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ERIC Number: ED549953
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 297
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-2513-6
An Examination of African American Female College Presidents' Professional Ascendancy and Mentoring Experiences
Smith-Ligon, Pamela
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Mercer University
There is a large disparity in the number of African American women leaders in higher education, specifically in the presidency. Much of the literature negates the experiences of the African American woman, often fusing their experiences with those of all women, or those of African American men, which often disregards the challenges and successes that are unique to African American women. The lack of literature reflects the scarce number of African American women who hold leadership positions in institutions of higher education. Although research indicates that African American women are receiving more advanced degrees and are meeting the qualifications for leadership positions in higher education, the number holding such position is astoundingly low. This qualitative study delved into the ascension of 4 African American women presidents, allowing them to share their life histories, detailing their progression to the presidency. The objective of this research study was to explore and determine what factors or indicators had the most influence on their development as leaders. Using a topical life-history approach each president was provided a platform to narrate their personal story through a face-to-face interview. Black-feminist-thought and critical-race theories were used as theoretical frameworks to guide the research study. The findings revealed that the ascension to the presidency for these African American women transcended far beyond their professional lives. Their experiences were relevant to the period and circumstances that surrounded them. They all cited that strong mentoring relationships assisted them in cultivating and navigating through the various levels and modes of the presidency. They each credited much of their success to the support of strong mentors. Five themes were apparent in this study: (a) Mentoring builds a firm foundation, (b) Race and where I stand, (c) The influence of mentoring relationships, (d) Mentoring others pays it forward, and (e) Preparing for the presidency. The findings in this study can be used by institutions of higher learning to implement mentoring programs targeted to meet the needs of African American women who desire to hold leadership positions. [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; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A