Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Joan Birringer-Haig


Despite the increase of African American women on college campuses, African American women leaders in higher education administration in the United States are significantly underrepresented and under-retained. This lack of representation has lasting effects on leadership pipelines and how African American women leaders are perceived and valued in the workplace. A contributing factor to this disparity is job satisfaction experienced by African American women leaders in academia. Using Black Feminist Thought and Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Higher Education as theoretical frameworks, this critical narrative study described the experiences of eight African American women in higher education leadership to help us understand how individual experiences in the workplace shape job satisfaction at a doctoral-granting, predominantly White public institution in the northeast United States. Through a series of semi-structured interviews, the study investigated the individual experiences of the participants in their professional positions and the factors that characterized their job satisfaction. The study drew from concepts taken from research on job satisfaction in higher education and the structural and systemic issues affecting African American women leaders who work at postsecondary institutions. The thematic analysis of the data presented participant perceptions about institutional support, agency, and persistence through a CRT lens. By placing African American women leaders in higher education at the center, the study revealed insights into how institutions can further support members of this underrepresented group.