Over the past few years, Asian and Pacific Americans have been making great gains in education administration. Two years ago, former Seattle University Dean Wallace Loh became the president of the University or Maryland, College Park and has since guided the university through multiple challenges. North Seattle Community College President Mark Mitsui is headed to the Department of Education to work with community colleges across the country, and Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert is headed to Arizona to guide Pima Community College through its academic probation. The same trend is true in primary education. Kelly Aramaki — who has spent years as a successful Seattle Public Schools principal — is set to begin the next school year as executive director of southeast schools.
However, there’s one thing missing. Where are all the APA women? Despite the successes realized by APA men, APA women are still vastly underrepresented in nearly all levels of education administration.
An increasingly high number of APA women are now graduating from college — like other minority groups, APA women outnumber APA men in colleges — but there’s still a lack of representation at the faculty and administration levels. While APA women represented 53 percent of all APA full-time instructors and lecturers in 2007, APA men outnumbered women in assistant, associate, and full professor positions. In late 2010, the number of male APA college presidents and chancellors in the United States doubled the number of female APA presidents and chancellors, and more men have been appointed to new positions since then.
This isn’t due to a lack of talent. A look at Seattle alone will reveal multiple talented female APA administrators, such as Edwina Uehara, the dean of the University of Washington’s School of Social Work; Viji Murali, the vice president of information services at Washington State University; and UW Professor Shirley Hune, who previously worked as associate dean in the graduate division of UCLA and is currently working to diversify higher education. But unfortunately, Seattle hasn’t seen a top-level female APA administrator since Phyllis Wise left UW for the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2011.
APA women have had a strong tradition in education. It’s time that tradition extends into higher education as well.
Without role models that show that both the glass and bamboo ceilings can be broken, young APA women will have no strong reason to persevere and believe that they can succeed in administration, and society as a whole will lose out on some amazing talent. (end)