School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Lisa S. Sosin


African American Female Professors, Counselor Education and Supervision, Internal/external Barriers, Black Ceiling


Counseling | Counselor Education


This qualitative phenomenological study highlighted the lived experiences of six African American female professors in the counseling education and supervision professorate. The professors were faculty within universities across the United States in the mid-Atlantic, southern, and midwestern regions. This study obtained data from semi-structured interviews as well as photovoice submissions from the interview participants in order to identify experiences which facilitated their persistence in the professorate and overcoming internal and external barriers. The research problem was the underrepresentation of African American females within the counseling education and supervision professorate, which further facilitates minority students’ attrition and underrepresentation. A thematic analysis of the source data revealed five themes and three subthemes. The themes were mentors facilitated persistence, belief in concepts of calling and gifts, encouragers and positive family support, external barriers (referred to as the Black ceiling), and persistence. The subthemes were encountered racial discrimination, feelings of loneliness and invisibility, and realities of intersectionality and minority status. The study revealed that in the face of adverse external barriers, persistence in the counseling education and supervision professorate was facilitated by the positive influence of mentors, callings, and encouragers despite discrimination, loneliness and invisibility, and intersectionality and minority status.