Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award




Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Butcher

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Jim Adams

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Faith Ngunjiri


Data outlines the significant underrepresentation of women in senior-level leadership positions compared to males, specifically within the Council for Christian Colleges and University (CCCU) institutional environment. Due to the scarce amount of research of women who currently reside in senior-level leadership positions at Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, this qualitative research study examined the barriers women faced and strategies they employed to overcome the barriers to achieving senior-level leadership roles within CCCU member institutions. The study was guided by one central, overarching research question: How do senior-level women leaders navigate leadership advancement within CCCU institutions? The study utilized the theoretical frameworks of the sex-role stereotype theory and role congruity model to provide foundational theoretical knowledge with the study phenomenon explored in further detail through three additional research questions. A sample of 15 current senior-level women leaders from multiple CCCU institutions spanning across the United States was interviewed through a semistructured approach to explore their lived leadership experiences and perspectives. As a result of the research, 11 common themes were established: (a) Christian upbringing, (b) leadership development, (c) leadership opportunities, (d) woman catalysts, (e) stereotypes, (f) traditional institutional barriers, (g) hierarchal disconnect, (h) women’s representation, (i) a lack of support or mentorship, (j) employee first/ relational leadership, and (k) critical leadership characteristics.

Keywords: Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), evangelical traditions, family-work conflict (double-bind), women’s underrepresentation, gender inequality, historical gender roles, organizational leadership, self-efficacy

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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.