tide Center.
“Acknowledging the significant contributions of accomplished faculty has been shown to inspire peers seeking role models and mentors,” according to an information sheet about the award. “Recognizing the achievement of senior women faculty is a proven strategy for enhancing diversity and fostering inclusive excellence.”
Fried was one of the individuals who wrote the original grant that led to the creation of the Rising Tide Center. Established in 2010, the center, whose full name is the Rising Tide Center for Gender Equity, was initially focused on “recruiting, retaining and advancing women faculty in the sciences,” according to the center’s website.
The founding grant for the award has since ended, but the center continues to engage the community around and raise awareness on gender equity issues. The center is also closely tied with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program on campus.
According to a UMaine press release, the Rising Tide Center’s Career Recognition Award “seeks to raise the profile of women faculty to advance gender equity in academia.” When asked if she has seen such shifts in her career in academia, Fried noted that there is still more work to be done.
“There certainly have been such shifts although some disciplines have moved more quickly than others,” Fried said. “It’s like our political system. There are more women than ever in elected office but we’re still far from equal representation.”