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Identity and Leadership Cover

Identity and Leadership: Informing Our Lives, Informing Our Practice

Supporting the Profession Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Administrators in Graduate and Professional Student Services Mid-Level New Professional
August 20, 2013 Alicia Fedelina Chávez Ronni Sanlo

Identity manifests in the way we lead, supervise, make decisions, persuade, form relationships, and negotiate responsibilities each day. Student affairs professionals, who are often at the center of transformative efforts for social justice, diversity, and educational equity on college and university campuses, must understand how their own identities impact the way they interpret, work with, and lead across differences.

Identity and Leadership: Informing Our Lives, Informing Our Practice offers experienced and emerging leaders a window into understanding the deep intersections of identity and professional practice as well as guideposts for individual leadership development. Through personal narratives, the contributing authors discuss the significant impact of their identities in terms of race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, gender, socioeconomic class, nationality, disability, spirituality, and religion on their roles as higher education leaders. A model of identity, leadership, and social justice with ways of being and doing is provided and illustrated through the author narratives. Identity and Leadership shows how student affairs professionals can use autobiographical writing to better understand how personal identities influence interactions with students and colleagues.

The book begins by introducing frameworks of identity and leadership, current research, theory, and why attention to intersections of identity and leadership is important for student affairs professionals. The second part features a collection of essays written by higher education leaders who examine how specific identities emerge in their leadership practice and how they strive to manage across differences authentically from within these identities. The book concludes with an Identity and Leadership Autobiography Assignment, which guides readers step-by-step through the process of reflecting on how their own identities and experiences impact their leadership practice. This assignment may also be used to facilitate self-reflection activities in group settings.

Leadership norms, values, assumptions, and behaviors often originate in personal identities. By making connections between identity and leadership practice, student affairs professionals can strengthen their work to transform higher education through social justice and other change efforts.

Praise for Identity and Leadership

“Experienced, emerging, and future leaders in higher education can all benefit from the personal stories and life lessons presented in Identity and Leadership. The book provides valuable insights into what each of us brings to the table and how we can effectively use who we are to create positive social change.ˮ —Genny Beemyn, director, The Stonewall Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst; author, The Lives of Transgender People

“Chávez and Sanlo have assembled an all-star cast of authors whose voices give insight into the factors that shaped their identities and how their identities affect their ability to lead. Whether you are a new professional or senior-level administrator, you will recognize the voices, stories, and situations that shape the quiet conversations, inner struggles, and enlightening moments that allow you to be an effective leader. Identity and Leadership is well laid out, superbly written, and affirming for all.” ―Tony Ross, vice president for student affairs, California State University, Los Angeles

“In the field of education, we are often so busy putting out fires that we do not have enough time to ponder our own identities and experiences, let alone those of our colleagues. This wonderful collection of stories gives today’s educational leaders the opportunity to reflect and relate, learn, and sometimes even laugh out loud!ˮ —Tom Bourdon, director, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, Tufts University

“This book presents a rich collection of ‘stories of identity’ that serves as a contemporary call for social justice. From new graduate students to seasoned professionals, readers will gain powerful insights into the diverse fabric that comprises leadership in the academy today.ˮ —Frank E. Ross, vice president for student affairs and professor of educational leadership and development, Northeastern Illinois University

“How we lead is greatly influenced by our identity, yet we have an incomplete understanding of that intersection and influence. In this book, the authors have created a powerful tool for studying this subject, as heard through the voices of strong and passionate leaders in our field. As we continue our own professional development and as we teach the leaders of tomorrow, this book will be a critical piece of our education and a part of our story.ˮ —Peg Blake, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, Humboldt State University

Hardcover | 2013 | 320 pages

ISBN 978-0-931654-83-1

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