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ERIC Number: EJ870102
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1938-9809
The Stories We Hear, the Stories We Tell What Can the Life of Jane Barker (1652-1732) Tell Us about Women's Leadership in Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century?
Wilson, Carol Shiner
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2009 n2 2009
Jane Barker--poet, novelist, farm manager, student and practitioner of medical arts--was not allowed to attend university because she was a woman. Yet she was Oxford-educated in the most modern of medical theories of her time. By the end of her life, unmarried by choice, Barker was writing for pay under her own name in an emerging genre--the novel--and publicly challenging the dominance of male authors. Aspects of her life prompt reflection upon women in higher education leadership today: assumptions about women's competence in a male-dominated domain, personal decisions about marriage and childbearing, and the consequences and rewards of choosing the difficult career path. This essay is based on printed sources such as American Council of Education data (2009) and recent interviews with seventeen women leaders in private colleges and universities in the United States. The stories of these provosts and presidents illuminate challenges faced by women seeking and living in positions of authority and influence. These leaders negotiated suspicions that women could be decisive or have expertise in finance, and they were faced with difficult decisions as institutions responded to the late-2008 economic downturn. Women in this pool made a wide range of decisions about marriage, childbearing, and gender roles in a marriage. Generational and racial differences influenced their approaches to their work. Administrators, especially presidents, negotiated the isolation inherent in their positions. Concerns have arisen, in fact, that the constant scrutiny or "fishbowl" life of a president has decreased the traditional applicant pipeline of provosts. The essay concludes with an overview of women's choices about leadership in higher education today. (Contains 11 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States