Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


James O. Hammons

Committee Member

Daniel B. Kissinger

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvil


Education, Social sciences, Baptist, Leadership, Southern Baptist, Women, Women administrators


The purpose of this interview study was to explore the career pathways, barriers, and keys to success experienced by women senior administrators in Southern Baptist colleges and universities. The researcher conducted an interview study with both open-ended and closed survey questions. The interviews primarily involved open-ended questions without response options and were conducted via the telephone. The researcher targeted the population of 42 women senior-level administrators. From this population, 20 women participated in the study. The researcher interviewed the 20 participants and collected a vita for 16 of the 20 women in the sample. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Member check and triangulation were used to address validity concerns. The researcher formed seven conclusions: (a) Women are underrepresented in senior leadership in SBCUs when compared to institutions nationwide. (b) The personal demographics of women senior administrators in SBCUs differ slightly from the national profile of women senior administrators. (c) Women senior administrators in SBCUs are likely to be promoted from within and to be "known" candidates to the institution. (d) Women senior administrators in SBCUs do not follow the traditional career pathway through the academic ranks. (e) Women senior administrators in SBCUs face all of the barriers that are found in the literature related to women in leadership, with some additional barriers that are specific to SBCUs. (f) Although there are many factors that contribute to the success of women leaders in SBCUs, presidents play a key role in creating institutional cultures that welcome women in leadership roles. (g) Women leaders in SBCUs are better positioned to become presidents now than at any other time; however, this breakthrough may not occur soon.