President Shipley Joins Campaign to Achieve More Education Leadership Gender Equality

Midwestern State University President Suzanne Shipley joined a campaign to raise the number of women in executive positions in colleges and universities last week. The American Council on Education launched the "Moving the Needle: Advancing Women Leaders in Higher Education" initiative, a national campaign that asks presidents of colleges, universities and related associations to commit to helping achieve a goal of women holding half of U.S. college and university chief executive positions by 2030. Shipley is one of 109 presidents and chancellors who have joined the campaign as inaugural signers.

Although women now earn the majority of all college degrees, they have made surprisingly little progress when it comes to gaining the top job at colleges and universities. As of 2011, 26 percent of college and university presidencies were held by women, up just three percentage points since 2006.

Because of the increasingly fast turnover rate among the current generation of higher education senior leaders, the initiative comes at a pivotal time to make more progress in diversifying senior leadership across the board.

"As presidents, we must offer our sponsorship and mentorship and recognize that every presidential vacancy is an opportunity to advance women," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "The presidents who have already signed on have sent a powerful signal about the importance of this issue and this commitment."

The Moving the Needle campaign is overseen by the Inclusive Excellence Group of ACE's Leadership Division, which offers a comprehensive suite of programs that support and advance higher education leaders. Moving the Needle is designed to raise national awareness about the importance of achieving gender parity and diversity in higher education leadership and provide strategies to meet the goal of equal representation of women in senior positions.