22 SES 10 D, Leadership in Higher Education: The Role of Women
Hall and Sandler coined the term “chilly climate for women” in 1982. Three decades later, that climate is not much warmer (Morley & David, 2009). Higher education institutions, like many social organizations, perpetuate social and cultural processes that create gender disparity (Prentice, 2000). These inequalities often reveal themselves in employment opportunities within the university, particularly those associated with leadership. “A discussion of gender and higher education leadership is important because higher education is a major site of cultural practice, identify formation and symbolic control” (Odhiambo, 2011, p. 669).
The Western model of higher education, born in Germany and the United States, has been emulated across the globe (Trow, 2006). This emulation brings with it certain cultural assumptions regarding the nature of work and human relations (Altbach, 2004). These assumptions are evident in British Commonwealth countries (Morley et al., 2006) and are particularly apparent in Africa, where colonization recreated the metropole universities of Europe (Ajayi, Goma, & Johnson, 1996). This 90-minute workshop is not focused on how these gendered associations are reproduced globally, but how women might succeed in spite of them – adapting and adopting pre-existing gendered constructs in the environment to their own benefit. We are also interested in identifying how future research might expand the knowledge base on women and leadership in the academy.
The workshop will be divided into four segments. We will start by discussing the current discourse on women and higher education leadership (e.g., Acker, 2012; Airini et al., 2011; Valian, 2005). Our intent is to lay a foundation that will serve as the context for the remainder of the workshop. Next, we will ask participants to complete an assessment of the climate for women leaders on their own campuses or in their own organizations using an instrument that elicits data on individual behaviors and institutional policies that erect barricades and undermine success for women. In the third segment, we will engage women in a discussion of that assessment, paying particular attention to unpacking experiences of women from different regions of the world (e.g., Africa, Europe, North America) and exploring ways in which those experiences parallel one another or differ from one another. We will offer strategies participants can use to overcome those barricades and ask them to describe tactics they have employed in their own work settings to address issues of gender bias. Finally, the fourth segment of the workshop will focus on identifying a research agenda around issues of women leaders in higher education. We will also allow time for final questions and comments. By the conclusion of the workshop, participants will have an understanding of the current literature on women leaders in higher education, knowledge of concrete behaviors and policies that impact the success of women leaders, ways to surmount obstacles to success, and ideas about topics that need further study with respect to women leaders in the academy.
Acker, J. (2012) Gendered organizations and intersectionality: Problems and possibilities. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal 31(3): 214-224. Airini, Collings S., Conner, L., McPherson, K., Midson, B. & Wilson, C. (2011) Learning to be leaders in higher education: What helps or hinders women’s advancement as leaders in universities. Educational Management Administration & Leadership 39(1): 44-62. Ajayi J, Goma L, and Johnson G (1996) The African Experience with Higher Education. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. Altbach PG (2004) Globalization and the university: Myths and realities in an unequal world. Tertiary Education and Management 10: 3-25. Hall, R. M., & Sandler, B. R. (1982). The campus climate: A chilly one for women? Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges. (Report of the Project on the Status and Education of Women) Morley, L. & David, M. (2009) Celebrations and challenges: Gender in higher education. Higher Education Policy 22: 1-2. Morley, L., Gunawardena, C., Kwesiga, L., Lihamba, A., Odejide, A., Shackleton, L., & Sorhaindo, A. (2006.) Gender equity in commonwealth higher education: An examination of sustainable interventions in selected commonwealth universities. Research Report Department for International Development, UK. Available at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/r4d/Output/176499/Default.aspx (Accessed June 2012). Odhiambo, G. (2011). Women and higher education leadership in Kenya: A critical analysis. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 33(6), 667-678. Prentice, S. (2000). The conceptual politics of chilly climate controversies. Gender and Education, 12 (2), 195-207. Trow, M. (2006). Reflections on the transition from elite to mass to universal access: Forms and phases of higher education in modern societies since World War II. In: Forest J and Altbach PG (eds) The International Handbook of Higher Education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, pp. 243-280. Valian, V. (2005). Beyond gender schemas: Improving the advancement of women in academia. Hypatia, 20 (3), 198-213.
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