This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

When Being Black Isn’t Enough: Experiences and Persistence Strategies of Six African American Administrators at a PWI




Wolfe, Brandon

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This phenomenological study explored the experiences and persistence strategies of African American administrators at Broussard University, a pseudonym given to a predominantly White university located in the southeastern portion of United States. Through the use of phenomenological methods a purposeful sample of six full time African American administrators from various units across Broussard University’s campus were selected and interviewed extensively. The study revealed invariant themes that emerged from analysis of interview transcripts to explain the phenomenon of minority experiences and persistence in a predominantly White institution. More specifically, the study addresses the strategies used by African American administrators to persist in their leadership capacity as members of an underrepresented group. By exploring the particular experiences of African American administrators, this study also sought to develop and test a theoretical model for minority persistence strategies within majority homogenous institutional structures. The conceptual framework that guided this inquiry focused on variables that influence the persistence strategies used by minority leaders. Specifically the study explores the experiences of African American administrators working at a predominantly White institution as suggested from a review of literature. Those variables were identified from within four areas in the education literature: (a) social dominance theory, (b) organizational socialization, (c) the role of critical race theory and whiteness as property, and (d) the role of race, culture, identity, and gender on career dynamics.