Few Asian Americans fill higher ed leadership roles

Connie Dang, left, and Shaily Menon discussed the low number of Asian Americans in senior administrative roles in higher education during a presentation in the Kirkhof Center.
Connie Dang, left, and Shaily Menon discussed the low number of Asian Americans in senior administrative roles in higher education during a presentation in the Kirkhof Center.
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More and more Asian Americans are graduating from college and serving in faculty roles but very few are filling senior administrative positions in higher education, according to presenters at a Women’s Commission Fireside Chat.

Connie Dang, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Shaily Menon, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, gave a presentation February 27 in the Kirkhof Center, as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

They discussed potential factors that affect the underrepresentation of Asian American women in leadership roles and creative ways to build an inclusive leadership team. During the interactive discussion, Dang emphasized the need to raise overall awareness of this issue.

“Overall, there needs to be an intentional effort and commitment both from the staff and the institution to ensure that the leadership team is inclusive and reflects the student population we serve,” said Dang.

By 2015, there will be a 32 percent increase in the number of Asian Americans who graduate from high school. In higher education, 6.5 percent of all full-time tenured faculty members are Asian American, 2.8 percent are deans and 1.8 percent are central academic officers.

Menon shared the message she gives to students as an Asian American woman in a leadership role: she leads by example.

“I could simply tell students that women can do anything they want but that wouldn’t have the same impact as them seeing a women like myself actually succeeding in the field,” said Menon.

The next Fireside Chat, which is co-sponsored by the Women’s Center, will be held on March 27. For more information visit www.gvsu.edu/wcommission and click on “Upcoming Events.”