Moving Up: A Phenomenological Study of the Career Experiences of Senior Women Leaders in North Carolina Community Colleges

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jewel Elizabeth Boozer Cherry (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Precious Mudiwa

Abstract: Expected vacancies created by impending mass retirements, community colleges may hold great opportunities for women who aspire to senior leadership. Women, given their preferences for the community college setting as well as their strong representation among students, faculty, and staff, are poised to fill the leadership void. Using narrative methodology, this qualitative study explored the lived experiences of women in pipeline positions at North Carolina community colleges. The seven participants in the study successfully navigated the advancement process, and determining how and why they were successful was a focus in data analysis.Major themes that emerged from data analysis were: formative experiences, perceived barriers, success strategies, and gender influences. Findings indicated that there are significant early personal, professional, and institutional experiences that impact the career upward mobility of women. Findings also illustrated that women face unique and specific barriers in both their personal and professional lives as they seek advancement. Nevertheless, they have developed multiple strategies and skills to help them be successful women senior leaders. These findings, may have implications for leadership development programs, the agencies that administer them, support networks, and community colleges, particularly in the manner in which the challenges of multiple role expectations are addressed.

Additional Information

Cherry, J.E.B. (2015)Moving Up: A Phenomenological Study of the Career Experiences of Senior Women Leaders in North Carolina Community Colleges. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Women senior leaders in higher education, Leadership and gender, Community college leadership crisis, Representative bureaucracy, Barriers for women in leadership, Strategies to overcome barriers ,

Email this document to