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The history of the African American woman in the United States can be described as a struggle for survival and identity within a tripartite of oppression that includes…
The history of the African American woman in the United States can be described as a struggle for survival and identity within a tripartite of oppression that includes racism, classism, and sexism [Hudson-Weems, C. (1989). The tripartite plight of African American women as reflected in the novels of Hurston and Walker. Journal of Black Studies, 20, 192–207.]. In spite of these challenges, African American women have always considered education an important investment in the future [Gregory, S. T. (1995). Black women in the academy. New York, NY: University Press of American, Inc.)], and despite gender and racial stereotyping that have limited educational opportunities African American females have been inspired to become educators (McFarlin, Crittenden, & Ebbers, 1999). Although African American women are underrepresented in higher educational leadership roles (Ross & Green, 2000; Waring, 2003), little research exploring the development of women leaders in academia, as well of that of existing university presidents, is available (Madsen, 2007). The purpose of this chapter is to explore the career paths of African American university women presidents. This research has important implications to strengthen opportunities to attain these important leadership roles in higher education institutions.
This volume's title, Women of Color in Higher Education: Turbulent Past, Promising Future, suggests women of color have endured a tumultuous past, given their historical experience with discrimination as a result of both racism and sexism in the United States. Collectively identified as African American, Asian/Pacific American, Hispanic/Latina, and Native American women in the United States, women of color share membership in marginalized groups and they experience varied forms of discrimination in their efforts to fully and equally participate in society (Lloyd-Jones, 2011). Discussions of these injustices and their effects are included in chapters throughout the volume. The chapters feature relevant experiences specific to women faculty and administrators of color in higher education. These include examinations of the progress of women of color in academia, as demonstrated by their increased (but still underrepresented) presence in senior-level administrative and faculty positions, and suggestions for a more inclusive academic environment for women of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The compilation of chapters in fact, provides conceptual, empirical, and reflective knowledge implicitly revealing the “present” status of women of color in predominantly White institutions of higher education. Many of the contributors provide implications and recommendations for a “promising future” in their chapters.
Jean Lau Chin, Ed.D., ABPP, is professor at Adelphi University in New York. She has held leadership positions as dean, Adelphi University; Systemwide Dean, California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University; President, CEO Services; executive director, South Cove Community Health Center; and codirector, Thom Child Guidance Clinic. Her work on diversity, leadership, and women's issues has been extensive including a recent Special Issue on Diversity and Leadership in the American Psychologist. Among her many awards for her work is Distinguished Leadership in Education, Organization of Chinese Americans, Long Island.