The mission of South Carolina Women in Higher Education (SCWHE) is to provide support that includes encouragement, empowerment, and professional development to all faculty, staff, and students who identify as women and work or take classes in higher education entities within South Carolina. SCWHE aims to increase diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and the number of women in leadership positions throughout higher education systems statewide.


SCWHE is affiliated with the American Council on Education’s Inclusive Excellence Group, (formerly the Office on Women) and the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network. SCWHE also joins with other organizations to foster an educational, social, and political environment in which women in all their diversity and richness gain a greater voice.

Goals and Strategies


Identify women leaders in higher education

  • Nominate and support women seeking positions in higher education.
  • Enhance utilization of the SCWHE Advisory Board to assist in identification of women leaders on their respective campuses and throughout the state.
  • Work aggressively to assure that each South Carolina higher education institution has in place an institutional representative appointed by her president.


Develop the leadership skills of women in higher education

  • Sponsor an annual conference focusing on women in higher education.
  • Provide a fall and spring workshop for Institutional Representatives.
  • Offer a Virtual Workshop series on various topics.
  • Coordinate the Women’s Leadership Academy.
  • Provide an annual workshop for minority women in higher education.


Encourage women leaders to make full use of their abilities

  • Present the Martha Kime Piper Award to recognize the contributions of an outstanding South Carolina woman in higher education.
  • Promote widely all of SCWHE’s programs and activities.


Advance women into senior level positions

  • Utilize the SCWHE Advisory Board to assist with the implementation and advocacy of SCWHE mission and goals on their respective campuses, across the state, and nationally to organizations and areas of influence.
  • Endorse women candidates for mid- and senior-level positions in higher education.
  • Encourage and support women seeking advanced degrees and leadership development.


Link women leaders at all levels to one another

  • Collaborate with South Carolina higher education organizations and other organizations with similar missions to promote opportunities to advance women in the state.
  • Advocate the appointment of women to boards and commissions dealing with higher education.
  • Provide scholarships for women emerging professionals and graduate students to attend the annual conference.


Support the retention of women in higher education

  • Support, endorse, nurture, mentor, and partner with women in higher education positions.
  • Support, endorse, nurture, mentor, and partner with women students in higher education.
  • Enhance and continuously update the SCWHE website.
  • Sponsor high visibility celebratory events to mark the appointments of women to institutional presidencies.

ACE Inclusive Excellence Group Partner

SCWHE is a partner of the The American Council on Education’s Inclusive Excellence Group which provides the national direction for women’s leadership development and career advancement.

South Carolina Women in Higher Education, the official state network of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Inclusive Excellence Group, is pleased to offer exceptionally valuable professional development opportunities to promising women employed in our higher education institutions. For over 15 years our network has used a model created by ACE to provide opportunities for professional development and networking.

The ACE Women’s Network is a national system of networks within each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia that work, with assistance from the American Council on Education (ACE), to advance and support women in higher education.  The state networks share a goal of developing programs that identify, develop, encourage, advance, link and support (IDEALS) women in higher education careers.

The ACE Women’s Network holds inclusion and gender equity as core values to it’s work.  Individuals who are committed to supporting and advancing women in higher education are welcome to participate in the ACE Women’s Network without regard to gender, gender identity, or gender expression.