Women at the Top: What Women University and College Presidents Say about Effective Leadership

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Stylus, 2009 - Education - 157 pages
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Although much has been written about leaders and leadership, we unfortunately know little about the women who fill this particular role.

This book-the first in a series that explores women leaders in different contexts-remedies this gap by presenting the reflections of nine women community college, college, and university presidents on what they see as key tenets of leadership, illuminated by pivotal events in their careers.

These presidents know the power of words, and in telling their stories through these interviews with the authors, they let us know who they are, what their visions are, and what they value.

While they express some differences in their emphases on particular leadership characteristics, they show remarkable unanimity in their beliefs as to which are the most important-competence, credibility, and communication.

The participants discuss the growing opportunities for women in higher education administration, without minimizing the barriers that still exist, nor the potential for backlash against powerful and assertive women. They stress the need for women to be very careful about making the correct choices for themselves; to balance personal life and work; and to appropriately prepare for leadership.

This book both breaks new ground, and offers guidance for women who aspire to positions of leadership-in any field of endeavor.

The Presidents:

Gretchen M. Bataille, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Barbara Douglass, Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Winsted, CT
Mildred Garc a, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Carol C. Harter, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Mamie Howard-Golladay, Sullivan County Community College, Loch Sheldrake, NY
Martha T. Nesbitt, Gainesville State College, Gainesville, Georgia
Pamela Sue Shockley-Zalabak, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Betty L. Siegel, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
Karen Gayton Swisher, Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, KS

Each confronts her world with grace, her work with passion, and her life with enthusiasm.

The Series: Pathways to Leadership is a series about successful women who have reached the pinnacle of their careers. It features stories about extraordinary women who have found paths to success-whether it's leading a college or university or becoming successful scholars in science and engineering or thriving in some other male-dominated arena.

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About the author (2009)

Mimi Wolverton graduated from Northern Illinois University with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a minor in geology in 1967. She encountered no women on the faculty in either department. That year, women in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) accounted for 8 percent of PhDs. and less than 25 percent of baccalaureate degrees. After working a number of years in heavy construction, she earned both an MBA and a PhD in education leadership and policy studies at Arizona State University and spent several years in academia, retiring in 2007 as a full professor.

Beverly L. Bower is Professor of Higher Education, Don A. Buchholz Endowed Chair, and Director of the Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education, University of North Texas.

Adrienne E. Hyle is Professor of educational leadership at Oklahoma State University.

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