Lived experiences of African American administrators at predominantly White institutions

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Allison N. Lee (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathy Hytten

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of African American administrators – particularly in relation to upward mobility, perception of value, and challenges faced – who are employed by predominantly White institutions. In this qualitative study, I interviewed ten administrators from eight different universities. Administrators first addressed how they chose their current institutions, the role that mentorship played in their lives and careers, and challenges that they faced as minority staff members at a PWI. Administrators then shared their perception of value at their respective universities, thoughts pertaining to upward mobility for African American administrators at PWIs, the role that race has played in their work environment, and coping mechanisms. My research study findings show that largely positive experiences of participants were heavily related to the opportunity for upward mobility, perceptions that they were valued, support through mentoring, and their ability to be authentic in their roles. They experienced surprisingly little overt racism, though they did experience tokenism. Black administrators speak highly of the mentoring, networking, and opportunities for advancement as indicators of success and ways to make their time in current positions easier. The results of my study led me to question the role that racism plays or no longer plays in the experiences of African American administrators, as well as the processes needed to put in place within the United States in order to ensure equitable employment for the aforementioned administrators. The experiences of African American administrators have implications for education and society. Implications from this research study will impact how universities hire, promote, and all around care for African American administrators. I concluded that if it is our desire to uplift and grow retention for the purposes of students and those who work within our institutions, universities must collectively work in order to ensure that the needs of minority staff members are met in order to guarantee a work environment where they are valued and a school environment where students are receiving the best that there is to offer.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
African American, Higher education, Lived experiences, PWIs
African American college administrators
Education, Higher $x Social aspects
Discrimination in higher education

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