|President Teresa Dreyfuss|
CREDIT: Rio Hondo College
Tonight the Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees named Teresa Dreyfuss as President/Superintendent, and in doing so, are to be congratulated for making progress in increasing the diversity in academic leadership.
A study released by the American Council on Education (ACE) details the startling lack of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in leadership positions in academia; only 1.5% are college and university presidents, 2% are chief academic officers, and 3% are deans. All the while Asian Pacific Islanders make up the largest racial minority group in the professoriate.
The brief, "Raising Voices, Lifting Leaders: Empowering Asian Pacific Islander American Leadership in Higher Education," identifies several obstacles to advancement:
- Racial bias: Like other minority candidates, Asian Pacific Islander Americans struggle against the prototype of a college president that some hiring committees hold.
- Stereotypes: Their leadership qualities may be viewed as not matching Western qualities that are typically valued, such as charisma, assertiveness and direct communication styles.
- The forgotten minority: Even though Asian Pacific Islander Americans are underrepresented in senior leadership, they are rarely recruited in efforts to diversify candidate pools.
- "The Model Minority": The high representation and high success rate of Asian Pacific Islander Americans in American higher education leave many oblivious to their stark lack of representation in the field's leadership.
- Lack of mentoring: While participants largely acknowledged the value of having a mentor, they concurred with the findings of a 2009 ACE study that indicated a lack of mentoring among Asian Pacific Islander American chief academic officers.