EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

WSU’s female deans speak up about women in leadership

Mar 8, 2023, 4:30 PM

students walking new weber state administration building, higher education spending is in question...

(Weber State University)

(Weber State University)

OGDEN, Utah — With March being Women’s History Month, the female deans at Weber State University are hoping to inspire women in leadership. 

Their numbers alone may be inspiring to some. At WSU, seven of the eight deans are women. And they want to reach other women who aspire to be teachers, educators, or who want to work in leadership roles.

According to a 2022 Utah State University study,  48.6% of Utah school principals are women which is lower than the national average of 54.6%. 

Related: How do women serving in Utah politics compare to national averages?

Kristin Hadley, dean of Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education said in a press release, “At each juncture along my career, I had people who tapped me on the shoulder and encouraged me to pursue these roles. I also felt the need for strong, effective women leaders in the field of education as a role model for others.”

Hadley has been working at WSU since 2005. When she first joined the WSU team, she didn’t think her role in academia would lead her to a role in leadership. Neither did her colleague Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Dean of the College of Science. 

“A female dean at the head of any college or university is a game-changer in terms of what is brought to the table for discussion, how those discussions evolve, and who becomes inspired to take on these leadership roles,” Easter-Pilcher said in a press release. “I love this about my current position.”

Further, Yasmen Simonian, dean of the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions since 2008, remembers when she was the sole female dean. 

“I’m grateful for having female colleagues now,” she said in a press release. “We share information, solve problems, help one another, bounce ideas and much more. We celebrate and honor each other in leadership positions.”

Easter-Pilcher agreed saying, “Once you are in a leadership role, work actively to elevate others.”

Similarly, Simonian said one way to stay inspired is to stay in the position to learn.

“Learn as much as you can,” she said. “Never underestimate who you are and what you know.”

Finally, Easter-Pilcher said being courageous and stepping outside of your comfort zone will help women find a role in leadership. “Believe that your words, thoughts, ideas and dreams have value,” Easter-Pilcher added.

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WSU’s female deans speak up about women in leadership