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Evaluators: Ball St. falls short in female leaders

MUNCIE, Ind. – An evaluation team from an organization that accredits universities found that even with a female president at Ball State, most leadership positions at the college are held by white men.

The 12-member team from the Higher Learning Commission found the university to be in full compliance with federal regulations, but the team still urged the school to step up its diversity efforts, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/1dD0yUk ) in a story Saturday.

“Although the institution is explicit about the importance of diversity, evidence of an institutional commitment on the ground appears in isolated pockets,” the evaluation team reported. “The president’s cabinet is predominantly white – one member is Native American – and mostly male. The academic deans are all males, most of them white.”

Marilyn Buck, an associate provost at Ball State, said the report, overall, was good.

"Members of the team believe Ball State has met all the criteria and is doing an outstanding job. But like all institutions, there are things we can improve on,” she said.

Buck said getting women into leadership positions is something most universities work on.

Besides school President Jo Ann Gora, who plans to retire in June after 10 years leading the 18,000-student university, and Buck, other female senior administrators include Jennifer Bott, associate provost for learning initiatives; Jacquelyn Buckrop, assistant to the provost; and Charlene Alexander, associate provost for diversity.

Ball State has “very talented cabinet members and deans who are doing a really fantastic job,” said Alexander, an African American. “In the event of an opening in one of those positions, I’m certain the university will be mindful of the leadership team’s gender and minority makeup. But our intention has to be to hire the best candidate.”

The Star Press said reports it obtained show Purdue University, Indiana University and Indiana State University also have been cited in recent years for a need to improve diversity.

One of Ball State’s initiatives to address the shortage of minority faculty and staff is participation in the Southern Regional Education Board’s doctoral scholars program, whose goal is to produce more minority doctoral students who seek careers as faculty on college campuses.

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Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com

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