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spring 2011

A publication for members of the association of fraternity/SORORITY ADVISORS.

gender in the fraternity/ sorority experience in this issue: Getting Beyond the Binary: Male Gender Role Socialization Among Fraternities and Its Negative Impact on Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students | The Hook Up Culture | The Difference of Gender in Perceptions of the Fraternity/Sorority Experience | Gender and Emotionally Intelligent Leadership | Understanding Impostor Phenomenon

Perspectives is the official publication of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, Inc. (AFA). Views expressed are those of the individual authors/ contributors/advertisers, and are not necessarily those of the Association. AFA encourages the submission of articles, essays, ideas, and advertisements. All Perspectives correspondence and submissions should be submitted to:

Allison St. Germain 2011 Editor Director of Educational Technologies Delta Zeta Sorority 14 Elgin Avenue Bethel, CT 06801 Phone: 513.523.7597 Direct: 203.798.8777 Fax: 513.523.1921

Perspectives is published four times per year. Submission deadlines: Summer 2011 May 1, 2011 Fall 2011 August 1, 2011 Winter 2012 November 1, 2011 Spring 2012 February 1, 2012 Send address corrections to AFA:

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors 9640 N. Augusta Drive, Suite 433 Carmel, IN 46032 317.876.1632 Fax 317.876.3981

Board 2011 Editorial

Jason Bergeron, University of Houston Amanda Bureau, Zeta Tau Alpha Erin Huffman, Delta Gamma Christopher Kontalonis, Kappa Sigma Heather Matthews Kirk, Zeta Tau Alpha Jessica Pettitt, Kirkland Productions Lindsay Sell, University of Connecticut Nathan Thomas, Bradley University Teniell Trolian, Kent State University Rob Turning, Johns Hopkins University


Perspectives / Spring 2011

Monica L. Miranda Smalls

Happy (almost) Spring! I hope that by the time you receive this edition the weather is changing and the snow that has blasted much of the country is beginning to melt away and lead us to more sunshine and warmth. When I was told gender in fraternities and sororities was the topic of the Spring issue, I recalled a recent conversation with a student who shared a perspective with me I will not soon forget. Our discussion was centered primarily on men and what most are taught very early on in their lives – boys don’t cry, men don’t share emotion. This wise young man, a fraternity member, spoke of how he heard that phrase often during his life, and it was not until recently, as he was discussing this topic with a mentor, that he had learned he can still be a man and express emotion. In fact, he believes that this very phrase – boys don’t cry – is repeated all too often and is one way by which society begins to fail its youth, especially young boys. Teaching them to be tough, to be rough, and to never let anyone call them a “sissy” prompts anger and acting out with physical force, force that can be deadly as we see, unfortunately, every day in our communities and even on our college /university campuses. In a separate conversation about sisterhood with a group of women, inclusive of students, staff, and faculty, “gender appropriateness” for women, and how society defines it, was discussed. Other issues addressed were self-esteem in young women and how the media prompts many negative and false images of women. Both of these conversations made me wonder what role I have played in the continuing of these prescribed gender norms in our society. Have I done anything to support or counter these teachings once these students reach membership in a fraternal organization? How can fraternities and sororities enhance the level of understanding of one’s own person? Of one’s experiences? How are fraternities and sororities incubators of human development? Do we have conversations with our students about gender? How gender impacts their societal engagement? Or, about how they believe their understanding of gender norms promotes or inhibits their growth and development through these critical collegiate years? What are we talking to students about on a daily basis? Clearly this has prompted many more questions for me than answers. I look forward to reading this issue and continuing my search for answers. I hope you will join me.

Allison St. Germain

I love being challenged with a difficult conversation. Typically my day-to-day conversations, though, seem to end up with me answering my three-year old son with “because I said so.” There are many times I don’t have an answer to his questions, or he challenges my mommy-authority, and the best I can come up with makes me sound very similar to what I heard from my mother growing up. And it’s not an answer – he knows it, I know it, and, if you tried a similar answer with the students you advise, they would know it. Conversations about gender start in the womb. If you find out if your baby is a boy or a girl you typically start buying blue or pink and decorating the nursery accordingly. Or, by the time your child starts school, he/she can be teased for playing with the “girly” toys if he is a boy, or called a “tomboy” if she is a girl that prefers to play sports. Perceptions on gender start very early and begin to be a subconscious way of behaving for many people. Each day we make assumptions about gender without even realizing it. As fraternity/sorority advisors, we have the added challenge that we work with primarily single-sex organizations. I’ve found that the culture of the fraternity/ sorority movement does not lend itself to be very progressive when discussing gender and its impact on our students. I’m proud of the Perspectives Editorial Board for tackling the difficult conversation of gender. We look at it from a variety of viewpoints in this issue and explore how it impacts our work with students. I learned so much just through the editorial process while reading the submissions that our authors contributed to the subject. We hope that you find a better answer than “because I said so” with what we have provided here.

in this


4 Getting Beyond the Binary: Male Gender Role Socialization Among Fraternities and Its Negative Impact on Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students

regular columns


From the Top........................... 2

The Hook Up Culture

10 The Difference of Gender in Perceptions of the Fraternity/ Sorority Experience

Editor’s Notes.......................... 3

16 Gender and Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

From Where I Sit.................... 14

20 Understanding Impostor Phenomenon

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


Getting Beyond the Binary:


Male Gender Role Socialization Among Fraternities and Its Negative Impact on Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students 2 By Zach Nicolazzo


s is the case with the beginning of each spring semester, I recently attended an annual Executive Council Leadership Retreat. During one of the afternoon team builders, we engaged the students in a conversation related to gender and both the differences and similarities of men’s and women’s organizations. While two of my colleagues facilitated this activity, there were many times I tried not to furrow my brow, frown, or sigh audibly as a result of some of the comments students made related to stereotyped gender roles. As the retreat progressed, it became increasingly clear: We as a community had some work to do around how men and women are socialized to behave, as well as what we deem masculine and feminine. I have a sneaking suspicion that this experience is not all too dissimilar from what other colleagues who work with fraternity/sorority members experience when sex and gender are discussed. All too often the gender binary, in many ways a restrictive and archaic way of viewing who we are and how we can act as sexed and gendered beings, is reinforced throughout the fraternity/sorority community in damaging ways. One of the notable ways in which the gender binary has proven to be limiting is in relation to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) student population, a group that, whether implicitly or explicitly, largely continues to be marginalized, made to feel out of place, and, to a large extent, not welcome in the fraternal movement.

Male Gender Role Socialization In order to understand the depths to which male gender role socialization specifically impacts gay, bisexual, and transgender men, it is imperative to first get a sense of the research related to this topic. Dr. James O’Neil (1981) was a pioneer in the area of gender role socialization, finding through his research that male gender role socialization centered on what he defined as a fear of femininity and was manifested in four distinct ways: homophobia and restricted affectionate behavior; restricted emotionality; socialized control and competition; and an orientation toward success and power. Moreover, O’Neil’s definition of the fear of femininity was not simply the fear of female bodies, but what was perceived as feminine. Due to the exhibition of increased homophobia (1981), O’Neil’s research indicted male gender role socialization with the promulgation of a gender binary in which men are seen as either heterosexual or some form of “other,” which is then labeled as deviant, abhorrent, or abnormal. Therefore, to be something other than heterosexual means existing outside the realm of masculinity. In addition, to have a male-sexed body and exist outside the realm of masculinity is a dangerous proposition in a society predicated on assimilation to societal norms, as ours most certainly is. This danger is


