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Making Sense of Inclusive Leadership in Public Higher Education: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Herbert L. Thompson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study’s purpose was to generate a context-specific analysis and description of the inclusion process at a Midwestern university, and how leaders make sense of said process. The participants in this study are members of an inclusion training program; these participants represent the perspective of stakeholders as well as designated leadership for organizational inclusion. This study utilized Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Data generation occurred through a series of semi-structured interviews. Analysis of data provided a detailed description of the sense making of inclusive leadership is provided to explain how educators experience the phenomenon contextually. Five superordinate themes emerged from this study, (a) inclusion is a journey of growth for educators, (b) complications in the ideals of inclusion, (c) open-mindedness is essential to the practice of inclusive leadership, (d) experiences of exclusion largely frame inclusion and its importance, and (e) higher education is positioned to help in the effort of inclusion. A discussion of these findings is provided along with implications and recommendations.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Higher education|Education|Multicultural Education

Recommended Citation

Thompson, Herbert L., "Making Sense of Inclusive Leadership in Public Higher Education: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28713226.