Race, Gender And Mentoring: Examining The Success Of African American Female presidents At Historically Black Colleges And Universities

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Race, Gender and Mentoring: Examining the Success of African American Female

Presidents at Historically Black Colleges and Universities




Statement of Problem2

Purpose of Study3

Research Questions4

Definition of Key Terms5


African American Women and Education8

History of the Education of African Americans9

African American Teachers and Teaching12

Responsive, Democratic, and Liberating Teaching14

Mentoring and Women of Color19

Theories of Race and Gender21


Research Method25

Research Design26


Data Collection and Analysis27



Veronica M. Clark_ 1/10/12 9:24 PM


Since 1986, the percentage of women college presidents has increased from 9.5 percent to 23 percent (American Council on Education, 2007). Yet women are still underrepresented as college presidents in proportion to the number of positions they held a faculty members and senior administrative staff where 43 percent of them are women (Bates, 2007, 373). This proportion shows that women held lesser authority at American colleges in terms of the positions they held at higher level. African American women have demonstrated gains; as a proportion of all women presidents between 1986 and 2006, their numbers rose from 3.9 percent to 8.1 percent at the American colleges (Anyaso, 2008, 23).

There have been advances in the number of female minority faculty and administrators, even though “mentoring, as a tool to enhance job satisfaction and advancement is lacking for these women” (Crawford and Smith, 2005, p. 53). As such, the problem is a lack of mentoring for African American women seeking the presidency at institutions of higher education (Chusmir, 1992). One possible explanation for the lack of mentoring among African American females is they lack networking with other non African American and African American females who are qualified to serve in a mentoring capacity (Perry, Roff & Simon, 2008)

Of all college presidents of American colleges who identified themselves as African American, their numbers rose during the same period from 7.4 percent to 32 percent. Together, men and women who identified themselves as non-White now occupy a college presidency at more than 20 percent of public institutions of higher learning. Yet the typical college president in the survey was a “married, white male who had earned a doctorate and had served as a president at his institution for an average of nine years” (Bas, 2003, 123). The origin of the incremental increase in the number of presidents at institutions of higher education that are female is unclear. The rise in female college presidents could be attributed to affirmative action, the number of women with graduate degrees in education, or an increase in professional development and mentoring (Cook, 2010). The answer may lie, in part, in the opportunities for leadership development and networking through mentoring relationships (Astin, 1991, 98).

For African-American women, mentoring frequently serves as the sole means of developing a positive self-image. In studies comparing the mentoring experiences of African-American female education administrators working in higher education with White colleagues, female African American subjects reported choosing their careers as a result of contact with positive role models while white females credited their career opportunities to their completion of teaching and research assistantships while in ...
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