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Preparing women to lead: The influence of women's *college experiences on alumnae leaders

Melinda Rhodes, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Seven women leaders who are alumnae of Cottey College, a small, private, liberal arts college in the Midwest, were interviewed to understand how attending a women's college influenced their personal and professional lives. The study examined individuals, activities and experiences significant to participants during their college years, characteristics of the college that built or enhanced leadership skills, leadership experiences that influenced participant's views of self and community and the definitions of leadership participants bring to the larger dialogue. The women leaders also reflected on the challenges they see to women's colleges in the future and offered advice to administrators, faculty and staff of these colleges. Study participants most often and substantially referenced themes associated with the learning environment, the living environment, early leadership opportunities, presidential contact, and conflict and its resolution as promoting their growth. They found this women's college provided them with an accepting, nurturing and engaging context in which to develop academically and personally. Specific experiences and activities taught them leadership skills and encouraged them to see themselves as leaders. As the number of women's colleges in the U.S. continues to decrease, participants indicated articulating the benefits of single-sex education is essential to continued enrollment at women's colleges.^

Subject Area

Women's Studies|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Rhodes, Melinda, "Preparing women to lead: The influence of women's *college experiences on alumnae leaders" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3262190.