Date of Award

Fall 12-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dr. Christopher Broadhurst

Second Advisor

Dr. Desiree Anderson

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Jeffers

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Diana Ward


The purpose of this narrative study was to chronicle the career advancement journeys of the Black women who have been successful in ascending to the presidency in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Currently, only a small percentage of Black women serve as presidents of HBCUs. More specifically, there is literature suggesting that race and gender discrimination towards Black women is not confined by institution type, and that some of the same issues plaguing Black women in Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), exist within HBCUs as well (Bonner, 2001; Gasman, 2007; Kennedy, 2012). Although many studies exist relative to the career advancement experiences of Black women in PWIs, there is a paucity of studies focusing on the experiences of Black women HBCU presidents. In an effort to convey the career advancement stories of Black women who have ascended to the HBCU presidency, narrative methods were used in this study. The author sought to answer the following research question: What are the storied career advancement experiences of Black women who have risen to the HBCU presidency?The findings revealed that Black women role models, mentoring and support systems, and a determination to succeed are beneficial to career success. Additionally, the findings indicate that Black women face sexism within HBCUs, PWIs, and within the community. In particular, the findings suggest that there is a Black male patriarchy existing in the HBCU, where few Black women serve in the role of president. Further findings show that there is also a difference in the treatment of Black women HBCU students, versus Black women HBCU leaders. Whereas the former is nurtured, while the latter's competency and qualifications are called into question.


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