To create and sustain a diverse network of bold women leaders, HERS produces higher education leadership programs that strengthen and support women in various stages of their careers. Although great strides have been made in the advancement of women’s rights and equality, there still exists a wide gender disparity in leadership. Even in higher education, where degree-seeking and earning women now outnumber their male peers, only 24.5% of leaders in academia were women in 2013 [Lennon, T., Spotts, D., & Mitchell, M. (2013). Benchmarking women’s leadership in the United States. Colorado Women’s College at the University of Denver]. HERS is the only organization committed exclusively to narrowing the gender gap for women in higher education leadership. Only by achieving true equity can we reshape academia and the education it delivers to better serve today’s increasingly diverse student body. HERS Leadership Institute alumnae and other program participants contribute their unique voices and perspectives to their respective institutions — providing bold, new direction, while serving as role models and mentors for students.

Why Only Women*?

The standard leadership development program treats its participants, men and women, as equals who need only fine-tune their skill sets to tap into their latent leadership potential. While the belief in the equality of leaders is admirable, the reality is that women, from a very young age, have nearly every impulse to leadership conditioned out of them by societal pressures. Equity must be established first before we can fight for equality. Our higher education leadership programs endeavor—in a short, intense timeframe—to simultaneously develop each participant’s skill set while narrowing this leadership developmental gap, emboldening women to first acknowledge their potential and then assert their leadership potential. This identity shift is a necessary transformational experience if equality is to be achieved in higher education leadership. * HERS is an inclusive organization that welcomes all who identify as women.

Program Outcomes

Participants in our higher education leadership programs can expect:

  • Learning how to become champions of equity for women in higher education
  • Development of one’s unique leadership skill set
  • Involvement in and access to the HERS Network, which spans institutions of higher education across the globe and is an invaluable career resource
  • A deeper understanding of the higher education sector and one’s individual position within their respective college or university
  • Self-awareness on one’s strengths as a leader
  • Mentorship from HERS’ faculty and staff
  • Collaboration with other diverse program participants
  • A nonjudgmental environment where difficult questions can be asked and ideas can be challenged.