Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Alice Eichholz


African American women leaders positively influence the college experiences of students at predominately White institutions (PWI), but the retention of those women leaders remains an issue. At the time of this study, limited research informed race and gender issues that intersect the career advancement of African American women serving in midlevel leadership positions at PWIs. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the intercultural and career advancement experiences of these women. Critical race theory, critical race feminist theory, and intercultural communications theory were used as a framework to understand the participants' intercultural and career advancement experiences, perceived influences, and mentorship experiences. A snowball sampling approach with members of a national African American women's organization in higher education led to 9 participants who met the criteria. They were each interviewed twice to generate data to understand their experiences. Results from an inductive exploratory process of data analysis indicated that race and gender influenced their perception of career advancement potential and relationship building in the PWI workplace. Themes that emerged from their experiences were limited advancement opportunities, the effects of intersectionality, intercultural relationship challenges, and the benefits of locating and having a mentor. Support and guidance were paramount to their job satisfaction and retention. This study contributes to social change by providing insight to personnel at PWIs about the experiences of African American women leaders on those campuses and the needed improvement in the environment for retaining current and future women of color.