Women of Color Leaders in MnSCU's Four-year Universities

Lynn Davis

Abstract


This phenomenological study focuses on four women of color leaders in four-year universities within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. The purpose of this study was to provide an understanding of the experiences of women of color as they aspire to become leaders. The study purports that the lack of representation of women of color in the MnSCU system warrants exploration. The review of the literature revealed that although there is a growing body of research addressing issues concerning women of color leaders in higher education, there has been limited research that speaks to the experiences of women of color administrators in higher education, particularly in the MnSCU system. Four research questions were developed and qualitative research interviews were conducted for gathering the data. Participants were selected based on three criterion using judgment and snowball sampling. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, reviewed by the participants, and notes were developed and divided into pseudonyms, initials, color codes, and alphabetic and numeric labels relating to each research question. The data was analyzed and themes emerged when the women used similar language across the stories. Findings from the study include the study participants’ acknowledgement of the importance of formal education as it provides opportunities for growth and development. In addition, their perceptions about the challenges they experienced in the academy, and how that assisted them in discovering their true identities and strength, were revealed. Finally, the participants felt that they proved their competence and dismissed stereotypes in regard to race and gender. Recommendations include future research to expand this study, develop employee orientations, explore professional development in relation to racism and sexism, and develop formal and informal university mentoring programs.

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [JGGS] ISSN online 2162-691X

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