Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education and Organizational Leadership Development

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Natasha Croom

Committee Member

Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward

Committee Member

Dr. Nafees Khan

Committee Member

Dr. Rachel Wagner


The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore and understand the sensemaking process of how Black women administrators at PWIs use their intersectional experiences to develop a leader identity. This study used an endarkened feminist epistemology to view leadership development from the individualistic and collective perspectives of Black women leaders. Black feminist thought (BFT) and critical race feminism (CRF) were used as the theoretical frameworks serving as the lens through which their lived experiences were examined and analyzed. Purposive and theoretical sampling procedures were utilized, including volunteer and snowball techniques, to select ideal participants from various four-year, public PWIs throughout the United States. Data were collected from participant journaling and individual interviews. Data analysis techniques took a deductive whole-part-whole analysis approach. The study’s findings indicated that Black women administrators at PWIs used their intersectional experiences through noticing, interpreting, authoring, and enacting behaviors to make sense of their leader identity. By sharing their journeys, participants revealed that as they were making sense of the world of leadership, so too were others making sense of them as Black women leaders. The results of this study will be used to provide a leadership framework to PWIs that are seriously committed to assisting Black women administrators in their leadership development.

Included in

Education Commons



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