Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 29 (2009)

Gender and the Career Aspirations, Professional Assets, and Personal Variables of Higher Education Administrators

  • Christine C. Lepkowski
June 21, 2017


A recent national survey found women hold only 23% of higher education institution presidencies (American Council on Education, 2007). However, women now earn 58% of all bachelor's degrees and 45% of all doctorates (U.S. Department of Education, 2005). These findings suggest something may be interfering with the pool of capable women moving through the pipeline to attain higher education administrative positions. Gender differences in career aspirations, professional assets, and various personal variables have been suggested as potential contributors to this disparity. The purpose of the research was to survey women and men holding administrative positions of dean or higher (excluding presidents) within the institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system to examine these potential contributors. Based on the findings, with the exception of geographic mobility, factors other than career aspirations, professional assets, and personal variables may be the cause of barriers to female advancement to high level administrative positions.