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Session Title

1104: Women of color and women's stealth leadership; done with ugly, and still doing the hard work-chapter 13

Session Times

Tuesday, May 28: 9:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29: 8:30-11:30 a.m.


This highly interactive pre-institute will explore the evolving professional narrative that both illuminates and alerts women of color and women regarding the challenges they face as leaders in the academy. We will excavate the dynamics of transitions, change, and risks within academic political environments and the unwritten rules, customs, and practices based on recent research and shared professional experience through participatory methods associated with pedagogies of creative engagement.

The focus of our collaborative work has been on stealth leadership from the perspective of constant conscious vigilance of the personal, professional, and institutional culture. We have conducted environmental scans and made adjustments based on transitions from one crisis, one issue, or the multiple congruence of crisis in response to the influences of external forces, in order to remain resilient in the academy. However, a corollary to the ever-present caution and watchfulness of our scans is an imperative to stay alert and attend to our internal wellbeing, fitness and vigor. What are those processes, skills, and talents necessary to sustain, mindfulness, empathy, and authenticity? For women and women of color, the triage of our multiple identities for each instance of question, microaggression, or challenge of credential requires a unique strategy for recovery in order to stay in the fray and produce the consistency in leadership we strive for and expect.

The work of stealth leadership is multifaceted and requires constant vigilance, adaptability, and negotiation. These behaviors often reduce the proportion of effort that could be dedicated to the principle scope of the work assignment. This pre-institute will reveal existing and innovative competencies towards deep stealth applications (being ""uber"" stealth), as the educational system can be pernicious and harmful to the spirit and soul of women and women of color who decide to make their careers in higher education. This pre-institute will also delve into how to accrue culture capital, determine what cultural wealth (Yosso) we bring, and then how to leverage both using stealth leadership in the academy.

Furthermore, women of color and women cannot continue to be solely responsible for managing the hostilities within their work spaces. Colleagues with privilege - either through positionality or through identity - must begin to be conscious of their roles in either putting in the hard work or ceasing to create the "ugly". This pre-institute should particularly benefit women of color and women faculty, mid to senior level administrators, and individuals with administrative supervisory roles.


Patricia Lowrie, MS, Senior Fellow, Office of Diversity, Equity and Global Initiatives Association of American Colleges and Universities

Jacqueline Reza, EdD, MFT, Emeritus Director, Professional and Organizational Development, De Anza College

Catherine Wong, MEd, Director, Urban Outreach Initiatives, Boston College