This chapter provides insights on the state of the gender gap that exists in the American college presidency at four-year institutions through the creation of a unique data set of approximately 2,700 public, non-profit/private, and for-profit/private four-year institutions whose data are found in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The creation of the data set allows exploration of the following research questions: How do the pathways to the presidency differ between men and women? What are the predominant characteristics for those institutions led by men versus women? Are there any differences?
We hypothesize that the path to the presidency for women is primarily through traditional academic roles such as provost, academic dean, or department chair whereas men more frequently ascend to presidencies from non-academic areas of higher education and outside higher education. The differing paths have significant implications as they essentially can narrow the funnel for women interested in the presidency. They also highlight the need for presidential searches to recognize this limiting bias that not only prevents the diversification of the presidency but also prevents the identification of potential leadership talent.