The Impact of Mentoring for Successful Women Leaders in Higher Education

Susan Adelaide McGowan, Fordham University


Efforts to address the myriad challenges facing the world today have been dominated by White men at the exclusion of women, particularly Black, indigenous, and women of color. To address the gender inequity in leadership, women must gain the skills necessary to be authoritative leaders. An important place for young women to develop as leaders is the college or university campus, making women’s leadership on campus a critical factor for addressing the world’s most pressing problems. This qualitative phenomenological study sought to examine if and how women in senior leadership roles at four-year institutions in New York State (i.e., Presidents, Vice Presidents, Provosts, and Vice Provosts) experienced mentoring over the course of their careers. It explores the components of mentoring that make mentoring effective or ineffective for women, especially at the highest levels of leadership in higher education. It sought to identify how mentoring fosters self-efficacy and if or how this affects the directions these women have pursued during their academic careers. The results of this study revealed the benefit of multiple mentors throughout one’s career path and that different types of mentorship—formal, informal and peer —helped women achieve success in their career path.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Educational administration|Education Policy|Womens studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

McGowan, Susan Adelaide, "The Impact of Mentoring for Successful Women Leaders in Higher Education" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30632556.