Role Models and Mentors : A Study of the Career Patterns of Women in Higher Education Administration
The problem. The purpose of this study was to examine the significance and influence of other persons on the lives and careers of women in higher education administration. The study included women employed in senior-level higher education administration in Iowa in the spring of 1981. Procedure. The data for this study were drawn from the sample population by the use of two survey instruments: a survey questionnaire and an interview schedule. The population for this study consisted of women employed in administrative positions in two- and four-year institutions of higher education in Iowa. This included a total of forty-five institutions. Findings. The majority of the women were over forty-two years of age, Caucasian, first-born child or first-born daughter, currently not married, and had a doctorate. The majority were employed in private four-year institutions and had been in their current position for five or fewer years. The women selected as the most important factors in the development of their careers, being competent, having strong drive and determination, knowledge gained in school or other courses, having a good personality, and luck or fate. Female teachers were the most influential people in the careers of the women. Nearly all the women--89 percent--indicated they had acted as mentors in the past and would act as mentors in the future. A total of 83 percent of the women agreed that having a mentor is helpful to a young woman beginning her career. Conclusions. Administrators and governing bodies of higher educational institutions need to be more affirmative in their encouragement of women in administration and in searching for women for administrative and faculty positions. Recommendations. Replication of this study with women senior-level administrators throughout the United States would contribute to the growing body of research on women in administration. Research on women in other career fields--sports, business, politics--would provide further information about career mentoring.
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