The Lived Experiences of Female University Presidents in Texas: Stories from a Feminist Standpoint
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The purpose of this qualitative research study was to illustrate the ways in which female university presidents navigate the male-dominated world of higher education. The pathways female university presidents followed in order to reach the upper tiers of higher education administration were explored through interviews with presidents of 4-year institutions in Texas. The primary question guiding this research was: What are the lived experiences of female university presidents in Texas? Themes that emerged from the data include: the importance of mentoring to females in higher education administration, tenacity in achieving the post of president, spirituality, the balance of career and family, the unintentional nature at which the participants arrived at their presidential post, and the fact that gender continues to play a role in the whether and how females rise to the presidency. This study informs the field of higher education by shedding light on the conditions females negotiate on their way to a university presidency including finding a work life balance and gender and its role at both the institutional and societal levels. The research addresses a topic that has historically had very little focus in the field of higher education administration in the United States and an even smaller focus in Texas.