A phenomenological exploration of the career progression of Black women VPSAs at predominantly White institutions

Date

2021-12

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Abstract

Student affairs professionals aim to provide an environment where students can supplement the classroom curriculum with campus life experiences and resources. Most research institutions employ the Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSAs) to oversee the student support services offered by their institution. However, the number of Black women serving in this role at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) is not proportionate to the number of Black women represented in higher education. Literature addressing career obstacles for Black women in higher education is insufficient. The purpose of this study is to add to the literature available about Black women in higher education by answering the following research questions: (a) What are the perspectives of Black women VPSAs at PWIs on how race has influenced their career progression (b) What are the perspectives of Black women VPSAs at PWIs on how gender has influenced their career progression? (c) What are the perspectives of Black women VPSAs at PWIs on how the intersection of race and gender has influenced their career progression? Critical race theory (CRT) and Black feminist thought (BFT) are both used to guide this qualitative study. CRT examines how systems have been impacted by race, while BFT focuses on Black women's oppression through intersectionality. Both CRT and BFT are used to frame the discovery of how Black women VPSAs have moved throughout White patriarchal spaces in higher education. The use of in-depth interviews provides data, which was collected and coded for the detection of themes. The methodology process is transparent and includes member checking to ensure the trustworthiness of the study.

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Keywords

Black Women, Student Affairs, Higher Education, Intersectionality

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