The Underrepresentation of African American Males in Senior Leadership Positions at Predominantly White Institutions: Qualitative Phenomenology Study of Ohio’s Community Colleges

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Crissie Jameson

Committee Member

Donis Toler

Committee Member

Shantelle Jenkins


There is still a scarcity of African American male professionals ascending to senior executive leadership within predominantly White institutions (PWIs) of higher education. Some may believe that obtaining qualified Black males for those positions is a pipeline issue. However, what if they are already African American males waiting and ready for the call-up? Higher education has become diverse for the student populations, staff, faculty, and mid-level administrators, but no difference exists within senior executive leadership in PWIs. This research study examined Black males' experiences, perceptions, and pathways when pursuing or thinking about senior executive leadership at predominantly white institutions (PWIs) community colleges. The targeted population is African American males of mid-level faculty, staff, and administrators who are subordinates to senior executive leadership at the community colleges. Participants of this research come from Ohio's community colleges. Therefore, the study aimed to avoid extrapolating results to populations outside the particular geographical area. The researcher investigated the lived experience, beliefs, barriers, or challenges African American males may face as mid-level leaders in community colleges. The results of this study contribute to the body of research on African American males in leadership by providing tools and pathways to executive leadership positions in community colleges in Ohio. However, the insight obtained can help inform the creation of mentorship and leadership development programs for senior executive roles for mid-level African American male professionals in Ohio's community colleges.