Spiritual writer Frederick Buechner once defined calling as the place where a person's "greatest passion meets the world's greatest need." But what of a person's leadership? This summer, researchers in Christian higher education surveyed 16 top leaders at Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) member schools to see how their leadership was related to their sense of calling. All the leaders interviewed for the survey, published this summer in the journal Christian Higher Education, are women. (A preview of the study is available here.)

Over the past 50 years, in both the West and developing countries, women have made significant strides in government, business, and education. In the United States, where it was once improper for a woman to even express a desire to vote, women now constitute over half of the electorate and occupy many of the nation's top positions. In 2007-2008, for the first time, women earned the majority of degrees. According to the U.S. Department of Education, women earned 57.3 percent of all bachelor's degrees, 60.6 percent of all master's degrees, and 51 percent of all doctoral degrees. And the number of women holding university presidencies has more than doubled from 1986 to 2006.

Yet despite such gains, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions in higher education. Further, according to the Christian Higher Education report, the average number of individuals serving at the vice-presidential level or higher in the CCCU was 4.9 men and .99 women. Thirty-four percent of institutions had no women at the executive level, while 44 percent had one woman at the vice presidential level or higher. As Her.meneutics reported amid Wheaton College's presidential search, of the 111 North ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.