both psychological (taunting, name calling, threatening, etc.) and physical (bullying, fights, rape, and other forms of physical torture and violence), and is experienced on a daily basis by those men who are deemed overly feminine. Indeed, the recent tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi in September 20103, a direct result of the homophobia displayed by his roommate who streamed a video online of him having a sexual encounter with another man, only goes to underscore this fact. The truth is, there are far too many examples like Clementi’s suicide for it to be viewed as just one tragic event. It is therefore important to give thought to how men, and the all-male groups many of us advise, are, at the very least, complicit in causing these tragedies, as well as not preventing more pain and suffering from occurring. Michael Messner (2004), Michael Kimmel (2004, 2008), Paul Kivel (1992), and Jackson Katz (2006), have all written eloquently about how all-male environments, like fraternities, continue to produce a form of hegemonic masculinity that threatens to destroy the lives of men and those they love. This brand of masculinity is viewed as how one signifies himself as a “real man,” and has deleterious effects, which manifest in higher levels of anxiety and a decreased ability for intimacy (Sharpe & Heppner, 1991), negative attitudes toward seeking help (Good & Wood, 1995), low self-esteem (Cournoyer & Mahalik, 1995), and depression (Good & Mintz, 1994). In addition, there are also higher rates of suicide among men, higher rates of highrisk drinking, and an overwhelming majority of sexual assaults, rapes, and violent crimes being committed by men (Katz, 2006). In fact, in a national study on sexual assault, fraternity houses were deemed to be the place with the third highest likelihood for women to be sexually assaulted or raped on a college campus (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000). Moreover, this brand of masculinity, witnessed in fraternities, threatens to further marginalize gay, bisexual, and transgender men due to the overwhelming sense of homophobia and transphobia that is manifested as a result. Hegemonic masculinity requires men to distance themselves from anything and anyone perceived as feminine. And, as gay, bisexual, and transgender men are deemed feminine, they are often ostracized within the fraternal community. As a result of this ostracism within the fraternal world, gay, bisexual, and transgender men/women began to create a space for themselves by establishing progressive organizations like Delta Lambda Phi, Sigma Phi Beta, and Gamma Rho Lambda, which are geared toward gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender communities as well as their allies. While these organizations create a sense of belonging for some, for the most part they continue to be marginalized within the broader fraternal context.


 he term gender binary refers to the notion that there are two distinct and unrelated forms of gender, those being masculine and feminine, which relate to binary T of biological sex of men and women. A masculine gender is seen as linked to men, and a feminine gender is linked to women through the gender binary.


 or the purpose of this article, the author looked specifically at male gender role socialization and its impact on gay, bisexual, and transgender student populations. F While there is indeed value that can come from looking at female gender role socialization, this is outside the scope of this article. Perspectives / Spring 2011

Many members of these organizations may feel like tokens, only sought to fill a niche rather than appreciated for their leadership, vision, and skills. In addition, members also continue to feel unsafe in the fraternal world (a heteronormative world in which most members are straight-identified or assumed to be heterosexual by their brothers and sisters), despite their status as fraternity men themselves. I have had a number of men affiliated with progressive organizations tell me directly of their discomfort. One of the most striking examples of this was when a queer-identified man told me the reason he does not want to participate in any joint events with Interfraternity Council fraternities on campus was that he quite literally feared for his personal safety. These threats speak to the crossroads at which we find ourselves as a community.

Our Communities at a Crossroads Our fraternal communities now find themselves at a crossroads. First, we are confronted with the reality that gay, bisexual, and transgender men continue to feel unsafe in the broader fraternity community. Many of these men in traditional fraternities continue to stay in the closet due to this fear, and many more choose not to join a fraternity. For those men who find a place within a progressive fraternal organization, they may still feel marginalized when interfraternal relations are discussed. The realities of this physical, psychological, and emotional violence cannot be overstated, and must be confronted on a multitude of levels if we are to provide a safe community. Secondly, it is evident that gay, bisexual, and transgender men continue to be seen as “deficient” when it comes to being men. The overarching message is that these men are not quite man enough. The collective self-esteem of gay, bisexual, and transgender men continues to deteriorate, and some cope with this in unhealthy ways, including tobacco, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as dangerous self-harming behavior, like eating disorders. Men continue to be sold myths about who they need to be, leaving them as actors and performers rather than living authentic and genuine lives, which I believe is a primary goal of fraternal involvement in the first place.

Recommendations for Getting Beyond the Binary Taken all together, one may interpret a rather bleak picture for the full inclusion of gay, bisexual, and transgender men in the fraternal community. However, there are many opportunities for progressive and meaningful work that can be done to ensure these men are fully welcomed into a community that has the ability to drastically impact their lives for the better. First and foremost, those in the fraternal community need to understand the full impact of


their current choices, policies, and practices on the gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Oftentimes, this is brushed over or not addressed fully, leaving a gap in knowledge. If the problem is not fully understood and appreciated, it will never be adequately addressed. Hence, it is important to truly appreciate how these communities are impacted by the current paradigm of the fraternal movement. This is not about making people feel guilty, but is about gaining a deep understanding of the current state of affairs and how it has, at best, marginalized student populations, and at worst, continued to promote the stigmatization, harassment, and further traumatizing of gay, bisexual, and transgender men. Next, it is important for those working with undergraduate men to break down the myths of hegemonic masculinity. This may appear like a large and unwieldy task at first glance, but the reality is that it can be as simple as having conversations about what it means to be a man, modeling the way as professionals, and encouraging undergraduate fraternity men to be authentic themselves. There are a number of effective strategies for doing this, including: • E  ngaging men in one-on-one, activity-based conversation so they open up (Davis, 2002); • A  sking men how they feel and tracing feelings back to a root emotion beyond anger (Kivel, 1992); • M  odeling vulnerability and helping college men understand it is an acceptable expression of feeling; • G  iving praise where and when appropriate; oftentimes, men do not feel supported (Davis, 2002); and • C  hallenging men who say one thing behind closed doors but act otherwise when with their peers (Nicolazzo & Davis, 2006). It is time that, as a fraternal community, we begin to seriously address how transgender students can be full and active members of our communities in accordance with the gender to which they ascribe. If fraternal organizations are serious about the values of integrity, character, friendship, and love, to name just a few, they have a responsibility to ensure transgender students are able to fully participate in a way that recognizes and affirms their gender identity and expression. We all have something to gain from taking a critical look and making some changes to the way the fraternal movement continues to render transgender students invisible, not the least of whom are those transgender students themselves as they seek what all fraternity/sorority students seek: academic excellence, leadership development, an outlet for service, and lifelong friendship. Rather than hide behind thin excuses of being overloaded, we have an obligation as professionals and volunteers to make time to stay current with the research and scholarship on the topics

 or more information about the Clementi case, you can go to the following website: student-suicide

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


If fraternal organizations are serious about the values of integrity, character, friendship, and love, to name just a few, they have a personal responsibility to ensure transgender students are able to fully participate in a way that recognizes and affirms their gender identity and expression. of gender, gender identity, and masculinities. Conversely, if we choose to not engage with the scholarship in this area and how it impacts our practice, we run the risk of sending the message that the gay, bisexual, and transgender communities do not matter and are not worthy of our time and attention. While I do not believe there is a crisis among men, I would say there is a steadily rising tide of awareness predicated on events whereby men are acting in the ways in which they are socialized, and the consequences, both for them and those around them, are severe, traumatic, and dangerous. As a fraternal community, it falls upon us to look critically at what we can do to prevent these events rather than sweep them under the carpet and out of public view. Male gender role socialization has real outcomes, all of which are neither all positive nor all negative. The question then becomes, how can we accentuate the positive while unlearning that which is negative? bell hooks once wrote that, “after hundreds of years of anti-racist struggle, more than ever before non-white people are currently calling attention to the primary role white people must play in anti-racist struggle. The same is true of the struggle to eradicate sexism – men have a primary role to play” (2000, p. 83). Similarly, it is time for heterosexual and cisgender4 men and women throughout the fraternal movement to become invested in addressing hegemonic masculinity and the homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia it engenders, creating a hostile environment for gay, bisexual, and transgender men. – Zach Nicolazzo is the Coordinator of Fraternity & Sorority Programs at the University of Arizona and a consultant with Rachel & Zach Consulting.

