Women in Higher Education Administration Leadership and the Role of Institutional Support

Women in Higher Education Administration Leadership and the Role of Institutional Support

Sheila Thomas (California State University Chancellor's Office, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2783-2.ch012

Abstract

Studies show women are underrepresented in higher education leadership. Nonetheless, women leaders achieve success when they receive strong institutional support. Mentors and coaches, both men and women, have the most impact on women's success, while other institutional aids include financial assistance, leadership support, and open institutional culture. Women who advance in their careers tend to remain at their institution. At the same time, lack of institutional support, family and work conflicts, and limited career advancement opportunities continue to pose barriers as women seek positions in the upper echelons of academic administration. Thus, there is a need for strong, consistent institutional support to improve and accelerate women's progress. Institutions that implement change in an inclusive, adaptable, and flexible manner can build a supportive infrastructure that benefits everyone. Women who prepare academically and professionally and contribute to the scholarly literature will help shape the future of higher education.
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Background

Until recently, the research literature focused on the barriers and challenges women continued to face in higher education leadership administration. In some cases, the aggregate of disadvantages encountered by women in such positions resulted in the adoption of a pluralistic leadership style, blending professional and personal characteristics (Wheat & Hill, 2016). A more current trend in the literature has been to examine the positive professional experiences of women who have attained senior leadership positions (Hannum, Muhly, Schockley-Zalabak & White, 2015), including how supportive institutional policies and practices have enabled systematic movement up the administrative ladder. According to the Association for the Study of Higher Education (2017), policy and curricular reform and research has enhanced women’s access to senior level positions.

In addition, opportunities for mentoring have provided some women with a positive environment to succeed (Searby, Ballenger & Tripses, 2015). Some institutions have invested in formal professional development programs and mentoring opportunities to help prepare women for leadership positions. For example, administrators at Ohio State University created the Women’s Place and the President and Provosts Leadership Institute (Hornsby, Morrow-Jones & Ballam, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Glass Ceiling: A metaphor for the intangible systemic barriers preventing women from obtaining senior-level positions ( ACE, 2017 ).

Leadership Theory: The study of the ways in which an individual influences, encourages and motivates others to action. Women were not represented in early leadership theories due to their relative absence in management positions ( Jogulu & Wood, 2006 ).

Succession Planning: Finding the right person for the right job at the right time ( Rothwell, 2005 ).

Higher the Few: A phrase used to describe the disconnect between educational attainment and holding a senior level academic or administrative position for women ( ACE, 2017 ).

Leadership Development: Assisting incumbent and emerging leaders with opportunities and resources to acquire the capabilities and competencies to lead institutions today and in the future (Madsen, 2012 AU32: The in-text citation "Madsen, 2012" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Institutional Culture: Institutional policies, practices, beliefs and traditions affecting the careers and lives of faculty, staff, administration and students ( Bingham & Nix, 2010 ).

American Higher Education System: A loosely coupled network of postsecondary institutions in the United States including public, private non-profit and for-profit institutions offering degrees and certificates beyond high school (Trow, 1988 AU30: The in-text citation "Trow, 1988" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Career Patterns: Parameters combined in different ways reflecting the unique patterns of a career (Sullivan & Mainiero, 2008 AU31: The in-text citation "Sullivan & Mainiero, 2008" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Mentoring: The process by which one professional is paired with one or more seasoned professionals either through a formal program or informally through a network, as a way to provide guidance and share knowledge (Darwin & Palmer, 2009 AU33: The in-text citation "Darwin & Palmer, 2009" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

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