Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Higher Education

Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Higher Education

October 8, 2020


“Recognize that leaders of your organization come in all different sizes and styles, so leadership is not one finite category.”

Karen Baldwin

In this episode of The Beacon Podcast, Jeff Jowdy speaks with Karen and Norm Baldwin about women and higher education leadership roles. Karen is a philanthropy consultant and the former vice president for advancement at The University of Alabama. Norm is also a consultant and professor emeritus at The University of Alabama. Together, they share personal experiences and research findings on women in higher education and address:

  • Common barriers encountered by women in higher education leadership roles. 
  • Ways men and women can create an environment that promotes equal opportunity.
  • Advice for women looking to advance their careers in higher education.

About Our Guests

Karen Baldwin
Prior to retiring in 2016, Dr. Karen Meshad Baldwin was the vice president for advancement at The University of Alabama. Dr. Baldwin led the development division, including major, planned, corporate and foundation giving, the annual fund, alumni relations, integrated marketing and communications, and the advancement services. As a member of the president’s executive council, Dr. Baldwin was a trusted advisor to senior leadership on issues with significant and far-reaching institutional implications, managed a budget of over $8 million and led a division with over 130 employees.

Prior to appointment as vice president, Dr. Baldwin served as The University of Alabama associate vice president for advancement for four years and director of external affairs and development for The University of Alabama College of Engineering for 10 years.

Before joining The University of Alabama, Dr. Baldwin spent 13 years with BellSouth Advertising and Publishing Corporation, where she was twice selected to the President’s Club – the top 3% of the corporation’s 3,000 employees. During her time with BellSouth, Dr. Baldwin was responsible for strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, process innovation and marketing.

Dr. Baldwin holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in American studies and a doctorate in higher education administration from The University of Alabama. Currently, she serves as a marketing, management and philanthropy consultant and executive coach. She actively holds leadership positions in many charitable organizations. 

Norm Baldwin
J. Norman Baldwin, professor emeritus, served as director of graduate studies, undergraduate studies, and Master of Public Administration program in the Department of Political Science at The University of Alabama. He taught courses on leading and managing employees for public service and conducted research on race- and gender-exclusive organizations, followership, whistle-blowing and differences between public and private organizations. 

He is the author of three books—Winning at Following: Secrets to Success in Supporting Roles, Sand Sure Gets in Funny Places: 10 Lessons and Confessions about College, and The Gist: Concise Advice on Virtue and Vice (under review) and many journal articles. 

A feminist and minority activist, Baldwin served on 97 university, college and departmental committees and chaired 32 of them. He was an early and persistent force working to make the Greek system racially diverse, student government fairer and inclusive and the LGBQ+ community entitled to all the rights and benefits enjoyed by the broader university community.  

As a faculty senate president, he was instrumental in developing a faculty ombuds system and 360-degree evaluation of deans and department chairs. He also founded a program that placed 210 students in jobs in a tornado relief effort and lead a U.S. Senate task force that partnered with Student Affairs to enact 47 unprecedented measures to enhance campus diversity. 

For his leadership and service, Professor Baldwin is the only person in the history of The University of Alabama to win the two most prestigious awards on campus—the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award and Morris Mayer Award. He is also the winner of the Buford Peace Award, Outstanding Commitment to Students Award, Samuel S. May Award, Significant Sigma Chi Award, the Other Club Person of the Year Award, and the Service Project of the Year Award.