Date of Award



© 2019 Iyhia McMichael

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Marylin Newell

Second Advisor

Jennifer Galipeau

Third Advisor

Nathan R. Templeton


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to provide a better understanding of the experiences of single Black mothers in higher educational leadership roles. Utilizing the Strong Black Woman framework, the mothers exposed the three major themes: unyielding strength, assumption of multiple roles, and self-sacrifice and five additional sub-themes emerged flexibility, mentorship, support systems, emotional stability, and barriers. This study provides insight into the lived experiences of single Black mothers in higher educational leadership. One-on-one interviews were held with participants to examine their lived experiences to answer the primary question: What is the lived experience of single Black mothers who hold leadership roles in higher education? Issues relative to women, mothers, and single mothers in leadership positions have been studied and provide some insight into their experience. A desire for higher educational leadership positions persists for single Black mothers as the sole providers of the home. Based on the literature documenting an increase in single-parent homes as well as an increase in single Black mothers who want or need to enter the workforce, this study provides greater understanding about the lived experiences of these women in leadership roles in higher education.


Ed.D. Dissertation