Report on higher education’s ‘power gap’ sparks calls for change

Boston Business Journal
By Ellie French
September 27, 2018

The broader business community on Thursday reacted to an alarming new report finding that women hold relatively few president and chancellor roles at colleges and universities in Massachusetts.

The hierarchical nature of higher education will make it challenging to change that imbalance, particularly among the large private universities on which the state prides itself, one local president says.

“Change at a college or university is like trying to move a cemetery,” said Emerson College President Lee Pelton. “Our industry is hierarchical, and we often privilege credentials over talent.”

His comments came at a Thursday meeting that focused on an Eos Foundation “power gap” study that found only 31 percent of college and university leaders are women. Meanwhile, 57 percent of students overall, the majority of doctoral degree recipients, 47 percent of provosts, and 52 percent of deans are women, the report said.

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