Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Maureen Neuman


Black women face greater challenges than their white female, Black male, and white male colleagues within predominantly white institutions of higher education (PWIs) because institutional and systemic oppression encourages ideologies that promote white supremacy culture. As such, Black women remain severely underrepresented in positions of leadership in PWIs. This narrative inquiry reports the stories of five Black women’s experiences as leaders in PWIs in the northeast region of the United States and sheds light on the factors that impact their empowerment and sustainability.

Black women leaders navigate a number of issues in PWIs. The burden of taking on additional work unrelated to their job functions, issues around accessing proper care and support, and adverse treatment of Black women were themes that surfaced while uncovering the stories of the study participants. These themes were present throughout the study though exacerbated by both mass racial violence towards Black people and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global health pandemic that disproportionately harmed Black people. The overlapping of these greater societal circumstances created a public health crisis for Black people that carried over into work compounding the issues the study participants faced creating a Triple Burden. Collectively, the tapestry of their stories demonstrated the very real threat to the empowerment and sustainability of Black women leaders in PWIs.



Number of Pages

134 p.