The purpose of this study was to understand the lived leadership experiences of Black women senior-level administrators in traditionally White community colleges. Research suggests that Black women administrators, particularly those employed on White college campuses are often faced with multiple challenges as they attempt to maintain their cultural identity while assimilating to or accommodating the dominant culture of the academy (Owens, 2001), yet there have been very few studies on the experiences of Black women administrators in the community college setting. As such, the primary goal of this research was to illuminate the leadership experiences of Black women administrators in community colleges and how these women made meaning of their lives, with particular attention being given to the ways in which they manage their biculturality while working in their traditionally White two-year institutions.
Using a phenomenological paradigm of inquiry and the bicultural life structure (Bell, 1986, 1990) conceptual framework to undergird this study, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 14 Black women administrators to explore this research topic. The participants in this study held the position of dean, vice president, provost, or special assistant to the president and were employed at community colleges located in one of five states in the Northeastern, Southeastern, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
The outcome of this research is a phenomenological description and interpretation of these leaders' experiences derived from their personal reflections. The following seven themes emerged from the textual data in this study: (1) Pioneering Women: The first, the only, and the lonely; (2) Presidential Aspirations; (3) Dealing with the “-isms.” (4) Struggle for Legitimacy; (5) Detractors; (6) Sustainers; and (7) Negotiating Biculturality.
The findings reveal that their story is one of aspiration, challenges, supports, and navigation of complex experiences. Results of this study provide aspiring Black female leaders with an understanding of what they might expect with regard to attaining a senior-level position in a traditionally White community college. Institutional recommendations spawned from this study include developing formalized leadership training, and mentor-protégé programs for current and aspiring Black women senior-level administrators.
|Advisor:||Wright, Travis S.|
|Commitee:||Dukes, Charlene M., Dungy, Gwendolyn J., Molasso, William, Williams, Brenda C.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Education and Human Development|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African American Studies, Black studies, Higher Education Administration, Womens studies|
|Keywords:||Biculturality, Black women, Community colleges, Leadership, Phenomenology, Senior administrators|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be