Date of Award

Fall 12-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Chair

Dr. Eric Platt

Committee Chair Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 2

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 3

Dr. Lilian Hill

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 4

Dr. Ann Blankenship

Committee Member 5

Dr. Georgianna Martin

Abstract

Leadership studies have infrequently addressed the diversity of leaders. Moreover, little is known about the experiences of Black presidents serving at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). The present study was conceptualized using the glass cliff framework which posits that women and racial minorities are more often promoted to precarious leadership positions than are White males. Examined through a lens of race and leadership, the goals of this study were to: (1) assess whether there were observable differences in the prevalence and magnitude of adverse conditions surrounding the appointments of Black and White presidents at PWIs; and (2) gain an understanding of the leadership experiences of racial minorities heading PWIs. Essentially, this study aimed to examine the extent to which subtle forms of inequity are present among Black presidents who break through the pervasive glass ceiling. A two-phase explanatory sequential mixed methods design was employed.

Overall findings from the quantitative phase revealed that there were differences in the prevalence and magnitude of adverse conditions experienced between groups. However, these differences were relatively small. Although small, the differences found indicated that institutions appointing Black presidents experienced more instances of adverse conditions that were less favorable than did institutions appointing White presidents. In the qualitative phase, six African American presidents participated in semi-structured interviews. Data analysis revealed four major thematic categories pertaining to participants’ (1) career path; (2) perceptions of their leadership; (3) experiences with race and gender; and (4) perspectives on racial minority leadership. Key implications for higher education research and practice are presented.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0003-1238-039X

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