Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mason, Robert C., 1940-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


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


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to establish a professional development model for African-American women educators. This was accomplished by exploring the strategies employed, processes used, and barriers encountered by the women in the study. The grounded theory methodology was used in conducting this research study. African-American female leaders in the education profession participated in one-on-one semistructured interviews. Additional African-American women participated in a focus group. Triangulation (use of the interview, focus group, and independent auditor) was used to increase the validity of the study. The constant comparison method was used in analyzing the data. Data from the study indicated that the African-American educators in the study used networking, sorority membership, and mentoring as professional development strategies. The women believed that African-American women leaders in the field of education would benefit from obtaining a terminal degree, writing professionally, attending leadership institutes, following a professional development plan, and participating in professional associations. The women encountered barriers that included racism and the need for validation—proof that she was capable or worthy as a professional. Research findings suggested that there was some commonality among the women in various stages of the profession. The findings suggested that there were some differences in how the women experienced the professional development process in various stages in their professional life. The stages of professional life identified in this study were the seasoned, midcareer, and new professional. The researcher developed the model using the themes that emerged in the study. The model shows, on a continuum, the relationship between professional development strategies and processes identified by the women in the study and the professional development stages traversed by professional educators. This dissertation adds the voice of the African-American woman to the literature related to professional associations, professional development, and adult education.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 148-157)


x, 171 pages




Northern Illinois University

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