Footprints to the Academic Deanship: Women, Generative Leadership, and Power

Higher Education    Managers/Executives/Administrators

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TITLE Footprints to the Academic Deanship: Women, Generative Leadership, and Power
RESEARCHER Patricia B. Orman
Educational Leadership and Innovation
University of Colorado, Denver
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: June 2002

The purpose of this study was to develop a footprint, or picture, of female academic deans in one western state by analyzing themes about leadership styles, communication skills, and perceptions of career path opportunities.

A qualitative study, using a semi-structured interview protocol with eight women deans and six associate deans from four-year, public-funded institutions in one western state, along with collecting artifacts, coding and analyzing 18 critical incident stories, and the Leadership Practices Inventory (Self and Observer). The typical respondent was 54 years of age, married with children (not living at home), Caucasian (93%), holding a doctoral degree (93%). Ten (71%) had served four years or less in their current position.

On average the academic deans scored themselves highest in Enabling and lowest in Inspiring, as was true for Observers. Modeling was ranked second, followed by Challenging and Encouraging. Deans tended to rate themselves higher on all five leadership practices than did Associate Deans.

The author notes that “in short, the Leadership Practices Inventory provided corroboration and confirmability for the interview categories and themes that emerged during the interview stages of data collection” (p. 201).