Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Lilian Hill

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Ursula Whitehead

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Thomas O'Brien

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The qualitative study explored the (a) self-identity and individual experiences of five African American female higher education administrators, (b) educational and background preparedness of each African American female administrator, (c) individual support mechanisms of each African American female administrator, (i.e., mentoring, community and family support), and (d) whether or not religion, soul, and spirituality played a role in their advancement within the ranks of higher education administration. The study included an overview of the history and preparedness of African American female higher education administrators and the growth and significance of changes during the last few decades relative to their advancement and challenges encountered in pursuit of senior level positions of authority within the academe (Gregory, 1995; Jacobs, 1999; Rusher, 1996; Turner, 2002b). Participants were selected from current and former African American female senior level higher education administrators located in the southern regions of the continental United States, with emphasis on the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.

A questionnaire, field studies, and observations were utilized by the researcher in addition to interviews (Patton, 1990). Information was collected for review and analysis regarding the attitudes, values, beliefs, morals, and ethics of African American women leaders. Documentation relative to the number of years of experience in higher education administration, years of education and training, number of siblings, etc., was collected for review and analysis. A multiple case study design that employs purposive sampling (Patton, 2002; Merriam, 2009) was used in order to enhance external validity and to provide a broader view of the findings (Merriam, 2009). This type of sampling allowed subjective selection by the researcher to obtain a sample that appears to be representative of the diversity of the targeted population while providing an overall, typical depiction of the administrators’ lived experiences (Merriam, 2009; Merriam & Associates, 2002).

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