Although much has been written about leaders and leadership, we unfortunately know little about women, particularly minority women, who fill this particular role. This book presents the stories, and the reflections on their paths to leadership in higher education, of seven African American women. Each has been the first woman, first African American, or first African American woman in one or more of the positions of authority that she has held. Each has overcome the double bind of sexism and racism that can inhibit the professional attainment of African American women. Although they followed different paths to leadership, similarities in their experiences, values, and beliefs emerge. They also express a need to give back to those communities that nourished their growth and leadership - of which this book is a manifestation. At a time when significant turnover in college leadership is about to occur - presenting increased opportunities for women and minorities - these leaders hope that the strategies they describe, the insights they impart, the experiences they recount, and, most of all, the passion they have sustained for the betterment of and greater inclusiveness in higher education, will inspire the next generation of women to answer the leadership call.
Beverly L. Bower is Professor of Higher Education, Don A. Buchholz Endowed Chair, and Director of the Bill J. Priest Center for Community College Education, University of North Texas. Mimi Wolverton is a retired professor of higher education.