This qualitative collective case study, bound in feminism, culture, and leadership examined the lived experiences of 17 first female presidents in higher education to articulate and understand their stories and the fabric of their lives. Participants were asked to describe their lives as their organization’s CEO, their career paths, their family influences, mentors, and barriers they have encountered during their careers. Findings from this study indicate that a majority of the study’s participants fortuitously became presidents. While they pursued academic leadership careers, their presidencies were unintentional. All participants revealed strong family influences and mentors who encouraged them throughout their careers. Additionally, all referenced networking as an important activity for career progression. The study’s participants are transformational leaders who have positively changed their organization’s culture by participatory but direct leadership. All believe that communication is a key element of leadership and many revealed their successful communication strategies. These 17 women acknowledged that their jobs are not 40 hours a week and come with great public scrutiny. Still they have found a way to balance their public and private lives. These women have broken the glass ceiling, rising to CEOs of their organizations. They possess determination, perseverance, and a strong moral backbone. All want to be remembered as individuals who produced quality programs at their institutions.
About ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
With nearly 4 million records, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) Global database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. It is the database of record for graduate research.
PQDT Global combines content from a range of the world's premier universities - from the Ivy League to the Russell Group. Of the nearly 4 million graduate works included in the database, ProQuest offers more than 2.5 million in full text formats. Of those, over 1.7 million are available in PDF format. More than 90,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.