Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership


Academic culture has been described as the social or normative glue that holds organizations together and guides and shapes behavior. The majority of the research that has been conducted on this subject relates to predominantly White institutions and their predominant White male faculties. The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth account of the workplace perceptions and experiences of seven tenure-track African American female faculty members at an historically Black college and university (HBCU).

This study was qualitative research in which subject data were obtained through a series of three consecutive interviews per study participant then coded and analyzed for themes. Institution-related data were collected through a review of institution and department policies and regulations, faculty statistics, and various other catalogs, guides, and handbooks. Subject interviews, institutional data, and previous data from earlier research on minorities and academic organizational culture were combined to produce the results of the study.

The findings of this study indicated that the bureaucratic culture of the study HBCU was seen as a significant professional barrier when it came to the participants fulfilling work-related expectations in an efficient and effective manner. Departments were characterized as fragmented and many faculty members were perceived to be indifferent to the needs of the students and the HBCU. Undesirable student attitudes and behaviors, additional service responsibilities, aspects of racism and sexism, and a tenure process that did not seem to support female advancement were the issues identified as major concerns of the female professors in this study. In spite of these problems, the senior female professors in this study chose to remain at the HBCU. The junior female professors in this study, however, did not foresee themselves submitting to such circumstances.

Despite these challenges, that are not unfamiliar to the African American female professor in the academy, all of the participants in this study affirmed their continued commitment to the promotion and advancement of African American female professionals in the academy—for the sake of their students and for the sake of the African American female professionals who will follow them.