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2014 Media Releases

Report Provides Guidance for Supporting New Generation of Women College Presidents

August 14, 2014—With support from TIAA-CREF, a collaborative team of
researchers from HERS – Higher Education Resource Services, the University of
Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)
has released a landmark study, Stories from the Summit Trail: Leadership Journeys of Senior Women in Higher Education, based on 35 interviews with top women leaders from a variety of colleges and universities.

Of the 35 interviewees, 15 were presidents or chancellors, 10 were vice presidents or vice chancellors, and five were provosts; 15 of the women identified themselves as minorities.

The study, which took approximately two years to complete, documents challenges
related to the difference in expectations for women and men in higher education
leadership roles. Those interviewed also shared many actions that supported their
advancement along with stories of triumph that ultimately motivated their persistence.The study also revealed key distinctions in the experience of white women and women of color with regard to the challenges of their respective roles.

Initial findings from the study were released earlier this year during the 2014 HERS Summit for Women Presidents & Chancellors held in Denver, CO. These findings helped shape recommendations from the women leaders attending the
event, many of which are included in the report's conclusion. They offer advice on what aspiring women leaders can do, what institutional leaders can do, and what organizations and associations can do to support more women in leadership
positions in higher education.

Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis, President of Naugatuck Valley Community College, who attended the 2014 HERS Summit, offered this advice to women looking to advance into a leadership role, "First, find someone you can talk with who is older and more experienced. Second, understand that you've got to take a chance. Be a risk taker."

To download the report, please visit


About HERS - Higher Education Resource Services is an educational non-profit providing leadership and management development for women in higher education. Since 1972 HERS has served the higher education community, preparing more than 4500 women faculty and administrators for leadership roles. The HERS Institutes are offered on three campuses – University of Denver, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley – and deliberately seek a diverse group of women leaders to share and learn from their multiple perspectives under the guidance of women faculty from higher education, national organizations, government, and foundations. For more information, visit