References Cournoyer, R. J., & Mahalik, J. R. (1995). Cross-sectional study of gender role conflict examining college-aged and middle-aged men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 42(1), 11-19. Davis, T. (2002). Voices of gender role conflict: The social construction college men’s identity. Journal of College Student Development, 43(4), 508-521. Fisher, B. S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs. Good, G. E., & Wood, P. K. (1995). Male gender role conflict, depression, and help seeking: Do college men face double jeopardy? Journal of Counseling and Development, 74(1), 70-75. Good, G. E., & Mintz, L. B. (1990). Gender role conflict and depression in college men: Evidence for compound risk. Journal of Counseling and Development, 69, 17-21. hooks, b. (2000). Feminist theory: From margin to center (2nd ed.). London, England: Pluto Press. Katz, J. (2006). The macho paradox: Why some men hurt women and how all men can help. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. Kimmel, M. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. New York, NY: HarperCollins. Kimmel, M. S., & Messner, M. A. (Eds.). (2004). Men’s lives (6th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Kivel, P. (1992). Men’s work: How to stop the violence that tears our lives apart. Center City, MN: Hazelden. Nicolazzo, Z. D., & Davis, T. L. (2006). Promoting social justice attitudes in college men: A preliminary investigation. Retrieved from http://www. Brief – Promoting Social Justice Attitudes in College Men.pdf O’Neil, J. M. (1981). Patterns of gender-role conflict and strain: The fear of femininity in men’s lives. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 60, 203-210. Schilt, K., & Westbrook, L. (Schilt & Westbrook, 2009). Doing gender, doing heteronormativity: ‘Gender normals,’ transgender people, and the social maintenance of heterosexuality. Gender & Society, 23(4), 440-464. Sharpe, M. J., & Heppner, P. P. (1991). Gender, gender role conflict, and psychological well-being in men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 323-330.



 isgender is a term used to identify those “who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal identity, C complementing ‘transgender.’” (Schilt, 2009)

Perspectives / Spring 2011

AFA Foundation By the Numbers We did it! With your support and commitment, we achieved the following:

Provided 30 registration scholarships

to Annual Meeting attendees.

44 individuals signed up at


<< to donate each month through a recurring gift on their credit card or through their checking account.


Welcomed a grand total of 8 endowed scholarships:

149 items donated

to the 2010 Silent Auction in Phoenix.

• 4 from Associate member organizations and individuals • 2 from NPC groups • 1 from an NIC group • 1 from an NPHC group

who work to support the fraternity and sorority experience with “in honor of” gifts.


Provided $33,000 in grants

to the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors for professional development programming, including the Annual Meeting general programs, the Graduate Training Track, and the First 90 Days Program. Provided $1,100 in grants to professionals doing research in the area of fraternity/sorority affairs.

Welcomed 62 guests

Honored 26 members


Honored 241 AFA members and friends

of our planned giving society, the Amicus Sequentes Circle.

Amicus Sequentes Circle

at our third annual donor reception in Phoenix for members of the 1976 Society.

<< Gratefully accepted gifts from 371 individual donors, an increase of 28% from 2009 to 2010!

Raised a recordbreaking $22,000

in our first online campaign, “Superheroes of the Profession”!

If you purchased a sticker at the Annual Meeting, endowed or sponsored an Annual Meeting scholarship, gave a donation to the Annual Fund, bid on an item in the Silent Auction, or participated in the Superheroes campaign, your support of the AFA Foundation did make a difference! Thank you!

The Hook Up Culture M

By Angela Baugher

ovies, television, and stories from your grandmother tell of the nervous anticipation of the first date. The awkward invite, the anxious reply, the giggling as knees bump under the table, the classic reach around the shoulder, the question game on the ride home, and, if you’re lucky, the first kiss at the doorstep. Today’s college students often forego the formalities of dating and are diving head first into the hook up culture. Formally defined by Paul, McManus, and Hayes (2000), a hook up is “a sexual encounter which may or may not include sexual intercourse, usually occurring on only one occasion between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances.” Informally, the definition of hooking up is unique to the individual or group of friends, ranging from making-out to sexual intercourse (Bogle, 2008).

College Hook Up Culture

Hooking up has become a socially accepted norm among college students, with nearly three quarters of them hooking up at least once in college, and a third of those having sexual intercourse during hook ups (Paul, McManus, & Hayes, 2000). On some occasions students are engaging with strangers, but more often it is with an acquaintance, friend, or an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend (Manning, Giordana, & Longmore, 2006). Casual sexual experiences are a way for students to interact and meet their physical needs without having to deal with the emotional side of relationships. While hook ups can lead to relationships, 88% of them do not (Paul, McManus, & Hayes, 2000). Furthermore, participation in hook up culture appears to be mandatory for many students; students who do not participate in the culture regularly feel abnormal (Bogle, 2008). Most students admit that alcohol plays a key role in their hook up experiences. Alcohol is a social lubricant; making it easier to engage with partners of interest, to face rejection, and, for some students, it makes them want to hook up (Bogle, 2008). Students may plan on hooking up on a given night but do not have a specific individual in mind. Students flock to social environments that reinforce the hook up culture, and often those where alcohol flows freely. The hook up culture often affects men and women differently (Bogle, 2008). Men are frequently praised and glorified for their hook ups, and it is seen as a badge of honor to have had a plethora of hook up partners. Women, on the other hand, are shunned for partaking in the culture. If women are noticeably engaged in the hook up culture, they are labeled as promiscuous. This double standard causes women, more often than men, to regret their hook up experience (Eshbaugh & Gute, 2008). Furthermore, women more often engage in hook ups with the hope of a relationship. This empowers men to have the upper hand in the situation, allowing them to determine the terms and conditions of the hook up or relationship. Overall, both men and women perceive that their peers are having more sex and hook ups than they actually are (Bogle, 2008). Their misguided perception makes students feel the need to pursue hook ups in order to engage in the behavior “as often” as their peers, thus further elevating perceptions and deepening the cycle.

Hook Up Culture and Fraternities/Sororities The conversation about hook up culture is relevant to fraternities and sororities because much of their social culture is organized to


Perspectives / Spring 2011

facilitate opposite sex interactions. Fraternity/sorority social events provide students with opportunities to interact with a large group of their peers, often where alcohol is present. The social agenda for men and women and the perceptions of social prestige are no different for fraternity/sorority members than any other student. However, these social agendas and the need to obtain social prestige can be amplified within the fraternity or sorority context. The fraternity/sorority environment provides socially desirable opportunities for students to meet a partner with whom to hook up, which may not be provided elsewhere on campus. According to Paul, McManus, & Hayes (2000), 44% of students indicated their hook up took place at a fraternity house. Fraternity/sorority members further perpetuate the hook up environment with their own behavior. Fraternity/sorority members report drinking more frequently before having sex than nonaffiliated peers (Lanza-Kaduce, Capece, & Alden, 2006). The close peer-to-peer interaction that members experience with a large number of individuals causes perception of hook up behavior to increase. In order to fit in, many students conform to social norms and expectations, which reinforces the gender double standard within the fraternity/sorority community (Bogle, 2008; Hamilton & Armstrong, 2009).

Problematic Outcomes

With many students engaging in hook ups spontaneously and while under the influence of alcohol, the likelihood that students are taking all precautions to protect themselves is unlikely; 19% of students did not use a condom during a hook up that involved sexual intercourse (Paul, McManus, & Hayes, 2000). Students are often not thinking of potential risks involved with sexual contact. One study found that most students do not use a condom during oral sex or ask their partner if he/she has been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV (Downing-Matibag & Geisinger, 2009). Students believe that their partner will tell them if there are any concerns and that their community is safe from HIV. Beyond STIs, unwanted/unexpected pregnancies may also occur. Alcohol and hook ups can also lead to unwanted sexual experiences. “Judgment impaired by alcohol and drugs” is the number one reason for unwanted sexual experiences (Flack et al., 2007, p.147). Eleven percent of individuals would consider their unwanted experiences rape, but only three percent reported their experiences to the authorities. This may be because hooking up is widely accepted, and by reporting such behavior they would be alienated from their peers.

The conversation about hook up culture is relevant to fraternities and sororities because much of their social culture is organized to facilitate opposite sex interactions. While physical risks are often what can be measured, the emotional toll can be just as great. Regret, as noted above, is common for women, but men also experience regret (Eshbaugh & Gute, 2008). Also, dealing with the instability of partners, and the pressure to maintain what is perceived to be the status quo, can be immense.

