DOPE voices : understanding the experiences of Black womxn mid-level student affairs administrators navigating power

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carla Cadet Fullwood (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Silvia Bettez

Abstract: Black womxn mid-level administrators in student affairs are DOPE! However, limited research examines our lived experience and voice at the intersection of race, gender, and organizational status. This qualitative research study uses Sista Circle Methodology to investigate the challenges of this population at Historically White Institutions. Additionally, I examine the concept of "voice" relative to how they navigate these challenges. Womanist theory situated my DOPE research perspective – Deliberative, Own It!, Powerful, and Ethic of Care. This study addressed three goals: (a) to bring Black womxn mid-level administrators in student affairs together to explore the ways they used their voice in their roles; (b) to provide research from the perspectives and lived experiences of this group in higher education who face unique challenges due to their mid-level roles and responsibilities; and (c) to create dialogic space where Black womxn can learn from each other. Twenty-five Black womxn mid-level administrators across various student affairs functional areas participated in five sista circles (or DOPE dialogues). These dialogues included semi-structured interview questions and media elicitation activities. Participants' narratives were analyzed using a Listening Guide tool. The findings suggest that participants' experiences were hallmarked by non-physical violence, contradiction, and complex interpersonal relationships with supervisors and colleagues. The findings also highlight participants' multidimensional understanding of voice and how they applied various approaches to voice that I aligned with my DOPE research perspective. I conclude with implications for research and practice to amplify the voices of Black womxn mid-level administrators in student affairs. Keywords: Black Womxn, Mid-level, Student Affairs, Voice, Sista Circles

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
Black Womxn, Mid-level, Student Affairs, Voice, Sista Circles
African American student affairs administrators
African American women in higher education
Racism in higher education
Sexism in higher education

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