Publication Date

Spring 2022

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Monica Burke (Director), Patience Bryant, Lester Archer

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


This study explored the lived experiences of five Black women Vice Presidents of Student Affairs (VPSAs) at community colleges through narrative inquiry to get a better understanding of the strategies Black women deploy to be successful as well as the challenges and barriers they must navigate. Data was analyzed from a purposeful sample of five Black women VPSAs to get a better understanding of the experiences of Black women executive leaders in higher education. Participants shared many similarities in their educational and professional backgrounds in higher education by their experiences with leading and developing essential areas in student affairs. Findings include five themes that emerged from the data. Those themes highlight the participants description and recounting of their journey to the VPSA role, barriers and stereotypes they faced such as lack of mentors, having their legitimacy questioned, degree envy, wrestling with duality, leadership and supervision challenges, and feelings of being unappreciated. The implication of this study encourages institutions to create pathway programs to executive leadership for Black women that include mentoring and executive coaching as well as revise and review the recruiting, hiring, and retention of Black women in administrative roles.


Educational Sociology | Higher Education | Secondary Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services