Talking with Students About the Hook Up Culture

While fraternity/sorority advisors may not be aware of the sexual interactions of students, this is an important component of the student culture to understand. Advisors need to be equipped to challenge students on many fronts; not only on alcohol and policy violations, but also about the outcomes of the social culture they foster. In order to guide chapters to be congruent with their purpose, advisors need to focus on how they are going to develop students’ perceptions of healthy relationships. Advisors should find ways for students to engage in conversations where they can personally confront the hook up culture and discuss the reality versus perception myths. This conversation can also challenge students to think and act outside of gender perceptions. Advisors should allow students to share what men and women really want from sexual experiences. Students should be asked to analyze traditional paradigms of male and female social agendas. This critical reflection can help to foster a healthier self-image and greater confidence in one’s identity, as it relates to gender. Advisors must recognize that while dating played a key role in relationships two decades ago, traditional dating patterns and social agendas for men and women may have changed since they were in college. Students are now in the hook up culture, where “nice to meet you” and “would you like to come back to my place” often occur on the same night. Advisors are in the position to educate students to look out for the warning signs of even deeper problems with their peers. Students who act out sexually and use alcohol to deal with emotions often have other personal issues that lead them to this behavior. Educating students on what to look out for may help prevent further destructive behavior. Advisors are also in a place to change the culture by challenging students to critically examine their environment and educating them about the risks involved.

References Bogle, K. A. (2008). Hooking up: Sex, dating, and relationships on campus. New York, NY: New York University Press. Downing-Matibag, T. M., & Geisinger, B. (2009). Hooking up and sexual risk taking among college students: A health and belief model perspective. Qualitative Health Research, 19, 1196-1209. doi: 10.1177/1049732309344206 Eshbaugh, E. M., & Gute, G. (2008). Hookups and sexual regret among college women. Journal of Social Psychology, 148, 77-89. Retrieved from aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2008-04925-005&site=ehost-live Flack, W. F., Jr., Daubman, K. A., Caron, M. L., Asadorian, J. A., D’Aureli, N. R., Gigliotti, S. N., Hall, A. T., Kiser, S., & Stine, E. R. (2007). Risk factors and consequences of unwanted sex among university students: Hooking up, alcohol, and stress response. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 139-157. doi: 10.1177/088620506295354 Hamilton, L., & Armstrong, E. A. (2009). Gendered sexuality in young adulthood: Double blinds and flawed options. Gender & Society, 23, 589-616. doi: 10.1177/0891243209345829 Lanza-Kaduce, L., Capece, M., & Alden, H. (2006). Liquor is quicker: Gender and social learning among college students. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 17, 127-143. doi:10.1177/0887403405279934 Manning, W. D., Giordano, P. C., & Longmore, M. A., (2006). Hooking up: The relationship contexts of “nonrelationship” sex. Journal of Adolescent Research, 21, 459-483. doi: 10.1177/0743558406291692 Paul, E. L., McManus, B., & Hayes, A. (2000). “Hookups”: Characteristics and correlates of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experiences. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 76-88. Retrieved from http://

– Angela Baugher is a graduate advisor to the Interfraternity Council and a student at Ball State University. She received her Bachelor of Science from Eastern Michigan University and is member of Delta Zeta Sorority.

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


The Difference M of Gender in Perceptions of the Fraternity/ Sorority Experience

uch has been written about the â&#x20AC;&#x153;complexitiesâ&#x20AC;? of describing the fraternity/sorority experience (Asel, Seifert, & Pascarella, 2009). Explaining experiences monolithically has often been the focus of the research on fraternity/sorority life; however, there are differences based on factors such as ethnicity, organizational type, and institution (Hayek, Carini, Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Day, & Kuh, 2002; Pike, 2003). The experience is also influenced by gender (Vestal & Butler, 2005). We know students have different perceptions of their involvement in a fraternity/ sorority in regard to academic pursuits (DeBard, Lake, & Binder, 2006; DeBard & Sacks, 2010), use of alcohol (Wall, Reis, & Bureau, 2006), participation in hazing activities (Ellsworth, 2006), and approaches to leadership (Dugan, 2008), among other issues. Many factors influence, both positively and negatively, the overall experience of membership in a fraternal organization. This article explains results from research that investigated the differences between men and women and the perceptions of the fraternity/ sorority experience. It adds to the literature on fraternity/sorority life in that we have further evidence about how students perceive their experience and can explain how perceptions differ by gender.

By Dan Bureau, Ph.D. and Fred McCall

Research Process

Instrument. The Fraternity/Sorority Experience Survey (FSES) has been administered to over 20,000 students since 2008. Covering twelve areas of the overall undergraduate fraternity/sorority experience, student respondents are asked to self-report as to how the experience has helped them learn and develop through membership in fraternities and sororities. The twelve areas are: background information, early fraternity/sorority experiences, perceptions of the facility, gaining new members (intake and recruitment), the new member/intake educational experience, chapter affairs, chapter advising, involvement in campus activities, academics, personal growth and development, alcohol, and open-ended summary questions. Institutions can add up to 10 questions. The stories that have emerged from data analysis of the instrument can help professionals create intentional experiences to foster learning and development in the context of fraternities and sororities. Constructs, Context, and Research Questions. As part of a larger initiative within the Big Ten Conference, the lead author of this article created a collection of constructs, or clusters of questions, to explain themes in FSES data. These constructs have not been examined for statistical validity or reliability; they are conceptual in nature. Ten constructs have been conceptualized: College and University Desired Learning Outcomes, Academic Experiences, Alcohol Use, Role of Alcohol, Integrating Fraternity/Sorority Life, Personal Growth and Development, Sense of Community, Volunteerism, Financial Concerns, and Satisfaction. The lead author created these constructs using questions from the survey. A full list of each construct,


Perspectives / Spring 2011

questions included, and the scales used for the questions can be found in Table 1 at Issues.aspx. In some cases, scales from questions may have been inverted to reflect consistency across questions. This is particularly important to remember, considering the results on alcohol use, in which a higher mean is actually a positive attribute. For those interested in reviewing the instrument and the scales used for the questions outlined in Table 1, the FSES can be viewed online at

Participants. Findings are based on self-reports of the over

17,000 fraternity/sorority members across diverse institutional types who completed most parts of the FSES. Included in the population are students who are members of two international fraternities and two international sororities which administer the survey. One of the two international sororities administered the survey twice between 2008 and 2010. Because the survey is confidential and anonymous, we could not know which participants may have taken the survey more than once. Additionally, because fraternities/ sororities administered the survey as well as institutions at which these students may have been enrolled, there is a chance that students took the survey when sent to them by their organization and by their college/university. Because not all of the 17,000 students who began the survey chose to complete all questions, there are varying numbers of participant responses. Women are represented in the data more often than men. Respondentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; gender ranged by construct, with men varying between 3,048 (Personal Growth and Development) and 5,843 (Financial Concerns), and female respondents numbering between 5,703 (Personal Growth and Development) and 11,505 (Financial Concerns). Students identifying as transgender were removed (n= 7) because of the extremely small number of students.

Analysis In the overall analysis, gender differences were examined among other variables, including ethnicity, institutional type, and organizational type. In order to explain potential differences among all four, we used Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Gall, Borg, and Gall (1996) identified ANOVA as appropriate for analyzing variance among more than two means. For dichotomous variables it is often preferred to use t-tests; however, ANOVAs are acceptable analytic procedures for any comparison (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). Because we needed to do ANOVA for two of our four comparisons, we chose to do ANOVA for all. Again, this article focuses solely on differences in gender, which, because of a low number of students identifying themselves as transgender, was identified as a dichotomous variable. Scores for each construct were developed from determining the mean of means from each question. Survey participants may not have chosen to answer certain questions. Additionally, some questions are not relevant to new members and therefore participants are directed to end participation prior to those questions. Sense of Community (n= 17,287) and Financial Concerns (n= 17,393) were the only constructs that included responses from new members. The number of cases that could be used for any construct varies from a low of 8,767 (Personal Growth and Development) to 17,393 (Financial Concerns). Not only did we want to determine the means of men and women separately, but we also wanted to compare these means to determine a level of significance. We used a p value of .05, which means that it could likely be determined that the finding of a relationship between the variables was a result of chance only five percent of the time (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). Table 2 below presents the results of the analysis.

