Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Curriculum

First Reader/Committee Chair

Brown-Welty, Sharon


Today there is a considerable amount of literature documenting the gender oppression of women in the American workforce, including academia. Unfortunately, this results in an insignificant amount of literature available that narrates the successes of the few women who have navigated the labyrinth of academia and served as a President or Chancellor of a 4-year, public university. This study will help bridge the literature gap by sharing the exploits of four elite women who overcame barriers created through university policy and procedures, historical academe culture, and genderism.

A narrative analysis methodology was used to examine the ideology of leadership within higher education through a gendered lens. Four women currently serving in the capacity of a public university President or Chancellor shared their personal stories of how each managed her many intersecting identities as a woman, while also climbing the academic ladder in an effort to help document and overcome the under-representation of women phenomenon in higher education. The narratives captured symbolize a step towards parity for women currently in the pipeline of all senior administrative roles within higher education.

The theoretical framework employed for this study was the theory of intersectionality which was utilized in this study to learn how four women successfully navigated their intersecting identities while continuing to advance their administrative careers in higher education.