Women Administrators in Academia: Ancient Archetypes and Modern Realities

By Tatiana Summers and Karen F Steckol.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Despite changes in workforce, women have a hard time rising to top administrative levels in Academia, as they are judged by a different set of standards than men. For example, though it is common for men to be promoted directly from Chair to Dean, women oftentimes must take an additional step to Associate Dean before becoming Dean. The same phenomenon is evident in promotions from Dean to Provost and Dean to President. The almanac edition of the “Chronicle of Higher Education” offers much proof to the disparity between men and women at all levels of the administrative hierarchy. Women are still viewed with suspicion when aspiring to reach the higher echelons of administration and have to demonstrate a successful track record before allowed to penetrate its ivory towers.
Part of the problem is that there are not enough successful women in higher positions and their number has not reached yet the critical mass necessary for the creation of the archetypal female administrator. Therefore, women lack an essential role model, a standard behavioral pattern, accessible and known to all females aspiring to such careers. Western patriarchal societies still promote traditional roles for women; those who step outside such roles are in uncharted territory, having to experiment in the dark in order to discover a suitable administrative style. In the past, women adopted the masculine modus operandi only to gain a bad reputation as either ruthless or fools. Women have many more talents and abilities than a fake masculine façade allows them to employ. This paper, therefore, aims at suggesting an archetypal behavioral pattern that could help women develop suitable administrative style based on their unique qualities.

Keywords: Women, Administration, Academia, Archetypes

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp.65-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.187MB).

Dr. Tatiana Summers

Associate Professor of Classics, Department of Modern Languages & Classics, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Dr. Summers received her BA in Classics from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). She does research on the legacy of ancient Greek culture in the modern world, which she has published in two articles, one on Ancient Greek Myths and the Emergence of New Archetypes and the other on Greece in the Historic Gignesthai. Her publications vary from women’s studies in Greek and Roman literature to Classical tradition and, especially, Epicureanism from its ancient inception to its Early Modern reception. Her most recent publication is a volume of collected essays she edited on Lessons from the Past: Women and the Formation of Ethnic Identity in Greek Culture.

Dr. Karen F Steckol

Professor, Chair and Clinic Director, Department of Communicative Disorders, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

Dr. Steckol was employed as a faculty member at the University of Louisville, Saint Louis University, SUNY College at Buffalo, and Cleveland State University before moving to The University of Alabama. She has served as a department chair at two of the institutions and as a dean at three of the institutions. She is currently the President of the faculty senate at The University of Alabama.


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