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Examining the Career Trajectory of Women in Higher Education Through Personal Relationships

Mary Cowan, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This research explored the key relationships of women in higher education in terms of vital indicators for success. The purpose of this study was to explore how the personal relationships of women who have succeeded in gaining a position as a college president have impacted their career paths. The study pursued to explore how personal relationships of women in higher education helped or hindered career trajectory in their path to the presidential level. Literature on this topic is emerging. As a shift in leadership occurs from a gender perspective, women who are seeking leadership positions must consider the impact of their personal relationships on career trajectory.Methods consistent with qualitative data were used to build a narrative from interviews, observations, and document review. Gender perspective served as a theoretical framework in studying the awareness of individual and group psychology.Analysis of the data included both open and axial coding. Through these methods of coding, three central themes emerged: shared briefcase, setting conscious boundaries, being confident in those decisions, the third emerging theme: surrender the balance, using physical activity to center themselves when balance was not an option.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Cowan, Mary, "Examining the Career Trajectory of Women in Higher Education Through Personal Relationships" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI27666447.