Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Chair

H. Quincy Brown

Committee Chair School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 2

Heather M. Annulis

Committee Member 2 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 3

Cyndi H. Gaudet

Committee Member 3 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Committee Member 4

Dale L. Lunsford

Committee Member 4 School

Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development

Abstract

Many Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) of higher learning do not have enough African Americans to lead their institutions in curriculum development, mentoring, recruitment, and governance (Reyes & Rios, 2005). Previous studies have attributed the modest representation of African American administrators to systemic barriers impeding the recruitment and advancement of African Americans at PWIs of higher learning (Jones, 2007; Perna, Gerald, Baum, & Milem, 2007). Ideally, the administrative leadership at PWIs of higher learning would adequately represent—ethnically and racially—its student population (Higgs, 2014). Levin, Walker, Haberler, and Jackson–Boothby (2013) suggest minimal progress in hiring African American administrators at PWIs of higher learning has been made, failing to keep pace with the increasing number of African American students matriculating at those institutions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore and identify enablers and barriers contributing to African Americans’ career advancement into administrative positions at PWIs of higher learning. This study’s design was qualitative phenomenological. The results of this study derived from the analysis of the participants’ demographic information and interview transcripts. The analysis yielded 23 emergent themes clustered into seven of the eight overall themes regarding the enablers and barriers influencing the career advancement of African Americans at public two and four-year PWIs in Mississippi. The findings from the study suggest the creation of a state and national mentoring program in addition to hiring strategies aimed at growing the pipeline of potential African American administrators could lead to PWIs having a workforce that adequately represents its student population. Consequently, increasing African American representation throughout various levels of the institution (e.g., faculty, staff, support staff, administration), which could increase PWIs ability to recruit, retain and graduate more African American students.

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