Table 2

Differences between male and female self-reports on the FSES


Overall Sample




Desired Learning Outcomes





Academic Experiences





Alcohol Use





Role of Alcohol





Integrating Fraternity/Sorority into Life





Personal Growth and Development





Sense of Community





Financial Concerns















P < .05

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


Results. ANOVAs revealed that there were significant differ-

ences between men and women in each construct except for Volunteerism. Desired Learning Outcomes resulted in means of 2.74 (men) and 2.67 (women). Academic Experiences yielded means of 2.43 (men) and 2.36 (women). Alcohol Use resulted in 4.04 (men) and 4.718 (women). Role of Alcohol provided means of 3.25 (men) and 3.60 (women). Integrating Fraternity/Sorority into Life means were 3.54 (men) and 3.57 (women). Personal Growth and Development resulted in means of 4.09 (men) and 4.08 (women). Sense of Community means were 3.47 (men) and 3.65 (women). Financial Concerns yielded means of 2.27 (men) and 2.22 (women). Volunteerism means were 1.88 (men) and 1.87 (women). Satisfaction means were 4.31 (men) and 4.22 (women).

Discussion and Implications This study revealed there are differences in how men and women self-report their fraternity/sorority experience. Results build on previous research using other instruments to explain gender differences (Vestal & Butler, 2005). Findings indicate that these differences are significant in each area except Volunteerism. Some of these findings are particularly interesting given what we have historically believed about differences between men and women. Relative to Volunteerism, Vestal and Butler (2005) found that there were no differences in how men and women report their satisfaction with opportunities to participate in community service activities. This study provides evidence that members report common levels of involvement in community service activities as well: the typical member spends somewhere between one and nine hours a month volunteering to help others. While the general literature indicates female college students tend to be somewhat more involved in service activities than males (Lopez & Elrod, 2005), results from studies on fraternity/sorority members indicate involvement in such activities are more consistent between genders. There are certainly ways to interpret this finding, both positively and negatively. One may view the data with excitement that these students are involved in some level of service each month. Others may examine results with more skepticism about the number of hours (is it high enough?) and reported similarities in engagement

levels. Anecdotally, it is perceived that men have lower grades than women and tend to be less attentive to learning experiences in the fraternity context (Pike, 2003). However, Vestal and Butler (2005) and this study bring forth evidence to the contrary: men report more satisfaction with and involvement in academic opportunities. It is difficult to make definitive conclusions since factors such as predispositions to do well academically will influence such reports. It may be that men come into the fraternity experience at a different place than women, resulting in perceptions that the environment is more favorable to learning. More exploration of these reported differences is needed. A third interesting difference emerged in considerations of alcohol. Women report less use of alcohol and less of an emphasis on alcohol in chapter activities. This is consistent with the broad literature on college student alcohol use and fraternity and sorority member use (Wall, Reis, & Bureau, 2006). However, students, both male and female, report frequently enacting tactics to address alcohol misuse. This statement should be considered with caution though, since these students are reporting that they consume five or more drinks in one sitting at least once a week. Overall, the differences present evidence that men and women have a different experience; however results indicate that both report high levels of integrating their fraternity/sorority experience into their lives and a strong sense of community. Men appear to be more satisfied with their experience, though both genders report high levels of satisfaction.

Limitations As with any research, there are limitations to the methodology and the interpretation of the results. Methodologically, the constructs have not been empirically tested. However, it is important to note the authors’ familiarity with the fraternity/sorority experience and the instrument at hand lends credibility to the formation of these constructs. Scores should be taken as representations of themes about respondents’ experiences. Future research may examine if constructs are empirically sound or create more sophisticated constructs in general.

This study provides evidence that members report common levels of involvement in community service activities as well: the typical member spends somewhere between one and nine hours a month volunteering to help others. in Volunteerism (if non-affiliated women are much higher than non-affiliated men, why does this not transfer to the fraternity/ sorority context?). Much more research should be conducted to answer these questions. Additionally, practitioners should monitor how differences play out in their own context and find ways to meaningfully engage men and women in service activities. Findings were surprising in men’s reported Learning Outcomes and Academic Experiences being higher than women’s reported


Perspectives / Spring 2011

Results should be interpreted carefully given the varying number of respondent cases used for each construct. While the smallest set of cases (Personal Growth and Development) had over 8,700 cases to consider, there is a large difference between that construct and others such as Financial Concerns, which had over 17,000 cases. This can largely be explained by the fact that respondents who have been members for less than two months are instructed to stop taking the survey after the first 27 questions; 53 more follow.

The experiences of fraternity/sorority members will differ based on their organizational type and institutional culture (Jelke & Kuh, 2003; Kimbrough, 2003). Data was collected from a range of institutional types: large research universities in the Big Ten, smaller private liberal arts institutions, and regional campuses are just some of the institutional types. Additionally, respondents are members of social, cultural, and professional organizations. Examining the data at the institutional level, across gender and ethnicity, might yield different results. Readers should examine how their own experiences with these organizations is or is not reflected in these results. Perspectives on differences might be explored using the FSES or some other national or locally developed instrument.


– Dr. Dan Bureau is the Director of Student Affairs Learning and Assessment at the University of Memphis. He worked for the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity while completing his doctorate in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Program at Indiana University. – Fred McCall is a doctoral student in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University. He is the current doctoral associate for the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity.

For a full list of references from this article, please visit

Research often makes generalizations about subjects. This is certainly true for how many individuals explain fraternity/sorority life. To some extent, generalizations are acceptable; however, the differences that emerged through this study encourage us to be cautious about monolithically explaining members’ perceptions of their experiences. Using a sample of over 17,000 responses, we found significant differences between men and women in how they report their experience. Results can be used to inform how those who work with these organizations can create programs, resources, and services.

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Spring 2011 / Perspectives


Repurposing Gender


By Jessica Pettitt

uch like Facebook describes some relationship statuses, gender is complicated. Gender is not complex, but always not easy to grasp. When people say their relationship is complicated, they may mean that they have multiple partners or maybe they haven’t picked words that represent their involvement with one another. The same is true when members of the fraternal movement explain their ongoing involvement with their affiliated organization long after college graduation. Living your values, even through retirement, is a simple concept that is dependent on others who “don’t get it” somehow making sense of it all.

transitioned, or changed, their gender identity from the one they were labeled with at birth, before, during, or after becoming affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. As a result, a Beginning the Conversation Guide was created and has been downloaded more than 5,700 times from There were even over 400 participants in a free webinar on Trans Inclusion and the Fraternal Movement that I facilitated in the Fall 2010 semester hosted at, a website for professional development in student affairs. A complicated conversation is beginning in chapters, on campuses, and in the fraternal movement.

I have been engaging in conversations about gender in single sex organizations for about five years now. Researchers and educators have looked at Olympic, NCAA, and Title IX regulations as well as university non-discrimination policies for sexual orientation and/or gender expression inclusion. I looked to the fraternal movement as the frontier in which to do work in gender inclusion. I wanted to begin to ask the unconsidered questions: Who can be a brother? Who can be a sister? What about my life experience with gender supports my affiliation? In 2007, Sarah Fielding and I started this area of research by gathering resources and conducting interviews with over 60 fraternity and sorority members that had

I am frequently asked to list best practices and specific examples of exactly how to address gender expression as a fluid, changing variable within the context of a single sex organization. Again, the answer is both simple and complicated. There is not a standard of best practices to refer to, nor is there a typical process of action steps to address the question of inclusion of members or potential members who identify differently than how they were labeled at birth. This is why our definitions of single sex organizations, the connections between brotherhood or sisterhood, and the social construction of gender need to be repurposed. Here is how I define sexual identity, sex, and gender:


Sexual Identity/ Orientation




How a person defines an emotional, sexual, and/or romantic relationship with another

Label used on birth certificates and decided based on external genitalia determined from ultrasound images and/or upon birth

The performance and perception of one’s performance along a socially constructed continuum ranging from feminine to masculine with androgyny in the middle

In other words…

How I define who I am attracted to or want to be in a relationship with

What I assume is in your pants… It isn’t socially acceptable to ask a person’s internal or external genitalia, chromosomal, or hormonal status – so we guess or assume generally based on how we perceive a person

How I interpret the pants themselves. How I choose to dress, act, etc., and how I read another’s dress and actions along a spectrum of gender expressions

Common elements

Generally assumed straight/ heterosexual unless otherwise told. If assumed gay/lesbian it is because of how we perceive their gender. (e.g., feminine man = gay man, masculine woman = lesbian woman)

– Hormones – Chromosomes – Genitals

– Roles – Identity – Expression

Secondary Sex Characteristics – Hair, voice, size, etc.

