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Mid-level African-American women administrators in higher education institutions: Struggles and strategies

Pamela Jean Mitchell-Crump, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Mid-level management is often overlooked in studies of higher education administration. African-American women mid-level administrators are studied even less. This research study focuses on the experiences of African-American women administrators (Program Directors and Deans) in higher education institutions, the obstacles they face in pursuit of upward mobility, the support networks they use and strategies they implement. The research study methodology consisted of a mixed-methods approach for the gathering of data. The first method, qualitative, was implemented through conducting in-depth interviews with a small sample (7) of African-American women administrators from varying types of higher education institutions in the northeast region. The second method, quantitative, consisted of administering a survey questionnaire to a larger sample (101) of African-American mid-level women administrators in higher education institutions in the northeast region. From this, a total of 93 usable surveys were returned. From the qualitative and quantitative research data the researcher identified eight common themes. These themes are: institutional climate and culture; barriers faced, supports used; coping and advancement strategies; skills needed; racism and sexism; how African-American women are perceived; and mentoring. Each theme is supported with quotes from the qualitative data and number and frequencies of responses provided from the quantitative data. These themes serve as a framework for discussing the policy and practice implications of the data for institutions of higher education. Implications for the African-American female administrator are addressed also. Lastly, recommendations for future research are provided.

Subject Area

Higher education|Educational administration|Womens studies|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Mitchell-Crump, Pamela Jean, "Mid-level African-American women administrators in higher education institutions: Struggles and strategies" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978529.