Sullivan (2006) noted that community colleges traditionally serve culturally diverse student bodies when compared to four-year colleges. This author further mentioned that the long lasting value of optimism, determination, and perseverance shouldn’t be overlooked as it relates to diversity leadership. Sullivan noted a community college case study where these concepts were incorporated (2006). This case study noted the importance of optimism, determination, and perseverance as vital aspects of its school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and noted the many school initiatives that bring these attributes to light, such as the “The Women’s Caucus,” “The Office of Minority Student Programs, ” and such programs as “Diversity Day,” to name a few.
Another study by Eddy and Van Derlinden (2006) reviewed literature on gender and leadership at community colleges, and noted that women occupy 28% of all presidential appointments. The authors mentioned that there has been a relatively recent shift in college presidential leadership approaches that are less authoritative and more collaborative and inclusive which are more associated with women leaders.
The literature has further revealed that women’s leadership style tends to be more participatory and involves a more shared or collaborative approach (Eddy and Van Derlinden, 2006). The authors further added that women leaders can further improve the cultural climate of the community college and improve opportunities for future women leaders by dismissing institutional gender stereotypes and redefining existing power structures.
Fulton-Calkins and Milling (2005) noted that according to the 2000 census minority groups, such as Latinos and Asian populations are increasing in numbers in the overall United States population, and will be the two fastest growing groups through 2025. These authors noted that this population growth will be reflective at community colleges where traditionally these colleges generally attract a more diverse student body. In addition, women have been attending community colleges at a higher rate, in fact, in 2004, 58%, compared to 42% who attended were women compared to men (Fulton-Calkins and Milling, 2005).
These researchers noted that there has been little increase in the percentage of college community presidents who are members of a minority group since 1991, and a slight increase in the number of women presidents in that same time period. Fulton-Calkins and Milling added that the importance of equity discourse inside the collegial environment for minority and majority students should not be overlooked (2005).
These authors further mentioned that this lack of fundamental representational leadership within higher education institutions can lead to important issues of diversity and gender being avoided; because of this avoidance, college leaders may be less likely to encourage diversity and equity. Fulton-Calkins and Milling (2005) also explained that leaders must be trained to deal with issues of diversity on college campuses, and confront these issues. These authors added that campus leaders must go beyond superficial rhetoric and dig deeper, and take the issue of diversity head on to spur deeper levels of understanding and growth.
Eddy, P. & Van Derlinden, K. (2006). Emerging definitions of leadership in higher education. Community College Review, 34(1), 5-26. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.
Fulton-Calkins, P. & Milling, C. (2005). Community college leadership: an art to be practiced: 2010 and beyond. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 29, 233-250. Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.
Sullivan, P. (2006). Diversity, leadership, and community college: a case study. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 30, 383-400 Retrieved September 22, 2009, from Academic Search Premier database.