Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Voices of Women College Presidents: Women's Perceptions of Career Navigation into the College Presidency
by Mahady, Christine, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2018, 168; 10844497
Abstract (Summary)

Institutions of higher education have a glass ceiling: women are underrepresented in the college presidency with 30% of college presidents as women, 83% white and 17% women of color. By nature, the culture of higher education has been traditionally male centered, with female professors and researchers struggling to advance in their careers. Contributing factors that may lead to the lack of women college presidents may be linked to long-held systemic views of women and gender biases that create barriers in career advancement. The objective of this qualitative study is to explore the ways in which women, from their perceptions, navigated opportunities and managed obstacles as they advanced into the college presidency. For the women who did advance to the highest level of leadership in IHE—the college presidency—what did they experience as they advanced in their career, and what enabled them to navigate the system and transcend the barriers? Qualitative data were analyzed using an inductive thematic analysis process through convergent and divergent coding tools. Four key findings emerged from this study: (1) Women were intelligent, talented, successful, savvy, and brave; (2) Servant Leadership; (3) Gender Fluid Characteristics; and (4) Support and Well-Being for current college presidents. This study offers an increased awareness of barriers that are limiting women from progressing to the college presidency in institutions of higher education. It also offers an increased awareness of the phenomenology of women college presidents and the ways that they managed obstacles and took advantage of opportunities as they advanced in their careers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McKee, Annie
Commitee: Ball, Earl, Gawelek, Mary Ann
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational administration, Gender studies
Keywords: Gender studies, Higher education administration, Patriarchy, Women college presidents, Women leaders, Women's career advancement
Publication Number: 10844497
ISBN: 978-0-438-33930-9
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