Women in Higher Education Leadership

HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) is a leadership development and research organization dedicated to creating and sustaining a dynamic network of women and gender-diverse leaders in higher education. Our programs serve emerging and established leaders from all institution types and all backgrounds. HERS is unique in that we prioritize equity in leadership as a way to create transformative opportunities for all college and university campus constituents.

Founded in 1972, HERS proudly serves as a network for higher education leaders and is building a repository of data and resources for leaders who seek to advance their careers, and their leadership practice in higher education.

For over 50 years, HERS has made great strides with respect to increasing the number of women and gender-diverse leaders working to transform higher education. However, there is much work to be done to improve equity in higher education, whether based on gender, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or other criteria. HERS plans to continue with our efforts to expand excellence, access, and equity in higher education for the next 50 years and beyond, until there is equity in opportunities and outcomes for everyone.


Through programs, services, and research, HERS creates and sustains a diverse community of women and gender-diverse leaders who serve as bold agents of inclusive and equitable change for higher education.

HERS will transform higher education by serving as the premier equity-minded leadership development organization for women and gender-diverse leaders.



Our core values exist to guide every aspect of the organization’s work, from programs and research to establishing a strong network for all who are interested in gender equity in higher education.

  • Boldness
    HERS promotes leaders who align actions with values and lead with confidence, courage, and audacity.
  • Collaboration and Community
    HERS seeks opportunities to convene, partner, and collaborate with individuals, institutions, and organizations that share our commitment to advancing equity.  
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)
    HERS amplifies the perspectives and experiences of people, thoughts, practices, and ideas that historically have been excluded and marginalized.  

As part of the HERS 2022-2027 strategic plan—Excellence, Access & Equity—our goals are to:

  • Offer Exemplary Programs
    Provide high-quality, equity-centered, and relevant professional development and leadership programs.
  • Enrich Thought Leadership
    Be a premier, data-driven thought leader on issues impacting women and gender-diverse leaders in higher education. 
  • Grow the HERS Community
    Engage and expand the community of bold and equity-minded higher education leaders.
  • Enhance Fiscal Capacity and Organizational Sustainability
    Strengthen the financial viability of HERS through increasing revenue streams and effective and responsible stewardship of our existing resources.
  • Advance Reputation and Brand
    Continue to promote the reputation, visibility, and brand of HERS as the leading organization for women and gender-diverse leaders.


The HERS Difference 

What makes HERS leadership development programs unique?  

HERS leadership programs continue to be distinguished from others in two important ways:  

1) We focus on the experiences and expertise of women and gender-diverse higher education professionals and this is reflected in our program curricula as well as in the strong, nationwide professional network we work to build and nurture for our alums. 

2) We center questions of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationality, ability, religion, and other salient categories of identity when examining leadership trajectories, models of leadership, and perceptions of leaders(hip). We begin with the premise that structural inequities in our society and within our institutions affect us differently based on identities that we claim and those that others attribute to us. We understand that the identities we hold can greatly impact our opportunities to lead, how we lead, and others’ perceptions of our leadership.  


In HERS’s professional development programs, discussion of social categories of identity are never secondary, never an afterthought, never an endnote, nor an appendix. Explorations of the connections between identity, structural inequities, and leadership are integral to HERS’s program curricula and such exploration is critical work for leaders who seek to transform higher education.