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Navigating the Labyrinth of Leadership: The Experience of Female Presidents in Arkansas Community Colleges

Amanda Doyle Herwatic, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


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.

Subject Area

Community college education|Womens studies|School administration

Recommended Citation

Herwatic, Amanda Doyle, "Navigating the Labyrinth of Leadership: The Experience of Female Presidents in Arkansas Community Colleges" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10113908.