(perception from others or of others)

From Where I Sit is a section in Perspectives featuring a personal perspective on the interfraternal community. Do you 14

Perspectives / Spring 2011

have an opinion to share on fraternity/sorority life? Tell us how things look from where you sit by emailing your thoughts to the editor at, and you could see your ideas in a future issue of Perspectives.

Common defining labels

Asexual, Bisexual, Fluid, Gay, Heterosexual, Lesbian, Pan or Omnisexual, Queer

Male, Female, Intersex (formerly called Hermaphrodite)

Androgynous, Masculine/Man, Female to Male, Transgender Man, Transgender Woman, Male to Female, Feminine/Woman

Areas of impact

Ubiquitous in our organizations and now federally protected against discrimination

Title IX, single-sex organizations, single sex bathrooms, sex assigned roommates, etc.

Perhaps this is where brotherhood and sisterhood really exists? Fraternity/sorority membership may be gendered

Common words to address power dynamics: Homophobia, Biphobia, Heterosexism, Heteronormativity

Generally single or same sex assignments are based on official paperwork as hormones, chromosomes. Internal organs are not tested or examined unless having a medical concern. Because of the impact of hormone levels, new NCAA and Olympic regulations are based on hormone levels of team members

Short of identifying best practices, great examples, and paved paths to follow, I invite us all to participate in a self-reflective conversation regarding gender. Together, let’s face a complicated issue and repurpose the concept of gender to stay true to an interfraternal organization’s values and maintain its relevancy. Here are some starting places: •W  hat is your (individually and/or organizationally) definition of brotherhood/sisterhood? •H  ow much variety exists within a brother’s/sister’s life experiences as a man/woman? • I f you live your values, can you develop the kind of men and women you want in the world?

To repurpose gender we must first understand how gender actually impacts single sex organizations. We must understand the actual implications of our assumptions and limiting definitions of gender and how this silences our brothers and sisters and closes doors to potential new members who could serve our organizations and live our collective values. Repurposing doesn’t mean starting over, deleting history, or necessarily throwing open the doors in the face of tradition. What repurposing means is to use existing resources to address new needs and realities. It’s time to continue the conversation that has begun. – Jessica Pettitt is a speaker and consultant for Kirkland Productions who focuses on social justice and LGBT education. She is a member of the Perspectives Editorial Board.

•H  ow does a fellow member’s chromosomal or hormonal make up ensure strong leadership within your organization? • How does gender play a role in an organization’s Ritual?

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


Gender and Emotionally Intelligent Leadership By Marcy Levy Shankman, Ph.D. and Scott J. Allen, Ph.D.


tudents involved in fraternities and sororities have innumerable opportunities to pursue leadership experiences in a variety of formal

and informal settings. Regardless of the setting and situation, interpreting how students understand their own leadership provides greater insight on how we can help them grow and develop. Through a recent study, we explored two important variables that may affect how students perceive their leadership behaviors. Other research has shown how gender is a significant influence on measures related to where students go to school, the nature of studentfaculty interaction, and how students interact with “people, programs, and services on campus” (Sax, 2009, p. 9). We also know involvement in the college experience, both in and out of the classroom, is consistently identified as significantly contributing to a variety of student development outcomes (Astin, 1993; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). To draw further upon these factors, we specifically focused on how college men and women understand their own leadership through the lens of emotionally intelligent leadership.


Perspectives / Spring 2011

What is emotionally intelligent leadership? The model of emotionally intelligent leadership (EIL) provides a framework for examining students’ perceptions of leadership (Shankman & Allen, 2008). Through a process of integrative scholarship, EIL represents a synthesis of established research and scholarship from the fields of leadership and emotional intelligence (Boyer, 1990). At its heart, EIL suggests that awareness and regulation of emotions in self and others is critical to long-term, sustainable leadership. With an intentional focus on self, others, and context emotionally intelligent leaders can better identify, diagnose, and navigate leadership challenges (Shankman & Allen, 2008). The foundation of EIL consists of three facets: consciousness of context, consciousness of self, and consciousness of others (Table 1). Translating the facets into behaviors is broken down into twenty-one capacities. EIL provides students, and those working with students, a model of leadership that can be taught and learned.

Table 1: Model of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership (Shankman & Allen, 2008) Consciousness of Context Being aware of the environment in which leaders and followers work Environmental awareness Group savvy Consciousness of Self Being aware of yourself in terms of your abilities and emotions Emotional self-perception Honest self-understanding Healthy self-esteem Emotional self-control Authenticity Flexibility Achievement Optimism Initiative Consciousness of Others Being aware of your relationship with others and the role they play in the leadership equation Empathy Citizenship Inspiration Influence Coaching Change agent Conflict management Developing relationships Teamwork Capitalizing on difference

What about gender and leadership?

Gender differences and emotionally intelligent leadership

In our research, we explored the assumption that gender impacts how students think about leadership and how they engage in leadership. Previous research on leadership styles suggests women and men approach leadership differently and that women tend to be more democratic and relational in their leadership style (Dugan, Komives, & Segar, 2008; Eagly & Carli, 2007; Haber & Komives, 2009). We also know gender differences exist in relation to leadership and personality traits (Eagly & Carli, 2007; Judge, Bono, Ilies, & Gerhardt, 2002). Likewise, in a study examining the leadership styles and experiences of female college students holding formal leadership roles, the participants used such terms as “nonhierarchical, interactive, accessible, one-to-one, equality and team-member” (Romano, 1996, p. 679) when describing their approaches to leadership.

Using the Emotionally Intelligent Leadership for Students: Inventory, we surveyed 566 students from 139 higher education institutions throughout the United States. These students were identified by campus-based professionals as involved in student organizations, and most students who responded were women (69%), traditional-aged (76%), involved in two or more organizations (85%), and White (87%). We analyzed the data through the lens of whether any gender differences existed for how students perceived their leadership behaviors in relation to the facets of EIL (consciousness of context, self, and others) and whether the level of involvement in terms of number of organizations mattered.

Interestingly, women’s more collaborative and participative style is also reflected in research on emotional intelligence. The tendency for women to demonstrate higher degrees of emotional intelligence than men has been measured in various ways, including how people perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions (Brackett, Rivers, & Shiffman, 2006). When we look to the traditional-aged college student population (ages 18-22), however, the research is conflicted. While we see that significant differences in women and men’s emotional intelligence exist for older generations (a mean age of late forties), with women scoring higher than men, no gender differences exist for the younger, college-aged generation (Guastello & Guastello, 2003). Since this previous study focused exclusively on men’s and women’s emotional intelligence, this research focused on whether differences exist between undergraduate men and women in the context of leadership.

Interestingly, we found women perceived themselves to be significantly higher than men in both their consciousness of self and consciousness of others. We learned women more often perceived themselves to consider the needs of others in the group and to think about how their decisions are received by others. In terms of consciousness of self, women (more than men) reported they were more likely to monitor how their emotions affect their interactions with others. They place a stronger focus on following through on commitments, and women are more likely to reflect on how their actions aligned with their values. Women also reported higher scores than men in terms of how they demonstrated consciousness of others in that they consider the needs of others in the group and they listen more carefully to what is and is not said. Interestingly, the only variable in which men demonstrated a statistically significant higher mean score than women was in their ability to capitalize on strengths, which is reflected in the EIL capacity of honest self-understanding.

Previous research on leadership styles suggests women and men approach leadership differently and that women tend to be more democratic and relational in their leadership style.

