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Minority alert for US college leadership

A new survey by the American Council on Education (ACE) and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) suggests that whereas diversity in gender is likely to grow in the near future, ethnic minorities are still under-represented in higher education administration and presidencies in the US. The present study On the Pathway to the Presidency: Characteristics of Higher Education’s Senior Leadership was inspired by the results of ACE’s 2007 study American College President, which concluded that the current presidency is ageing fast and diversifying slow. The new report found that even though women make up 45 percent of all senior administrators – the most probable presidents - the share of ethnic minorities in the same group was only 16 percent. 

The study recommends that institutions should actively recruit not only female but also minority faculty as this would diversify the base of future senior administrators. In response to the survey findings, ACE and other higher education associations are to launch The Spectrum Initiative, a multi-year national agenda designed to broaden the spectrum in higher education leadership. Even though different associations have tried to create a more inclusive leadership, this is the first comprehensive and coordinated effort to “build the pipeline” for women and minority leaders.

The current US national presidency campaigns will hopefully help paving the way for greater diversity in higher education administration as well.