Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Nydia C. Sánchez, PhD, Chair Hans Peter Schmitz, PhD, Member Sarina Chugani Molina, EdD, Member


Gloria Anzaldua, bodymindspirit, women faculty of color, resist, navigate, negotiate, community cultural wealth, intersectionality, Chicana feminist epistemology, conocimiento, survival, systemic racism, racial battle fatigue


Systematic racism has taken on various forms, enacting oppressive functions within academia that directly impact People of Color. Research shows that for women faculty of color, the tenure rates are proportionally lower than White men, men of color, and White women. Guided by a Chicana feminist epistemological framework, I conducted a narrative inquiry study to explore the lived experiences of tenured women faculty of color. Specifically, my study focused on the testimonios of 8 women faculty of color (4 associate professors and 4 full professors) in a variety of disciplines at 4-year public universities in San Diego County. Utilizing Gloria Anzaldua’s theory of conocimiento as an analytical tool, testimonios unraveled how faculty navigated their professoriate careers, negotiated encounters with systemic racism, racial bias, and discrimination after tenure, and lived in a constant state of hypervigilance as they stepped into leadership positions. Findings suggest that women faculty of color leaders are motivated by lasting parental influence, as well as mentors and other support systems. They also use a number of bodymindspirit survival strategies to counter hostile academic climates, discriminatory behavior, and unethical conduct. Ultimately, this research highlights how women faculty of color are legitimizing, empowering, and creating protective spaces for themselves, with implications for research theory, policy, and practice in academia.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only


Leadership Studies