Diversifying Leadership

Openly gay men and women now lead institutions of higher education as diverse as Hampshire College, Roosevelt University, and the University of Maine at Farmington. There are now enough LGBT college presidents (about two dozen), that the leaders held their own summit this year.

Michael Roggow has been interviewing gay and lesbian university presidents over the last two years and has come up with tips for both LGBT candidates for top positions and for search committees looking to signal inclusiveness.

For LGBT academics interested in leadership positions:

  • Let the search committee or search consultant know your sexual orientation, but focus on your accomplishments.
  • Find out as much as possible about the institution to determine if it’s a good fit.
  • Develop a network of supportive friends.

For search committees interested in diversity:

  • Include welcoming language in the job description
  • Invite finalists to bring their partners to the interview
  • Value a candidate’s accomplishments, not just personal characteristics.

These suggestions apply equally well to recruiting at the faculty level.

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