Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Linda Wilson-Jones

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Simone Elias

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Mary Christopher


This dissertation explored the lived experiences of Black women as they progressed in their careers to senior-level leadership positions in higher education. Using interpretative phenomenology analysis, this study specifically explored how Black women perceived their experiences, challenges and barriers leading to them obtaining senior-level leadership roles. Prior literature on the advancement of Black women leaders identified that women who fit the category of Black undergo extreme challenges, including the angry Black woman stereotype, concrete and glass ceilings, tokenism, colorism, imposter syndrome, and sexism. The findings from this study validate the literature as many of the themes produced in this study correlated with what has previously been produced through study. Black women remain a double minority in a predominantly White space working in higher education, but the women in this study indicate finding ways to overcome challenges and barriers that have been placed in their way. The results of this study indicate that Black women have repeatedly found ways to overcome adversity that has come in the form of challenges and barriers in order to fulfill their personal career goals and they have provided detailed accounts of what it took to accomplish those goals. Black feminist theory served as the theoretical guide for this study and assisted with exploring the lived experiences of the 15 Black women participants. The current findings grounded in Black feminist theory support Collins (2000) who stated that Black feminist theory allows for a foundation of understanding the unique perspective and identity of Black women as they navigate through life, subjected to oppression and marginalization as a second minority group in this country.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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