Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mackett, Muriel

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership in Educational and Sport Organizations


African American women--Education (Higher); African American women educators--Education (Continuing education); African American women college administrators


Investigated in this descriptive study are the perceptions of ten selected African-American women leaders, five each from two national professional organizations committed to strengthening women's leadership in higher education. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge base on the perceived role of an African-American women's “grassroots” national professional organization, the Association of Black Women in Higher Education, and a “racially and ethnically diverse funded” national professional organization, the American Council on Education National Identification Program, in support of the professional aspirations of African-American women leaders in higher education. Respondent profile and interview data were utilized to examine the perceptions of these African-American women leaders of the two national professional organizations in support of their aspirations to achieve leadership roles in higher education. The African-American women member leaders described the past, present, and future roles of the two selected national professional organizations within the context of their own lived experience. The interpretive analysis provided insights about the perceived role each national professional organizations played in the professional lives of these African-American leaders in higher education. The interpretive analysis supported broad observations about the two national professional organizations concerning positive mentoring, organizational linkage, social support strategies, career opportunities, professional self-sufficiency based on training and connections, strong communication patterns, and “old girls' networks.” The interpretive analysis also suggested similarities and differences in the national professional organizations as they serve as powerful social interventions for improving higher-education leadership access for African-American women. Recommendations are made for leaders of national professional organizations and institutions of higher education regarding ways to provide support for African-American women seeking leadership roles in higher education. Recommendations are made for research, policy, practice, and professional development.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [307]-320).


xviii, 218 pages




Northern Illinois University

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