Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring Experiences and Challenges of Women Senior Administrators at Florida State Colleges
by Hill, Kimberly Renee, Ph.D., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, 2018, 133; 10976387
Abstract (Summary)

The current registry of senior administrators in postsecondary institutions are on their way into retirement, leading to a long list of vacancies for their positions. A study conducted by the American Association for Community Colleges (2015) indicated that 72% of community college Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are male. Although postsecondary institutions are traditionally grounded in patriarchal and hierarchal systems that impede on the advancement of women into senior administration positions, research has proven that women possess leadership traits that shape the direction of community college administration (Gill & Jones, 2013). Further, an analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau, exhibited that women surpass men in college enrollment; demonstrating the current gender gap in U.S. colleges (Lopez & Gonzalez-Barrera, 2014). Further, between 1994 and 2012, college enrollment for women increased from 63% to 71%, whereas college enrollment for men was unchanged during those years (Lopez & Gonzalez-Barrera, 2014). Considering the gendered changes in college matriculation data and the labor market pipeline, it is plausible to forecast a future nation of women administrators in postsecondary education (Ryan & Bauman, 2016; Goldin, Katz, & Kuziemko, 2006). Women, however, continue to be underrepresented in postsecondary education institutions (Longman & Lafreniere, 2012).

The Florida College System was established in 2008 due to an unyielding need for more baccalaureate degrees within the state. To respond to this statewide problem, state legislature approved Florida to change the name of its college system from the “Florida Community College System” to the “Florida College System.” Today, the “Florida College System,” offers the most baccalaureate degrees from community colleges in the nation (Community College Baccalaureate Association, 2013). According to Florida Fact Book (2016) and Wattenberger & Albertson (2012), Florida became a national model for establishing a statewide community college system. Considering, community colleges are known as the “people’s colleges,” due to their open enrollment policies, and acceptance of more diverse students, staff, faculty, and administrators (Hutcheson, 2007; Hall, 2009), it is very concerning that data doesn’t exhibit this. Therefore, the purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore the lived experiences and challenges that women encounter throughout their career advancement into senior administration roles in the Florida College System. This study entails eight women senior administrators (e.g. vice presidents and presidents) who are currently employed for a minimum of two years at a Florida state college. The focus of this study were the experiences and challenges that impact the career advancement of women senior administrators at Florida state colleges through environmental and cultural factors such as culture and male norms. Specifically, how these women administrators are affected, and how they perceive their environments that impact their career trajectories.

Using Cultural Feminism Perspective as the theoretical framework, the researcher captured the experiences and the challenges of the eight women senior administrators as they related to their career trajectories. This framework focused on gender roles and gender discrimination in the participants’ professional environments. Issues on gendered leadership including gender discrimination and stereotypes appeared to have cultural and environmental impacts on the experiences of the women senior administrators. Nevertheless, the participants acknowledged a shift in postsecondary education culture, and professed that the challenge is actually breaking gender stereotypes in leadership rather than the lack of representation of women in leadership.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Graves, Keith, Okpala, Comfort
Commitee: Boston, Quintin, Greenlee, Jacqueline, James, Ioney, Rotich, Jerono
School: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Department: Leadership Studies
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 80/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Womens studies, Gender studies
Keywords: Administrators, Community colleges, Equity, Florida, Leaders, Women
Publication Number: 10976387
ISBN: 978-0-438-80913-0
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