Exploring the Lived Experiences of African American Female College Presidents: The Path to Presidency in Higher Education
Dallas Campus (Online)
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Jennifer T. Butcher
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
According to the American College President Survey of 2017, 30% of college presidents across the country are female, and only 5% of that population is represented by women of color (Gagliardi et al., 2017). Diversity in leadership positions, more specifically in the higher education sector, is a critical need as higher education institutions continue to develop sustainability strategies in response to impending demographic changes (Virick & Greer, 2012). The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative research study was to describe the lived experiences, pathways, and successful strategies used during career trajectory by former or current African American female college presidents in the United States. Framed by intersectionality and Black feminist thought, a phenomenological qualitative research study utilized data from six African American women who were serving, or had served, as college presidents in the United States. The findings revealed that while African American female college president had an overall positive experience during their pathway to presidency, remnants of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and the Queen Bee Syndrome had an impact on their career trajectory. Despite these roadblocks, it was determined that internal confidence, mentorships and professional development opportunities, specialized skill sets, and a community of support led to them to achieving college presidency. The findings of this study can be utilized by aspiring African American female college presidents, current university governing bodies or boards, and university human resource professionals within the United States higher education system to identify and implement strategies that better support aspirant college presidents.
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Collins, Breonna, "Exploring the Lived Experiences of African American Female College Presidents: The Path to Presidency in Higher Education" (2022). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 534.