ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Ericka Roland


Despite the expansion of literature on Black women college presidents, there is an oversaturation of the struggles Black women experience once in the role that is rooted within the role of racism and sexism. This study focuses on understanding how Black joy influences Black women's aspirations to pursue university or college presidencies at historically white institutions (HWIs). The legacy of Black joy in Black communities is one of healing, resistance, and restoration. Yet, little is understood about how Black joy impacts Black women's experience in higher education. Black women’s journeys to the presidency are a unique exploration of their present-day experiences. Thus, this study examined how the Black women co-portraitists connected with joy in a manner that either affirmed or altered their aspirations to become a president. There were six co-portraitists for this study with a total of 12 interviews, two interviews per co-portraitist. There were three findings from the study: 1) Black joy as spiritual guidance, 2) Black joy centers purpose, and 3) Black joy as self-preservation. The findings aligned with current literature regarding Black women’s exploration of emotions, spirituality, and need for self-care as higher education administrators. Ultimately, this study was designed for Black women to reflect on their journeys as administrators aspiring to the college presidency and how joy reaffirmed or redirected their aspirations.


Black women, College presidents, Aspiring, Administrators, Black joy, Joy, Spirit, Black women administrators


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington