Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Where the (unmarried, sometimes accommodating, nonparenting) grrrrlz are...

Well, a story in today's Inside Higher Education discusses a recent survey by ACE of Chief Academic Officers (otherwise known as Provosts), and the findings are interesting. The focus of the IHE story is that most Provosts don't want to be Chancellors/Presidents when they grow up. In fact, most of them (66%) don't find the top job all that appealing.

That isn't surprising to me, as I also find myself more interested in becoming a Provost than becoming a Chancellor or President. The Provost is the on-campus person, the one who helps shape the vision for the school's academic and financial houses and keeps them in order. That looks like the fun job to me. The top job is too focused on fundraising, gladhanding, media and government relations to be all that fun to me. Of course, some people in the Chancellor/President's position really do want more leadership in the School's vision, and they find the time to make that happen. But, all in all, Provost seems better to me.

What I found interesting about what ACE is calling it's Census of CAOs is who the CAOs are and what they have had to do to get there. IHE notes that "Women hold 40 percent of the CAO positions, with the greatest proportion (50 percent) in community colleges and the lowest (32 percent) at doctoral universities. Questions about family responsibilities and characteristics of chief academic officers show that women respondents are {about 20%} less likely than their male counterparts to be married, have children, or to have had someone alter a career on their behalf." As usual, most of these leaders are white, as well. While the numbers aren't surprising regarding gender, race, and status of institution, they are a little depressing.

I was more surprised to see that 3.7% of women CAOs had a "domestic partner," as compared to 1.6% of men. While not all of these women are lesbians, you wanna make a bet that a good number are? And some unpartnered queers are probably in the divorced and unmarried categories, along with some married queers in CA and Mass.

So, should you be wondering where the academic dykes are--many of us with no kids--look in the CAO job. Maybe someday in the future, I will be there as well!

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