Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James P. Barber


This qualitative study examined the career progression of African American women mid-level administrators in student affairs. A conceptual framework that integrated Career Advancement Factors (Coleman, 2002) and Black Feminist Thought (Collins, 2000) was used analyze the narratives of nine participants. The major findings of this study are that African American women mid-level administrators in student affairs are negotiating their careers by developing mentoring relationships, developing a professional skill set, earning a doctoral degree and navigating institutional politics. They believe their career progression has been impacted by their race and gender albeit in varying degrees. Race was perceived to be a factor by all women whereas gender was perceived to be more of a factor based on their student affairs area. Not all women were actively trying to move up to a senior-level administrative role and were content with their current position. There was a notable difference between the new mid-level administrators (5-10 years in student affairs) and the seasoned mid-level administrators (11 years or more). Seasoned mid-level administrators had a greater level of self-awareness that was used to make important decisions about the future of their career. These findings have implications for practice and for considerations for future research.



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