Samaine Lockwood, director of undergraduate studies and associate professor in the Department of English, will be spending a portion of summer 2020 honing her leadership skills while taking part in the HERS Institute at Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1972, HERS seeks to build and support a network of women leaders in higher education, working towards gender equality in higher education leadership. The HERS Institute presents an intensive 12-day leadership experience aimed at women in mid-to-senior positions at their respective institutions, with a goal of strengthening the participants as individuals and building the tools that will foster a meaningful career trajectory.
“Faculty participation in leadership development activities is a priority for CHSS,” said Jaime Lester, the college’s associate dean of faculty affairs and strategic initiatives. “We want to continue to find ways to recognize and promote the leadership potential of our faculty in programs that are internal and external to Mason.”
The institute’s program focuses on three main areas: institutional awareness, networking, and self-knowledge.
Participants are drawn from around the United States; Lockwood looks forward to introducing Mason to an expanding audience. “Every time I participate in one of these professional development experiences,” she said, “I am personally and professionally reminded of how great Mason is. It’s a really unique institution. These experiences allow me to bring Mason to other people’s attention and to better understand Mason in the larger landscape of institutions in the United States.”
Through noncompetitive collaboration, members of the group form supportive relationships that can guide them throughout their careers. “As you make choices as to when and how to move into leadership, or change the role that you have in terms of leadership and your career, or … come upon a major issue that you really need some counsel on, you have other women across the nation in like positions who are part of your network and can support you,” said Lockwood. “It’s about getting perspective.”
Finally, the institute offers its participants the opportunity to learn about their own identities as leaders. “There are lots of activities to help you reflect on what your strengths are, what your challenges are as a leader, so you can become aware of what you bring to the table, and also what might be holding you back,” said Lockwood.
The program is intentionally inclusive, welcoming all participants who identify as women. HERS emphasizes diversity and works to include insights from participants of different ages and levels of experience in higher education, as well as diverse racial and ethnic groups, nationalities, veteran and disability statuses, and religious identifications.
“It’s going to enable me to be much more intentional about how I craft my career,” added Lockwood. “I’m looking forward to hearing from women leaders in higher education and learning about HERS research … on the ways that gender shapes our perceptions of university leaders.”
November 21, 2019