University of Arkansas Grantham continues to celebrate female leaders in higher education. According to American Council on Education data1, only 30% of college presidents are women. University of Arkansas Grantham is privileged to have one of those few women leading the way as Chancellor.
UA Grantham Chancellor Lindsay Bridgeman has not only been with the university for nine years, she is also an alumna of UA Grantham. Guiding the university that holds such a special place in her life means a little something extra to Bridgeman. We had the opportunity to ask University of Arkansas Grantham Chancellor Lindsay Bridgeman about her leadership role in higher education.
What is most rewarding about your role as Chancellor and how do you see that impacting students' daily lives?
I love to see people succeed. As Chancellor, I can see all the pieces of the university and I really enjoy seeing individuals meeting their goals. Whether it is students that finish their programs or faculty and staff working through projects that will enable better experiences, I truly find satisfaction in their successes.
In terms of impacting students in their daily lives, I try to ensure that as a university we continue to find ways to support students in their educational goals. I believe that even the smallest adjustments to processes can positively impact our students and I encourage our teams to find opportunities to make each day of their journey as seamless as possible.
What do you see for the future of UA Grantham and where is the university headed?
UA Grantham has a strong mission and history of serving students. Since becoming part of the University of Arkansas System, we are better positioned to focus on creating an environment where our students not only have access to affordable education, but they can also find success. I foresee UA Grantham continuing its efforts to solidify our foundation and explore opportunities to align our graduates with skills and experience that will provide value in the marketplace.
What is your perspective on online learning?
Online learning has seen significant change in the past decade, but UA Grantham has offered online degree programs for decades—providing quality and affordable educational programs. For the students we serve, the flexibility and pace that comes with online learning is a fantastic way for them to balance degree attainment with the needs and demands of their work and family lives.
I believe that online learning certainly has a place in the higher education community and I look forward to seeing the changes that will come as the technology and industry evolve.
What advice can you give to a student who is interested in pursuing a degree at UA Grantham?
If you want to finish, you must start, and once you start — keep going. Throughout your program you will find times when you consider taking a term off, or just stopping altogether. That is exactly when you should remind yourself why you started in the first place and reflect on the work you’ve already done.
If you do have to take a break, don’t let it be open-ended.
And finally, take time to celebrate your successes. Noticing and celebrating your accomplishments, even things as small as turning in an assignment, will help you stay motivated to keep moving forward.
What advice would you give to a woman who is early in her career versus interested in a leadership role?
For someone that is just starting a career, I think it is important to keep an open mind and be flexible and patient with your career path. If you are too laser-focused on a specific job or title, you could miss opportunities to grow and develop.
When looking for a career, try to focus on work that you enjoy doing, and build on that. Over time, if you find ways to bring value to your organization while doing things you like to do, you may find that the opportunities you are presented with are a great fit.
For women interested in leadership roles, I think it is important that you are honest with yourself about your comfort level with being a leader. If you are comfortable, look for ways to hone your leadership skills, even if you are not yet in a position of leadership on the organizational chart.