Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Leadership


Educational Administration

Major Professor

Christopher Broadhurst, Ph.D.


There is a lack of equitable representation of women of color in upper-leadership roles on college campuses. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore how women of color who serve as Chief Student Affairs Officers (CSAO), navigated both their racial and gender identities in their professional role, how they were prepared for this identity navigation throughout their career, and how they mentor younger professional women of color. Women of color CSAOs only make up about 4% of the population, so it was important to learn from their experiences in order to improve as a field. A qualitative study using a phenomenological approach, and Intersectionality as the theoretical framework, was conducted amongst women of color who serve as CSAOs at predominantly white, four-year colleges or universities. The theoretical framework was applied to illuminate the structural, political, and representational aspects of intersectionality that were experienced by the participants. The findings from this study illuminated the practices in the higher education and student affairs workplace that impact the racial and gendered experiences of women of color who serve as CSAOs. The results can and should be utilized to create more equitable workplace practices and policies for institutions of higher education. Overall, this study sought to add to the small body of research on women of color Chief Student Affairs Officers by continuing the much-needed conversation about the intersection of navigating both race and gender in a white and male dominated workplace.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.