Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Rob Freeborough


African Americans, leadership, mentor, barrier, advancement, mentor


Business | Leadership Studies


This qualitative case study explored the underrepresentation and disproportionate advancement of African American leaders in higher education. The general problem addressed is the minimal advancement, and the disproportionate representation of African Americans compared to their White counterparts in leadership positions at higher education institutions, resulting in a lack of diversity among individuals in a leadership capacity. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to add to existing bodies of research that address the underrepresentation and low advancement of African Americans in leadership positions in higher education. The research questions explored why African Americans leaders are disproportionately represented in leadership positions at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) and outlined strategies to address the disproportionate representation of African American leaders at PWIs. Nineteen interviews were conducted using purposeful sampling allowing five superordinate themes to emerge from the data analysis. In culmination with the themes and the current academic literature, suggestions for advancement were developed to assure that higher education and other organizations alike understand the importance of African American leaders throughout the organization.