The perceived role of the senior woman administrator at NCAA Division I institutions

Laura Melinda Miller Hatfield


The purpose of this study was to examine two aspects of the role of the Senior Woman Administrator (SWA): (1) the role as it exists today and (2) the role as it could become in the future. To accomplish this purpose, the researcher developed the SWA Survey. Face validity of the instrument was evaluated by a panel of experts in the fields of intercollegiate athletic administration and college teaching. Internal consistency was examined using Chronbach alpha, .96. The Senior Woman Administrator Survey was mailed to all 325 NCAA Division I SWAs. From this population, 150 surveys were returned (46%) with 146 of the surveys being usable. The following results were found: (1) no significant differences were reported in the perceived role of the SWA and institutional classification, institutional category, or education level, (2) a significant positive relationship was found between College Teaching and SWAs having the authority necessary to effectively exercise her responsibilities as SWA, (3) a significant positive relationship was found between College Coaching and SWAs having adequate opportunity for professional development, (4) significant positive relationships were found between College Athletic Administration and coaches and the SWA working well together and job satisfaction, (5) a significant inverse relationship was found between College Athletic Administration and the role of the SWA being defined differently, (6) respondents indicated that they were the highest-ranking female athletic administrator, (7) SWAs hold a variety of additional titles, and (8) most respondents perceived that they were given appropriate responsibilities. It was concluded that: (1) while it was anticipated that SWAs with differing education levels, at Division I-A institutions, and at private institutions would have unique perceptions of their role, this was not the case, (2) the relationship between College Teaching and having necessary authority might be indicative of a broader perspective of athletics, inherent respect given to professors/instructors, or the ability by the SWA to demonstrate an unbiased perspective, (3) respondents fit the NCAA definition of an SWA, and (4) most SWAB indicate that they have been given appropriate responsibilities.