Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Catherine Robert


Over the years there has been an increase in the turnover of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) presidents. As the turnover rates at HBCUs continues to increase, many higher education researchers have noted that HBCUs are currently being plagued by a leadership crisis (Evans et al., 2002; Freeman & Palmer, 2020; Kimbrough, 2017). Despite heavy criticism by media and academic researchers, very few recommendations have been made in regard to combating the “leadership crisis” at HBCUs. Of the studies conducted, researchers have recommended that one way to counter the rapid turnover of HBCU presidents is by engaging in some form of mentoring relationship. While previous studies have examined the role mentoring plays in the success of aspiring HBCU presidents, there is currently a gap in literature regarding the positive effects mentoring has in the successful tenure of HBCU presidents. Thus, this phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of six current and former HBCU presidents and their perceptions of mentoring in their success. This study used Kram’s (1983) Phases of Mentor Relationships theory and DeRue, Spreitzer, Flannagan, and Allen's (2013) Mindful Engagement conceptual framework to guide this study. There were six significant findings that were discovered through this study: 1) the art of mentoring development, 2) life never goes as planned, 3) advancing HBCUs, 4) I didn’t get here alone, 5) tools for success, and 6) passing the baton. The findings from the study support previous literature by researchers regarding the significant role mentoring plays in the success of HBCU presidents. Overall, study participants credited mentoring relationships in addition to certain professional skills and characteristics to their success as HBCU presidents.


HBCU, Mentoring


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington