Stephanie Clarke, clinical assistant professor at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, completed the 2019 HERS Institute at Wellesley College. HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) is a leadership development and research organization dedicated to women in higher education.
Each attendee of the HERS Institute is required to complete a self-designed Leadership Project for their respective institution, which serves as a personal case study that pursues organizational change on campus. Examples of a participant’s case study work could include creating a new institution program, launching a campus center or spearheading other types of campus initiatives, like grant applications. A participant’s leadership development begins on their HERS Institute application and continues throughout their residency.
“My leadership project focuses on increasing participation in our clinical laboratory science internship”, said Clarke. “This work is incredibly timely and essential to the University of New Hampshire campus due to the increasingly pressing shortage of certified medical technologists in the state of New Hampshire. As the only nationally accredited program in the state, we have an obligation to help hospitals meet their staffing needs by producing adequate numbers of program graduates and my leadership project work will directly impact the quality of healthcare that New Hampshire residents receive.”
Clarke joined 63 competitively selected women leaders from across the United States and Canada to partake in the intensive, residential leadership development program at Wellesley College. The HERS Institute boasts more than 6,000 alumnae.
Recent research has concluded that women hold less than 40 percent of tenured positions, only 36 percent of full professorships and only 30 percent of president roles at the nation’s college and universities. To combat this undeniable gender gap, the HERS Institute, a leadership development program, was created to proactively fill the higher education leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic women—and provide participants with the opportunity to develop their individual leadership strengths to boldly lead change on their campus and in their role, while also expanding their knowledge of the national higher education landscape to become even stronger assets to their institutions.
Research has also noted that women only apply for a position if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications, while men will apply even if they only meet 60 percent of the qualifications. Alumnae of the HERS Institute noted the program’s unique ability to create a non-competitive space reenergized them around what they could bring to their role, but also helped them develop the confidence needed to lead at their respected institutions.
Clarke has been a clinical assistant professor in the department of molecular, cellular and biomedical sciences since 2014. Her recent achievements include serving as clinical faculty council chair since 2017 and being elected the undergraduate program coordinator for the biomedical sciences: medical laboratory science major. Her participation in the HERS Institute was sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of New Hampshire.
“The HERS Institute taught me about the landscape of higher education administration and what it takes to be a successful academic leader,” said Clarke. “It provided me with the tools to be an effective leader with an eye on change management, resource allocation and servant leadership. Because of my involvement with the HERS Institute, I am better positioned to understand the needs, resources and opportunities on my campus.”