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The purpose of this study was to examine whether middle-level female administrators (particularly women of color) in the California Community College system were being…
The purpose of this study was to examine whether middle-level female administrators (particularly women of color) in the California Community College system were being mentored to higher-level positions and whether the retention of leaders in higher-level positions was influenced by mentoring. Specifically, this study examined the mobility and retention of female administrators through a web-based survey that was completed by 156 females currently working in administrative positions at the dean's level or higher in California Community Colleges. Data were also collected through face-to-face interviews with 11 female administrators, 5 of whom were women of color, in senior-level positions from vice president to chancellor. These interviews reflected a range of demographics and were located in Northern, Central, and Southern California. The focus of this chapter is on the responses of the respondents who were women of color.
The study addressed two questions: (1) What effect did mentoring, if any, have on a person's ability to achieve higher-level leadership positions? and (2) What relationship does mentorship have on the retention of women of color in leadership? Findings reported that mentoring was having a positive and often significant influence on women of color administrators and leaders in the California Community College System.
Research to improve access and equity for women of color in higher education offers insights on the nuanced challenges and opportunities that exist today. In the past…
Research to improve access and equity for women of color in higher education offers insights on the nuanced challenges and opportunities that exist today. In the past, women of color confronted overt discrimination in their pursuit of educational and career attainment. Today, they are likely to face more subtle practices couched in what Miller (2010) coins, the “deservingness” status suggesting that although women of color have gained entry in the academy, they come under scrutiny in their faculty and administrative roles. Despite such scrutiny, their presence in the academy has brought them a measure of social independence, ushered in multiple perspectives to enrich students' learning experiences, and have challenged traditional approach to research knowledge, and leadership theories and practices (Glazer Raymo, 2008; Jean-Marie, Williams & Sherman, 2009; Lloyd-Jones, 2009).
Mary V. Alfred, Ph.D. is an associate dean for Research and Faculty Affairs and professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development in the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include learning and development among women of the African Diaspora, socio-cultural contexts of immigration, welfare reform and women's economic development, and issues of equity and social justice in higher education and in the workplace. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration with a focus in Adult Education and Human Resource Development Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin.