Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Shawn Woodhouse, PhD


Bill Kyle, PhD

Kathleen B. Nigro, PhD

Claude Weathersby, PhD


Previous research has noted that African American women are absent in senior administrative positions in institutions of higher education. Few studies have provided detailed insight into the experiences of African American women during their transition to senior-level leadership roles in the academy. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to document the experiences of African American women during their ascension to senior academic leadership positions in higher education institutions. This research employed purposeful sampling and snowball sampling to recruit five African American women in Midwestern U.S. who ascended to a leadership role within the Office of Academic Affairs. This study was guided by the cultural competence framework, and utilized a phenomenological approach to record the experiences of these five African American women who successfully obtained a senior-level administrative role in academia.

Data from this research contributes to the body of scholarship regarding the experiences of African American women and their ascension to senior academic administration in postsecondary institutions. In addition, African American women who aspire to pursue a senior-level leadership role might find this data useful. This research can also help to facilitate institutional change and encourage college and university administrators to ensure that their leadership pipeline includes an equal representation of African American women in senior administration within academe.

OCLC Number