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


Levels of Involvement In addition to the specific behaviors mentioned above, we wondered whether the level of involvement influenced how men and women perceived their emotionally intelligent leadership. For students involved in only one organization, significant differences by gender were minimal, though men who were only involved in one organization assessed themselves higher than women in their ability to capitalize on their strengths. For students involved in two student organizations, women scored significantly higher than men on the facet of consciousness of self. For respondents involved in three student organizations, the only significant difference between men and women was related to consciousness of others. Women were significantly more likely than men to consider others’ needs, think about how decisions are received by the group, and try to understand the priorities of others in the group. Finally, for those involved in at least four organizations, there were no significant differences by gender in the three facets.

So What Does All This Mean? As part of our continued research, we surveyed several long-tenured fraternity/sorority professionals regarding their observations of gender differences in emotionally intelligent leadership practices. Below are three anecdotal observations which support our findings: According to Kelly Jo Karnes, Associate Director in the Office of Student Life at the University of Iowa, the emotionally intelligent leadership model “provides new graduate advisors and new professionals with direction and an applicable framework as they begin to advise student leaders and differentiate their approach to working with female and male student leaders.” The authors agree. Based on the findings of this study and others, we find that women tend to have more of an outwardly directed approach to leadership. Our research demonstrates how women report that they put the needs of others in front of their own, focus on listening to others, and think about how others will receive their decisions more so than men. Kyle Pendleton, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Purdue University, noted, “Women, without a doubt, identify and exhibit behaviors consistent with the areas that tend to be more about improving those areas focused on social relationships, while the men want to increase their competencies in the strategic areas that result in having competitive advantage.” Pendleton’s observations underscore our finding that men who are highly involved tend to work on their limitations more than women. In agreement, Anne Arseneau, Associate Director of Student Activities – Leadership and Greek Life at the College of William & Mary observes, “The root model for NPC women’s groups is to function in collaboration and partnership with one another. I think in order to do that effectively, the ‘successful’ leader in a sorority leadership role needs to be aware of how others perceive her and to take into account others views... Because of that, I think our women are ‘practicing’ their group leadership in a more disciplined way, which could lead to more reflection and awareness of how they are being received. By practicing, I think maybe they are more regularly getting feedback when their peers don’t appreciate what they’re doing well given the officer structures they’ve got in place.” 


Perspectives / Spring 2011

We also found men report a focus on self-improvement and ability to translate identified strengths into demonstrated strengths. According to Pendleton, this research, along with the practical application of the EILS: Inventory (Shankman, Allen, & Facca, 2010) and Student Workbook (Shankman & Allen, 2010), “…has allowed us, when working with the different councils, to better understand the thought processes and styles when different genders share responsibilities for program and event planning. How many times have you seen the Panhellenic officers wanting to involve their entire board in the planning, while the IFC officer finalizes the planning before reporting to the entire officers’ team?” Fitting with Pendleton’s observation, our research shows considering the needs of others seems to be the behavior that most differentiates the genders for the most involved students.

Next Steps This information is valuable for professionals and volunteers working with student leaders. Advisors can work in a more informed way by recognizing that differences exist between women and men in terms of their self-understood strengths and limitations related to emotionally intelligent leadership. As such, how advisors work with and support students in their leadership development should take into account that one size or style of leadership does not equally suit every student, and gender may be a primary factor in why this is true. The finding that women are more outwardly directed in their approach to leadership may come as no surprise; however, some women may not be aware of this difference. Likewise, men may be aware of how to capitalize on their strengths, but do they think about how to be more conscious of others as they serve in formal or informal leadership roles? Advisors can help students increase their self-awareness and better understand how they may approach the activity of leadership differently based on their gender. At the same time, it is important not to fall into the trap of assuming just because a student is a particular gender he/she will lead in a particular way. This research provides one glimpse into how advisors can be more effective when working with students. – Scott J. Allen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of management at John Carroll University, where he teaches courses in leadership and management skills. He is also the coauthor of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for College Students and the corresponding suite of resources (Workbook and Facilitation and Activity Guide). – Marcy Levy Shankman, Ph.D., is principal of MLS Consulting, LLC, which specializes in training and consulting in leadership development and organizational effectiveness. Currently, she is also teaches at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. She co-authored Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for College Students as well as a suite of companion resources. (Article adapted from Shankman, M. L., Haber, P., Facca, T., & Allen, S. J. (2010). “Gender and leadership through the lens of emotionally intelligent leadership.” Leadership Review, 10, 88-103.)

2011 N  ominations

and Elections Process

Participation by AFA membership is essential to our efforts to nominate the most qualified candidates to serve as future leadership for the Association. Submit a Nomination Form to share the name of a person (including yourself) you feel would meet the qualifications for an Executive Board or Regional Director position.

Any Graduate or Professional member may nominate another Graduate or Professional member for the following 2012 Executive Board or Regional Director positions:

• Vice President for Administration and Finance

Nominations are due by 5 pm Eastern on Thursday, May 19, 2011.

• Vice President for Resource Development

• President-Elect (to be the 2013 President)

• Regional Director – Region I, II, III, IV, and V

For more information including the Nomination Form, how to get involved, what happens once somebody is nominated, and who serves on the Nominations and Elections Committee, visit the AFA website at

References Astin, A. W. (1993). What matters in college: Four critical years revisited. New York, NY: Macmillan. Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Retrieved May 5, 2009 from ERIC database ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_ nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED326149& ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED326149 Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., & Shiffman, S. (2006). Relating emotional abilities to social functioning: A comparison of self-report and performance measures of emotional intelligence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91(4), 780-795. Dugan, J. P. (2006). Explorations using the social change model: Leadership development among college men and women. Journal of College Student Development, 47(2), 217-225. Dugan, J. P., & Komives, S. R. (2007). Developing leadership capacity in college students: Findings from a national study. College Park, MD: National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs. Dugan, J. P., Komives, S. R., & Segar, T. C. (2008). College student capacity for socially responsible leadership: Understanding norms and influences of race, gender, and sexual orientation. NASPA Journal, 45(4), 475-500. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Guastello, D. D., & Guastello, S. J. (2003). Androgyny, gender role behavior, and emotional intelligence among college students and their parents. Sex Roles, 49(11/12), 663-673. Haber, P., & Komives, S. R. (2009). Predicting the individual values of the social change model of leadership development: The role of college students’ leadership and involvement experiences. Journal of Leadership Education, 7(3), 123-156. Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 765-780. Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Romano, C. R. (1996). A qualitative study of women student leaders. Journal of College Student Development, 37(6), 676-683. Sax, L. J. (2009, May-June). Gender matters: The variable effect of gender on the student experience. About Campus, 14(2), 2-9. Shankman, M. L., & Allen, S. J. (2008). Emotionally intelligent leadership: A guide for college students. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Shankman, M. L., & Allen, S, J. (2010). Emotionally intelligent leadership for students: Student workbook. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Shankman, M. L., Allen, S., J., & Facca, T. M. (2010). Emotionally intelligent leadership for students: Inventory. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


Understanding Impostor Phenomenon By Teniell L. Trolian

What is Impostor Phenomenon?


mpostor Phenomenon is a term used to describe feelings of phoniness in high-achieving individuals, where one fails to experience an internal sense of success despite high degrees of education, achievement, or recognition (Clance, 1985; Clance, 1986; Clance & Imes, 1978; Clance & O’Toole, 1988; Langford & Clance, 1993). It was first developed and studied in the late 1970s, as a result of clinical work with highly successful women. In interviews with more than 150 women, it was discovered that many expressed feeling like personal and professional “impostors who did not belong” (Clance & O’Toole, 1988, p. 1) among their professional peers. While more prevalent among women, some men also experience the impostor phenomenon. In spite of obvious successes, “women who experience the impostor phenomenon maintain a strong belief that they are not intelligent; in fact they are convinced that they have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise” (Clance & Imes, 1978, p. 1). In order to resolve the dissonance between one’s accomplishments and impostor feelings, many of the women interviewed by Clance and O’Toole attributed their achievements to external factors like “hard work, luck, knowing the right people, [or] being in the right place at the right time” (1988, p. 1).

