Women mid-level managers in higher education: a study of inequity in higher education

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jennifer E. Jones-Goodwin (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Colleen Fairbanks

Abstract: Quantitative data gathered in numerous studies shows women in higher education are not advancing in their careers as frequently or to the same levels as men (Gerdes, 2006; Maschke, 1997; Perry, 2000; West et al., 2006; Wilson, 2004). Women remain in high numbers in mid-level positions as either assistant/associate faculty members or staff. While gains have been made in the number of women who hold upper level leadership positions (Bornstein, 2007; June, 2007), these changes are not reflected at all institutions or for women of all races and ethnicities. The purpose of this study is to share the personal stories of the career trajectory for women in mid-level management positions at one higher education institution in order to better understand their career path; motivation or road blocks which compelled them to remain at a mid-level management level; unwritten rules around expectations for women as employees in higher education and finally, personal stories of career growth as they relate to their ability to advance to senior-level leadership positions. I interviewed ten different women regarding their career paths and how they thought and felt about the journey to their current job; including any advice, joys, regrets, or nuggets of wisdom they wished to share with women on a similar journey. Questions involving the lack of women in leadership positions in higher education arise over and over again on college and university campuses and in current literature but remain unanswered. Before change occurs that will eventually lead to gender and racial equity in higher education, personal descriptions of women’s experiences as mid-level managers and insights – in their own words – are needed to gain understanding and context in regard to the questions above while helping to explain the complications inherent in progressing to senior-level leadership positions as perceived by those who face them. Specifically, this study addresses the following research questions: First, I will look at the broader question of, “How do lived experiences of women in mid-level management positions shape their careers in higher education”? Then I will focus on answering: 1. “Why do women make a personal choice not to pursue senior-level leadership positions?” 2. “Do some women make a deliberate choice not to move into higher level positions?” and; 3. “What is it about institutional culture in higher education that makes it so hard for women who desire a higher-level role to move into senior-level leadership positions?”

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Mid-Level Manager, Senior Leader, Women
Sex discrimination in higher education
Women college administrators $x Attitudes
Women middle managers $x Attitudes

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