This is the first post in a series contributed by Susan Albertine, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
Reading the postings at SAfeminist, I’ve been thinking not just about leadership and mentorship for women on campus, but also about the purposes of leadership itself. Why do we—by whom I mean SAfeminist voices—care so much about leadership, specifically about female leadership? Is it really self-evident why it matters? SAfeminist writers are united in their call. I hear that. I hear that women continue to feel pulled between the personal and the political, between family and career, between fixed and fluid identities, between one polarity and another. Personal experience tells me those dynamics are real. What I am not hearing as clearly is why women’s leadership and mentorship will help right now. I’d like to reflect on that question. To what end do we envision the leadership for which we are calling? Continue reading Reflections on Gender Equity in Higher Education: An Introduction
by: Sara Hinkle, Jennifer R. Keup, & Jodi Koslow Martin
As we have referenced before, this blog is the descendant of an ongoing Women’s Leadership Book Club in which most of the regular #SAFeminist contributors engage. Our most recent book selection literally started with the daunting questions “When did you make a mistake in your career and what did you learn from it?” The rest of the book, aptly titled Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect on What They Got Out of Getting it Wrong, is dedicated to sharing the stories told in response to that question for a number of female leaders from a wide range of professions, including Kim Gordon (bassist and founding member of Sonic Youth), Ruth Reichl (La Times and New York Times food critic, author, and editor of Gourmet magazine), Carol S. Dweck (Stanford psychology professor and motivation researcher), and Dr. Cori Lathan (Founder and CEO of the engineering research and design firm, AnthroTronix).
Reading the very real, sometimes embarrassing, occasionally painful stories was a fascinating and enlightening experience. Especially because it was such a raw insight into the taboo topic of women making mistakes, for which we rarely allow or forgive ourselves due to stringent and typically unrealistic expectations of women that are often self-inflicted but socially endorsed. Continue reading Making it Right After Getting it “Wrong”
by Shelly N. Laurenzo
I have been fortunate enough, during the past semester, to participate in a women’s leadership program on my campus called Women of Change (WoC). Three senior members in student affairs and academics brainstormed and developed this program over several years before finally receiving a grant for this inaugural cohort. Just to give you an overview of WoC, there are eight women in the program from a variety of offices in student affairs (residence life, health center, and judicial affairs to name a few) in entry and mid-level positions. We began in December with our kick-off retreat and have met every other week for three hours during the spring semester.
Continue reading Women of Change: Building women’s leadership programs on campus
by Jennifer Stripe Portillo
One morning a few months back, I stopped by the office of one of the department chairs at my institution. She and I had been trying to connect all week to discuss a student matter and just kept missing one another. I got lucky on this day—a Friday at just after 9:00 am—finding her at her desk deeply engrossed in a stack of paperwork. We exchanged pleasantries and jumped right into conversation about the student issue.
As our interaction came to a close, I said something like, “I’m sorry it took me so long to get back to you—I have been running behind all week. And Fridays are my mornings to drop my son off at daycare, so I always get to work late.” She stopped short and said, Continue reading No More, “I’m Late!”
by Adrianna Kezar
Leaders in student affairs have embraced new notions of leadership as collaborative, non-hierarchical, collective and focused on social justice and change. Well not everyone, but certainly I find leaders in student affairs strongly align with new ideas about leadership embodied in models such as Helen Astin’s social change model of leadership or Allen and Cherrey’s systemic leadership. And, not surprisingly, it is research on effective women leaders that was used to create new conceptions of leadership.
Unfortunately, as women are entering positions of authority on college campuses, the environment is changing markedly and is becoming much more corporate and market-driven in orientation. The pressure to compete comes from the global economy in which a more capitalist orientation is seen as preferable and essential for success in the coming decades. Continue reading Women’s Leadership in a New Era
by Heather Shea Gasser
As a feminist and social justice educator I began studying the interconnections between these concepts with our societal beliefs about “leadership” many years ago when I came to work as the director of a women’s center. In a previous role at a different institution, I had connected with leadership studies and taught a 3-credit leadership course.
As I approached the role in the Women’s Center, I was combing through the literature imagining applying my knowledge as a leadership educator in my new role. As I looked through the library and references, I grew increasingly fascinated by the plethora of books and articles about “Women’s Leadership” and as I read through these volumes, it was absolutely fascinating how women in leadership are portrayed. After a rather thorough examination of these resources and my previous leadership texts, I was and am struck by how deeply we hold to our socialized beliefs about leadership in society. In fact, if I took a random sample of people and asked them to, off the top of their head, identify someone who they consider to be a leader in society, business, government, administration, or education, I can almost guess the average profile of the person who might come to mind: a white, middle-aged, straight, male.
Continue reading Feminist Leadership vs. Feminine Leadership