Female university presidents are few and far between.
The University of Alabama just had its first female president this past spring, while places like the universities of Kentucky and South Carolina have never had a female president.
And with President Michael Adams heading into his final year, the University could break the mold.
But the likelihood of that happening is slim to none.
“The number of women who are in positions where they are prepared to take on presidency is still relatively lower than the number of men,” said Lucy Apthorp Leske, vice president and education practice co-Leader at Witt Kieffer, a search agency universities often use for looking for a prime candidate for top positions.
Leske said one reason there are fewer women university presidents is because the job is demanding.
“The perceived demands of the position — case in point: very high profile presidencies lately at Penn State and the University of Virginia — the scrutiny and the amount of attention focused on the individual and lack of privacy ... the job is demanding.”
Charles Zewe, vice president for communications and external affairs at the Louisiana State University System, said there hadn’t been a female chancellor at any of their colleges, but the closest they had come was getting an interim female chancellor at the Health Science Center.
While the number of female presidents have increased at public institutions — 26 percent in 2011, which is up from 23 percent in 2006, according to a study done by the American Council on Education — Leske said there are still fewer women applicants than men.
Leske, whose job also involves actively seeking minorities — which includes women — to apply, said it is also difficult to get people to work up the resolve to apply for a job.
Regardless, Leske said you can’t categorize male and female presidents with regards to just gender.
“I would be a fool to say that woman presidents are like this and man presidents are like that,” she said. “You can’t divide it up that way. Women are still, no matter what job they in, faced with challenges that face their lives in ways that many men are not.”