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

Paper: 978 1 57922 256 7 / $22.50
 
Published: November 2008  

Cloth: 978 1 57922 255 0 / $65.00
 
Published: November 2008  

Publisher: Stylus Publishing
192 pp., 6" x 9"
Series: Journeys to Leadership Series
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 García, 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.

Table of Contents:
Acknowledgements; Foreword; 1) What’s in a Story? 2) I Never Met an Opportunity I Didn’t Like—Gretchen M. Bataille, University of North Texas; 3) Having Fun—Barbara Douglass, Northwestern Connecticut Community College; 4) Moving Forward—Mildred García, Berkeley College; 5) Still Standing—Carol C. Harter, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; 6) Making Diversity Work—Mamie Howard0Golladay; Sullivan County Community College; 7) A Perfect Fit—Martha T. Nesbitt, Gainesville State College; 8) Communicating Commitment—Pamela Sue Shockley-Zalabak, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; 9) Loving the Presidency—Betty L. Siegel, Kennesaw State University; 10) Giving Back—Karen Gayton Swisher, Haskell Indian Nations University; 11) The Road Less Traveled; 12) Project Methodology; Index.



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Reviews & Endorsements:
“A book that is a truly exceptional contribution to the literature on leadership. The authors’ distillation of the interviews to derive the nine tenets of effective leadership make this a must read for aspiring leaders and followers in higher education. I especially liked the fact that the tenets were tucked away in the back after the authors’ thoughtful discussion of the obstacles of this ‘road less traveled’. They highlight the speed bumps and crossroads that traditionally hold women and people of color from leadership positions.

Women at the Top is inspirational because most women who read it will see themselves trying to balance their competing family priorities with career paths and can say, ‘I can do this too.’ The future looks bright indeed for women who aspire to leadership roles in higher education, and this deeply personal and reflective book will serve as a guidebook and resource for other women who seek leadership roles in the nation’s colleges and universities."
- Teachers College Record
"Wolverton (University of North Texas) presents the stories of nine women presidents of community colleges, colleges, and universities. With one exception, each woman is the first woman to head her institution. While they emphasize different leadership characteristics, they show remarkable unanimity in their beliefs as to which characteristics are the most important. The women discuss the growing opportunities for women in higher education, noting that barriers for women still exist and warning of the potential for backlash against powerful and assertive women. They stress the need for women to balance personal life and career, and to appropriately prepare for leadership."
- Book News Inc