Educational Administration, Department of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Administration (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Brent Cejda. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Amanda Doyle Herwatic


The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experiences of female presidents in Arkansas community colleges. This was accomplished by collecting data through one-on-one interviews to examine how these women have navigated the labyrinth of leadership to reach the presidency of a community college. Using the conceptual framework of the labyrinth, as purported by Eagly and Carli (2007), this study focused on these lived experiences of these women and examined the life choices made, career paths, educational background, and obstacles these women have faced in navigating the labyrinth of leadership to reach the presidency. Through an inductive and deductive analysis of the data collected, the researcher was able to determine that the labyrinth concept is overwhelmingly applicable to the female community college president experience. The balance of family and employment was central to the journey of these women. Reoccurring instances of building social capital and blending agency with communion were also present in the journeys of these women. However, despite a close adherence to the labyrinth, the women in this study did not overwhelmingly face prejudices and resistance, a central idea of the labyrinth concept.

Adviser: Brent Cejda