Chancellor selection shows trend

Chancellor selection shows trend

Chelsey Fisher

When I first heard that a woman would be the next chancellor of Appalachian State University, I as a woman at a public institution was thrilled.

And as a women’s studies minor, I knew this was a huge step in equality for those groups considered to be minorities in the United States.

But Sheri Noren Everts appointment as the next chancellor, while greatly deserved, only further demonstrates the lack of representation minority groups experience in positions of power.

Nationally, only one in four college presidents or chancellors are women, according to an article published Dec. 9, 2013 by the Chronicle of Higher Education. With the addition of Noren Everts in the UNC system the numbers are slightly better, with five of the 17 – or 29 percent – chancellors being women.

And women of color are still significantly underrepresented – the only university to have a woman of color in the UNC system is North Carolina Central University, an historically black university.

More women in the highest university position is vital, especially when you consider that women make up approximately 51 percent of the population and represent the majority of undergraduate students, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The fact is that women are the majority, yet our numbers are not nearly represented accurately within the highest levels of academia.

Having women represented in public office is important not only because of equality. Young girls who see women in public office are more likely to be interested in becoming involved in leadership positions, according to politicalparity.org, an organization that researches women in public office.

Women are also more likely to work out compromises and stand up for what they believe in, according to politicalparity.org. These characteristics are vital to someone entering a chancellorship, especially during a time such as now, where budgets are being slashed in our universities and tough decisions are always being made.

Two other universities in the UNC system, Elizabeth City State University and the School of the Arts, are currently going through chancellor searches. I hope that these search committees and UNC system president Tom Ross will see the lack of representation from women and consider finding qualified women, similar to Noren Everts, to fill these positions.

Chelsey Fisher, a senior journalism major from Fayetteville, is the chief copy editor.