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K-State Today

Division of Communications and Marketing
Kansas State University
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1525 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506

May 6, 2019

Chardie Baird completes leadership program at 2019 HERS Institute at Wellesley College

Submitted by Communications and Marketing via Jordan Alvillar, Philosophy Communication

Chardie Baird, associate professor of sociology and executive director of the Kansas State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering, or KAWSE, and Spainhour family chair at Kansas State University, completed the 2019 Higher Education Resource Services, or HERS, Institute at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. HERS is a leadership development and research organization dedicated to women in higher education. 

Recent research has concluded that women hold less than 40% of tenured positions, only 36% of full professorships (TIAA Institute, 2016) and only 30% of president roles at the nation's college and universities (American Council on Education's (ACE), 2017). 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.  

Baird 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. 

Research has also noted that women only apply for a position if they meet 100% of the qualifications, while men will apply even if they only meet 60% of the qualifications (Hewlett-Packard). Alumnae of the HERS Institute noted the program’s unique ability to create a noncompetitive 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. 

"My experience at the HERS Institute was beyond compare to any other leadership development experience I've had," Baird said. "The training offered by the best-of-the-best in the higher education sector made for work and discussions that were challenging, reinforcing, engaging, and fun. I am excited to share the cutting-edge best practices that I learned from the HERS Institute pertaining to fostering diversity, inclusion, and equity and implement positive change on Kansas State University's campus."

Baird has been serving as the executive director of KAWSE and Spainhour family chair since 2012. Her recent achievements include the Southwestern Political Science Association Jewell Limar Prestage Award for the best conference paper on the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity and political engagement for a paper with two other Kansas State University faculty, Ethan Bernick and Sabri Ciftci, titled "How Cultural Beliefs About Women's Roles Shape Women’s Civic Engagement" and multiple national and international publications focusing on the experiences of historically underrepresented groups and mothers in STEM fields. In the last two years, KAWSE has received the INSIGHT into Diversity's Award for Inspiring Programs in STEM and the Kansas State University's Outstanding Department or Unit Award for Enhancing Diversity. Her participation in the HERS Institute was sponsored by Kansas State University's provost's office, KAWSE, and the sociology, anthropology, and social work department.

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 providing opportunities for Kansas State University's faculty and administrators to incorporate useful, evidence-based strategies for fostering diversity, inclusion and equity into their everyday practices and university policies," Baird said. "I developed this as my specific focus due to the fact that I saw synergy between my expertise in inequality and inequity in workplaces, several of the key goals of Kansas State University's 2025 Visionary Plan, and the stories of students, staff, faculty, and administrators in focus groups and informal conversations."

Learn more about the HERS Institute, who should attend the program and its curriculum.

HERS Institute agenda topics include Balancing Your Leadership Development with Institution Needs and Goals; Developing a Plan to Grow Beyond Your "Leadership Gaps"; Navigating Leadership Transitions — Your Own and Those Around You and Pay Equity in Higher Education–What is Your Job Worth?