Former college president: There need to be more women in these positions

Women make up 60% of students but only 26% of presidents

Women need to hold more college president positions to serve as role models and prove females can successfully hold leadership roles, Lucie Lapovsky writes in Forbes.

A principal at her eponymous consulting company and the former president of Mercy College, Lapovsky argues that women should make up half of higher education presidents. Currently, just 26% of US accredited higher education institutions are led by women.

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In contrast, nearly 60% of college students are women and "they need to see that women can lead and can serve well in top positions," she says, adding that men also need to grow accustomed to seeing women as presidents.

A recent conference of female higher education leaders concurred with Lapovsky's point, and the group identified several initiatives to reach their goal.

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How to increase the female presence?

  • Support one another. The group agreed to encourage women to continue their presidencies and welcome new ones when they take office, "letting them know we are there for them."
  • Encourage tomorrow's leaders. Fill leadership development programs with women, encourage them to seek out positions, and nominate them for presidencies.
  • Increase the number of women on boards of trustees. Less than one-third of board members, responsible for choosing presidents, are female.
  • Align women leadership advancement groups more closely. This will make them more effective and reduce risk of redundancy.

"Change can be made person by person and... we individually can make a difference in moving the needle," writes Lapovsky (Lapovsky, Forbes, 11/12).


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