Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher & Adult Education

Committee Chair

Edith Gnanadass

Committee Member

Colton Cockrum

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr

Committee Member

Susan Nordstrom


Black women have existed on the margins of higher education for many years. Our voices, perspectives, stories, struggles, and even our successes have been largely ignored by the dominant sociocultural group. Additionally, most of the literature on Black women in higher education either lumps us all together regardless of role or focuses on faculty or student affairs professionals. There is a lack of literature that focuses exclusively on the experiences of Black women professional staff in higher education. This study was an attempt to address this gap in the literature by describing the narratives of Black women professional staff in higher education and foregrounding their experiences of working as professional staff in higher education at a Historically White Institution (HWI) in the Mid-South region of the United States. The present study consisted of two research questions, and they were: 1. What are the narratives of Black women professional staff about their experiences in higher education? 2. How do Black women professional staff in higher education engage in acts of everyday resistance? This endarkened narrative drew on Black feminist theory and professional counterspaces to analyze the data gleaned from interviewing six Black women professional staff in higher education at a HWI in the Mid-South. The findings from the cocreators’ narratives bring to light the following: • Black women are a diverse and non-homogenous group despite the shared identity of Black and female. • Black women professional staff often endure racism and microaggressions in their workplace. • Black women professional staff are intentional about how they present themselves in these spaces. • Black women professional staff also employ their own methods to carry out acts of everyday resistance. It is recommended that institutions acknowledge the problem and implement more inclusive, actionable, and sustainable DEI policies/initiatives. Other recommendations include Black women professional staff should actively seek to build relationships with each other, and there needs to be a complete revamping of the organization for Black faculty and staff for it to be a more impactful organization.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access