PERCEPTIONS AND OPINIONS ABOUT THE EMPLOYMENT OF FEMALE ADMINISTRATORS IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA

MARY BOOSE WALKER, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

The men and women in the leadership positions of Presidents and Deans in the Community College System of Pennsylvania were the subject of the investigation. Despite equal opportunity and affirmative action laws, fewer than nineteen (19) percent of the administrative positions in higher education are occupied by women (Vance, Connie, 1979). Legislation alone, while ensuring equal assess, will not ensure that women who aspire to careers in leadership in higher education will succeed. Perceptions about the ability of women to be administrators may be a barrier to implementation of the equal opportunity legislation. This investigation then will attempt to reexamine some of these perceptions and the way that they may influence the career patterns of those in higher education administration. The purpose of this study was to examine the career profiles as well as the opinions of men and women leaders within the president and deans positions in the Community College System of Pennsylvania with respect to opportunities for women to hold leadership positions in the Community College System of Pennsylvania. Research for the Study was conducted with two basic questions in mind. First, is there greater perceived opportunity for men than for women to attain the positions of presidents and deans? Second, will there be significant differences in the opinions and perceptions among the presidents' and deans' groups with respect to career profiles of deans and presidents. For research purposes, the research questions were stated as null hypotheses. A two part questionnaire/opinionnaire was mailed to those positions identified in the current community college catalog which carried the word "dean", or "president" in the published title. The first part of the instrument asked career position information. The second part was used to test opinions of the groups as well as their perceptions of how the other groups would respond with respect to differing career profiles for men and women presidents and deans in the community College System of Pennsylvania as well as the opportunities for both men and women in educational administration in the System. Seventy-one validated survey instruments were returned. The accumulated data were subjected to an Analysis of Variance. Findings indicated that there were differences among the groups of females, presidents, vice-presidents and three categories of dean on both the real and perceived responses. There were no significant differences of opinions noted for the Self Report Section (B), with respect to the perceived frequency of encouragement for men and women to aspire to leadership positions. Conclusions and Recommendations. The above findings indicate that there is not support among all groups for the hypotheses that women do need more experience and education to be administrators than do men to attain the same position. They also statistically reject the null hypothesis that there would be no significant difference in the opinions (perceptions) of the male and female presidents and deans in the Pennsylvania Community College System regarding equality of opportunity for appointment to the dean and presidential position. The above conclusions indicate that there are differences in opinions (perceptions) between the groups regarding the development of their careers. Some recommendations for further study would include: (1) Pursuing ways to modify commonly held attitudes and beliefs that stereotype women. (2) Research into the socialization influence on career choice, particularly in terms of the influence of female role models. (3) More sophisticated statistical measures of women's career patterns and refinement of the career related variables in order to improve their discriminant power in future studies.

Subject Area

Higher education

Recommended Citation

WALKER, MARY BOOSE, "PERCEPTIONS AND OPINIONS ABOUT THE EMPLOYMENT OF FEMALE ADMINISTRATORS IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM OF PENNSYLVANIA" (1980). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8104507.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8104507

Share

COinS