Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Member

Dr. Russell Marion, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Boettcher

Committee Member

Dr. Kristin Frady

Committee Member

Dr. James Satterfield


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore how institutional culture impacts women's political leadership efficacy development. By utilizing a constructivist design and a methodology rooted in feminine inquiry that included an interview and document (photo) analysis, a group of traditionally aged (18-24 year old) college women shared their lived experiences at one public land-grant research institution. The themes that emerged were based on multiple photo-elicitation interviews conducted with the participants throughout a semester. The data gathered was analyzed using a constant comparative method. Interpretation was done, in part, based on a leadership efficacy development framework. The students' sagas explored perceptions, interpretations and experiences related to political leadership efficacy development. They recognized the institution as still heavily male dominated and shared lived experiences that reinforced their perception that women were held to higher standards than men throughout campus. By examining these findings through the context of leadership efficacy development, it was determined that the mixed messages received by participants from the institution impacted their interest, perception and experience engaging in political leadership. The research indicated that reinforcement and enhancement of positive political leadership experiences throughout campus might increase women's political leadership efficacy. The integration of political leadership learning within the curricular and co-curricular systems highlighted how students envisioned a campus culture more focused on political leadership efficacy development for women.



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