Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Educational Administration


Educational Administration

Major Professor

Dr. Christopher Broadhurst

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Jeffers

Third Advisor

Dr. Diana Ward

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Emmanuela Stanislaus



Black women are significantly underrepresented in senior leadership roles, particularly at predominately white institutions (PWIs). The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of Black women at predominately white institutions who hold mid-level management roles and aspire to advance to senior leadership. This study details the experiences of five Black women who shared their stories of rising above racial and gender oppressions by overcoming stereotypes, understanding the value in mentorships and sponsorships, utilizing their systems of support and being empowered in their relationships with other Black women. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit the study participants. This study was guided by the theoretical framework Black feminist thought (BFT) that highlights the intersections of race, gender and class oppressions and is centered on Black women’s ideas that reflect self, family and society (Collins, 1986). A qualitative study and narrative approach was used to inform the experiences of these women. The findings that resulted from this research highlighted the race and gender inequities in the structures and practices that have long existed at PWIs. The data obtained from this study could be used to help other Black women who desire to become senior leaders at PWIs, better navigate the discriminatory practices and find the needed support to help them successfully navigate through this process. Additionally, PWIs can use the data obtained from this study to gain insight into creating more equitable opportunities on their campuses for Black women to thrive and recruit and retain top talent from this vastly underrepresented population. This study aimed to enhance the limited body of knowledge on Black women mid-level managers at PWIs and examine the unspoken truths on racial and gender biases rooted in white hegemonic organizational structures.

Keywords: inequity, racism, predominately white institution, senior leadership


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