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ERIC Number: ED514630
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 329
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-9734-6
Pioneering Women: Black Women as Senior Leaders in Traditionally White Community Colleges
Bright, Debra Antoinette
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, The George Washington University
The purpose of this study was to understand the lived leadership experiences of Black women senior-level administrators in traditionally White community colleges. Research suggests that Black women administrators, particularly those employed on White college campuses are often faced with multiple challenges as they attempt to maintain their cultural identity while assimilating to or accommodating the dominant culture of the academy (Owens, 2001), yet there have been very few studies on the experiences of Black women administrators in the community college setting. As such, the primary goal of this research was to illuminate the leadership experiences of Black women administrators in community colleges and how these women made meaning of their lives, with particular attention being given to the ways in which they manage their biculturality while working in their traditionally White two-year institutions. Using a phenomenological paradigm of inquiry and the bicultural life structure (Bell, 1986, 1990) conceptual framework to undergird this study, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 14 Black women administrators to explore this research topic. The participants in this study held the position of dean, vice president, provost, or special assistant to the president and were employed at community colleges located in one of five states in the Northeastern, Southeastern, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The outcome of this research is a phenomenological description and interpretation of these leaders' experiences derived from their personal reflections. The following seven themes emerged from the textual data in this study: (1) Pioneering Women: The first, the only, and the lonely; (2) Presidential Aspirations; (3) Dealing with the "-isms." (4) Struggle for Legitimacy; (5) Detractors; (6) Sustainers; and (7) Negotiating Biculturality. The findings reveal that their story is one of aspiration, challenges, supports, and navigation of complex experiences. Results of this study provide aspiring Black female leaders with an understanding of what they might expect with regard to attaining a senior-level position in a traditionally White community college. Institutional recommendations spawned from this study include developing formalized leadership training, and mentor-protege programs for current and aspiring Black women senior-level administrators. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A