News Release 

New book for female leaders in academia

University of Colorado Denver


IMAGE: Co-editors Rennison (right) and Bonomi promote new collection of leadership stories and strategies for women in academia. view more 

Credit: CU Denver

A new book, Women Leading Change in Academia, from CU Denver's Callie Marie Rennison, PhD, is receiving rave reviews from inside and outside the academic world.

Women Leading Change in Academia: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Cliff, and Slipper is the first comprehensive collection of perspectives of diverse women academic leaders. Rennison, a professor in the School of Public Affairs and a nationally renowned expert on violent victimization and criminal justice, is co-editor of the book along with Amy Bonomi, PhD, MPH, Director of the Children and Youth Institute and co-administrator of the Women's Leadership Institute at Michigan State University.

The book is intended for all women, allies and institutions committed to equitable conditions for women leaders to be maximally impactful.

Book for women who lead

"This book is the book I wanted to read when I entered into higher education administration," said Rennison, who has held a number of leadership positions at CU Denver. Within the School of Public Affairs, she served as Director of the Masters in Criminal Justice program from 2014 to 2016, as well as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs from 2014 to 2017. From 2017 to 2018, Rennison served Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator at the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campuses.

"I looked at several books, and none focused on women specifically which was surprising given it is clear through research and anecdotal accounts that women face additional challenges when leading," said Rennison.

Rennison is also a leader in her field. She is a national authority on crime data and violent victimization. She has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, textbooks, and books focused on violence against women and underserved populations, interactions with the police, and gender-based violence.

Personal stories, action strategies

Women Leading Change in Academia includes chapters by women who discuss their rise to key leadership positions and effective change-making in higher education.

The chapters include personal narratives from the authors about how they've been personally affected by each topic. The book chronicles their achievements and journeys navigating the underlying structural barriers and bias that disadvantage women in the academy. Each author's story includes research related to the topic along with specific strategies to navigate challenges. 

"I've seen a need for this book for several years and was actively considering how to move forward," said Rennison. "Then I saw Amy presenting at a conference about leading through resistance and it occurred to me that we should do this together. It was a fantastic decision," said Rennison.  

Contributors underscore the revolutionary power and innovation that women leaders bring to bear to improve upon business as usual in the academy--even in the "glass cliff" scenario when their risk of failure should be highest. Women across leadership positions--presidents, provosts, deans, and department chairs--discuss leading strategic planning, culture change, and navigating the "double bind," along with strategies for successful negotiation, networking, mentoring, and work-life balance.

This book is for everyone

"Together, Amy and I set a course to provide a book that is for everyone - staff, students, and faculty - even if they are not in a named leadership role. The fact of the matter is that all women are leaders. We lead staff, we lead classrooms, we lead at conferences, we lead students, and we lead one another."

Making this book accessible - and affordable - was a key goal for Rennison, Bonomi, the chapter authors, and the publisher, Cognella.  The book is priced at $32.95 on Cognella's website:

More about the book:

  • Opening chapters examine institutional power structures, intersectionality, bias, along with enacting change-making leadership in spite of these barriers.
  • Additional chapters offer insight on the power of mentorship, strategic networking for women in the academy, negotiation strategies, professional development, and work-life balance.
  • Approaches for  moving on, up, or out of formal leadership in the academy.
  • Institutional change, and strategies for rising, revolutionizing, and redoubling efforts to support women leaders; specific strategies for institutions to address structural inequalities for women in academia.
  • Strategies for leading powerful innovation and change in the academy targeting women who are early in their careers and who may not hold formal leadership roles.
  • Strategies for early-career women in the academy who experience marginalization due to their identity.
  • Content that is valuable to men and to people outside the academy.

About the Editors:

Callie Rennison, Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver, where she has conducted research on violent victimization for over a decade. Within the School of Public Affairs, she served as Director of the Masters in Criminal Justice program from 2014 to 2016, as well as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs from 2014 to 2017. From 2017 to 2018, Dr. Rennison served Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator at the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campuses. She earned her Ph.D. in political science, master's degrees in political science and sociology, and her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Houston, University Park.

Amy Bonomi, Ph.D., M.P.H. is the director of the Children and Youth Institute and co-administrator of the Women's Leadership Institute at Michigan State University. Previously, she served as chair of MSU's Human Development and Family Studies Department (2013-2018), as special advisor to the Provost (2018-2019) and chair of the president's Sexual Violence Advisory Committee (2015-2018). She earned her Ph.D. in health services and M.P.H. at the University of Washington, and her bachelor's degree in applied psychology from Loyola University-Chicago.


  • Amy Bonomi, Ph.D., MPH, Director of the Children and Youth Institute and Co-administrator of the Women's Leadership Institute--Michigan State University
  • Heather M. Bush, Ph.D., Kate Spade & Co. Foundation Endowed Professor in the Department of Biostatistics--University of Kentucky
  • Tabbye Chavous, Ph.D., Professor of Education and Psychology, Director of the National Center for Institutional Diversity--University of Michigan
  • Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Associate Dean of Research and Faculty Development-Lyman Briggs College--Michigan State University
  • Ann L. Coker, Ph.D., MPH, Verizon Wireless Endowed Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology--University of Kentucky
  • Margaret Dimond, Ph.D., President and CEO-McLaren Oakland Region--McLaren Health Care of Michigan
  • Verna Fitzsimmons, Ph.D., President of the HERS Institute
  • Yolanda Flores Niemann, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychology--University of North Texas
  • Catherine "Katie" Kaukinen, Ph.D., Professor and Chair in the Department of Criminal Justice--University of Central Florida
  • Laura Kohn-Wood, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education and Human Development--University of Miami
  • Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, Professor of Africana Studies--Wellesley College
  • Patricia McGuire, J.D., President--Trinity Washington University
  • Debra A. Moddelmog, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Professor of English--University of Nevada, Reno
  • Beronda L. Montgomery, Ph.D., MSU Foundation Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Assistant Provost for Faculty Development - Research--Michigan State University
  • Donde Plowman, Ph.D., Chancellor--University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Callie Marie Rennison, Ph.D., Professor in the School of Public Affairs--University of Colorado Denver
  • Terri A. Scandura, Ph.D., Warren C. Johnson Professor of Management, Miami Business School--University of Miami
  • Mariko Silver, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Office--Henry Luce Foundation; Immediate Past President--Bennington College
  • Elizabeth H. Simmons, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Physics, Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs--University of California, San Diego
  • Dionne Stephens, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology--Florida International University
  • Jill Tiefenthaler, Ph.D., President--Colorado College
  • Vasti Torres, Ph.D., Professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education--University of Michigan
  • Nelia Viveiros, MSc, LLB, Ed.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Operations--University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus

To learn more about the book, visit:

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