Several characteristics often accompany the impostor phenomenon, including “introversion, dread of evaluation, guilt about success, great difficulty in internalizing positive feedback, generalized anxiety, and overestimating others while underestimating oneself” (Clance & O’Toole, 1988, p. 4). Those women experiencing impostor feelings also indicated in their interviews they experienced an extreme fear of personal and professional failure. In order to avoid the possibility of failure, some women interviewed indicated they “went to great lengths to avoid any mistakes or failures” (Clance & O’Toole, 1988, p. 1) in their work and personal lives.

Recognizing Impostor Feelings Clance (1986) developed the Impostor Phenomenon (IP) Scale in order to measure impostor feelings in interview participants. The IP Scale can be helpful in identifying and evaluating the intensity of impostor feelings. The scale includes 20 statements, where the participant was asked to rate how true they believed each statement to be: not true at all, rarely, sometimes, often, or very true. Statements included (from The Impostor Phenomenon: When Success Makes You Feel Like a Fake Clance, 1986, p. 20-22): • I have often succeeded on a test or task even though I was afraid that I would not do well before I undertook the task. • I can give the impression that I’m more competent than I really am. • I’m afraid people important to me may find out that I’m not as capable as they think I am. • I’m disappointed at times in my present accomplishments and think I should have accomplished much more. • I often worry about not succeeding with a project or examination, even though others around me have considerable confidence that I will do well.


Perspectives / Spring 2011

The complete IP Scale is available online at http://www.paulinerose The research about impostor phenomenon suggests individuals who experience high levels of impostor feelings may not reach their full achievement potential, allowing their feelings of phoniness and insecurity to limit their future personal and professional success. Where one would normally build upon past successes, feelings of impostor phenomenon may inhibit some from taking the next step.

Impostor Phenomenon in Fraternity/Sorority Advising As fraternity/sorority advisors, we may see evidence of impostor phenomenon in the students with whom we work. Students may exhibit a lack of confidence in their own intellect or abilities; allowing self-doubt and insecurity to limit their participation in leadership roles. Many students may hesitate to take on high-level leadership positions; lacking the confidence or belief in their abilities to apply for these key roles in our communities. Some may need an advisor or peer to encourage them to apply or run for leadership positions, and may need to be “convinced” by others they would do well before considering such positions.

Several characteristics often accompany the impostor phenomenon, including “introversion, dread of evaluation, guilt about success, great difficulty in internalizing positive feedback, generalized anxiety, and overestimating others while underestimating oneself.”

Once in leadership roles or positions, students who are successful may defer recognition or praise to others and insist team members or others deserve credit for the group’s accomplishments. Similarly, students selected for awards, honors, or formal recognition may doubt the sincerity of such accolades; suspecting an error or mistake, or by discounting the value or merit of the recognition. Students may also experience an extreme fear of failure; doubting their own abilities or competence and limiting their experiences to those that are familiar or comfortable. They may hesitate to take on high-level or visible roles out of fear or because of a lack of confidence. Some students may also harbor an extreme fear of evaluation or criticism, perceiving any feedback as attacking or allowing it to become internally demoralizing.

Addressing Impostor Phenomenon Clance and O’Toole (1988) warn about the potential consequences of enduring impostor feelings that go unaddressed. Eventually such feelings may inhibit one’s ability to take the next personal or professional steps, or it is also likely that one’s anxiety about being discovered to be an impostor may cause more significant mental health issues. As fraternity/sorority professionals, we have opportunities to help students address and confront impostor feelings in

their early stages, and utilize them as meaningful learning experiences rather than lifelong roadblocks. As students experience success in their academic work and leadership experiences, it is important to recognize and reward them for their achievements. Perhaps, however, it is even more important to provide students with intentionally-designed opportunities to reflect on their successes, in order to facilitate an internal sense of accomplishment. Helping students link their achievements to their own competence, intelligence, and hard work may help them to develop a genuine sense of self-efficacy and may encourage them to seek greater opportunities for success in the future. Furthermore, as students share feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, or fear of failure, it is important to assist them in more deeply exploring these emotions. Helping students resolve the dissonance between their perceived and actual levels of intellect or competence may lead to a more realistic self-appraisal; addressing impostor feelings and preparing them for their next developmental steps. Without an internal sense of achievement, students may continue to feel insecure or incompetent despite successes, and may, eventually, develop intense feelings of impostor phenomenon. In order to address this issue in its earliest stages, it is important

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


that fraternity/sorority advisors help students to recognize and confront impostor feelings before they limit students from taking the next steps or lead to more significant mental health scenarios. Use of tools like the Impostor Phenomenon Scale when working with students individually or developing educational programming that addresses impostor feelings or broader confidence issues may be some of the first steps in helping our students and communities address this important issue. – Teniell Trolian is the Assistant Director for Greek Affairs in the Center for Student Involvement at Kent State University and has an M.A. in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University.

References Clance, P. R. (1985). The impostor phenomenon: Overcoming the fear that haunts your success. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree. Clance, P. R. (1986). The impostor phenomenon: When success makes you feel like a fake. Toronto, Canada: Bantam Books. Clance, P. R., & Imes, S. A. (1978). The impostor phenomenon in high-achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 15, 241-247. Clance, P. R., & O’Toole, M. A. (1987). The impostor phenomenon: An internal barrier to empowerment and achievement. Women in Therapy, 6, 51-64. Langford, J., & Clance, P. R. (1993). The impostor phenomenon: Recent research findings regarding dynamics, personality, and family patterns and their implications for treatment. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, 30, 495-501.

2011 afa

Award Nominations

Help thank those around you and recognize outstanding programs by nominating colleagues and programs for 2011 AFA Awards. Nominating is easy and only takes a few minutes! The recipients of the 2011 awards will be announced during the AFA Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO.

Nominate a Colleague, Mentor, or Outstanding Program Today! • Jack L. Anson Award • Robert H. Shaffer Award • Sue Kraft Fussell Distinguished Service Awards • AFA/IATF Award for Outstanding Alcohol/Drug Prevention Program


Perspectives / Spring 2011

• Diversity Initiative Award

• Outstanding Volunteer Awards

• Essentials Award

• Perspectives Awards

• Excellence in Educational Programming Award Gayle Webb New Professional Award

Detailed nomination instructions, nomination forms, lists of previous recipients, and related information is available on the AFA website Awards.aspx. All nominations must be received by Friday, July 1, 2011.

• Oracle Award • Outstanding Change Initiative Award





Hazing causes problems—for those being hazed, for those organizations doing the hazing and for the whole community that experiences the fallout. In this keynote, Rick gets students to look at the big picture, taking a common sense approach and encouraging leaders to step up and explore more intelligent ways to develop new members. Rick speaks in specifics, increasing awareness of laws and legal realities. Best of all, students understand that Rick respects their intentions, even as he recommends better, more modern ways to develop successful members in all types of organizations. He gets the student mindset in the right place so real change can begin.

Being a member of a fraternity or sorority is a competitive advantage, and student members need to start feeling great about that. Rick challenges students to get excited about their membership, and he helps them understand how active engagement in solving their organizations’ issues gives them a leg up on their competition. He makes them want to get busy making their community more dynamic, more relevant and more valued in their campus environment. Membership in a fraternity or sorority is a tremendous opportunity, and Rick delivers a motivating, empowering message that will get your student leaders moving forward with excitement.

DRINK THINK We all know that alcohol continues to be an issue on campus and in our chapters. So, how can fraternities and sororities influence their members to make smarter decisions to minimize negative consequences for themselves and their groups? Rick believes that students who take personal responsibility for their decisions are more likely to make the better choices. In this keynote, he helps audiences understand how fraternities and sororities can be part of the solution. (This program can be done specifically for fraternity and sorority audiences, or can be done as a general campus program for all.)

For more information about Rick, contact CAMPUSPEAK at (303) 745-5545 or e-mail us at See a promotional video of Rick’s keynote at

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors 9640 N. Augusta Drive, Suite 433 Carmel, IN 46032

Presorted First-Class Mail U.S. Postage PAID Ames, Iowa Permit No. 307

Perspectives Spring 2011  

AFA Perspectives Spring 2011

Perspectives Spring 2011  

AFA Perspectives Spring 2011