Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Perri J. Bomar, PhD; William P. Foster, EdD


administrators, African Americans, higher education, Leadership studies, management behaviors, qualitative analysis, women


Little has been written about the topic of Black women administrators in higher education academia and therefore little is actually known. This study examines the strategies and behaviors used by Black women to successfully acquire and maintain their positions. None of the studies reviewed specifically addressed this subject, although a few related studies have been found to be helpful. The ultimate goal of this investigation is to provide a better understanding of the issues which confront Black women who aspire to or have already obtained administrative roles in higher education. It does not seek to verify any given theory or set of prior assumptions; rather it seeks to discover the reality of successful management behaviors within this extremely minute group. Qualitative research on 19 Black female administrators from both two year and four year universities which are nonchurch related were reviewed to gather data on this subject. The constant comparative method of Glaser and Strauss (1967) was used to analyze the data. In depth interviews were conducted with the nine line and ten staff administrators who participated in this research. A series of questions based upon a review of the literature was used to elicit the behaviors and strategies practiced by the respondents. The data gathered concerned the administrators' experiences and perceptions of the following: (1) position acquisition, (2) the role of politics, (3) career enhancement strategies, (4) the effects of racism and sexism, (5) the importance of a competitive spirit, (6) risk taking behavior, (7) loyalty to the organization, (8) power, (9) confidence, and (10) the need to contribute to society. The study concluded that the recommended career enhancement strategies and behaviors to be utilized by aspiring Black females in higher education administration are: (1) gaining interpersonal skills, (2) finding a mentor who can assist in one's career development, (3) learning to deal with racism and sexism, (4) gaining decision making skills, and (5) obtaining a doctoral degree. These strategies were consistently cited by the respondents in addition to the literature on women administrators. In general, all of the women agreed that their careers were enhanced by risk taking, loyalty to their organizations and contributions made to society. However, there was consensus on the use of power, politics, competition and confidence. These behaviors were seen as effective by some but were not embraced by the majority. The findings also suggest that the political climate of a society will exert an impact upon the hiring practices of its public and private institutions. This impact translates into who gets what, when, and how.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access