Tag Archives: leadership

A Lack of Diversity in Higher Education Leadership

An interesting article was published last week about the lack of    diversity to be found in university leadership. When looking at full-time faculty at universities across the U.S., 79% were white. The lack of diversity was found most among higher ranking faculty (tenure-track; leadership roles; presidents).  For example, while 44 percent of full-time faculty at degree-granting institutions are women, they hold only 29 percent of tenure-tracked positions at doctoral institutions — even though women outperform men 56 to 40 percent in national research grant awards.”

An excerpt from the article:

Thus, university leadership increasingly reflects neither the student body being led nor the world in which graduates will need to operate, a situation that engenders disadvantages and lost opportunities. Students benefit from having mentors and role models from their own racial, ethnic, or gender group — as do faculty who aspire to leadership positions. Institutional leaders can strongly influence institutional culture; having leaders from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences enriches the intellectual and cultural climate in which students learn. And exposure to and experience working with people from different cultural backgrounds better prepares students for the real-world working environment of their futures.

The excerpt above describes much of what is happening in the K-12 teaching force in North America. Although efforts are being made to diversify the teaching force, white female teachers remain the majority of K-12 teachers.

Read the entire blog here:


Women in Leadership Positions in Higher Education

In our study of literacy/English teacher educators we asked participants about their career path. They did a timeline (personal and professional) of turning points. A number have held administrative positions in the university but many found the workload crushing. So I (Clare) was very interested in the recent study, Lost leaders – Women in the Global Academy, which studied females in administrative positions in higher education. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140108162154821
It showed that “[g]ender equality legislation, socio-economic and de-traditionalisation factors have all played a part in this welcome trend [increase in female students in higher education], yet so far they appear to have had relatively little impact on opportunities for women to reach senior management and academic leadership positions in the sector.”  Why are women under-represented in senior leadership positions in universities? In the study they found that “[m]any women … discussed the benefits of gaining power and influence in organisations to effect change. However, leadership was frequently constructed as loss – loss of status and self esteem in the case of unsuccessful applications, but loss of independence, autonomy, research time and well-being when applications were successful.”
I believe there is a real loss not only to women themselves when they choose to not pursue leadership positions but also to institutions when women are under-represented at the decision-making table. I have held a number of senior administrative positions and I can relate to feelings of loss but I also felt there were much higher expectations for me than for my male counter-parts. As a result the position became untenable.  I felt it was a loss to me definitely. Was it a loss to the institution?  Hhhhmmm….. Clare