Date of Award



© 2019 Kathleen G. Shultz

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

William Boozang

Second Advisor

Jennifer Galipeau

Third Advisor

Margaret E. Bowman


In an era of women running fortune 500 companies and holding some of the highest political offices, there is no denying that progress has been made in addressing gender diversity in leadership. In the 21st Century there is still a considerable gap in the representation of females in high level leadership positions across all major industries, illustrating that there is still considerable work still left to be done. Higher education is entering a time when a significant number of presidents will be retiring, offering an unprecedented number of vacancies in these and other executive level leadership positions. Understanding these circumstances, this phenomenological qualitative study was developed to look at the role that leadership development programming has on the career pathways of females in higher education, preparing them to compete for these types of openings in the future. This study looks at an internal leadership development program at a community college to understand the lived experiences of the females who participated. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and related artifacts identified by the participants. The research found that participation in the program was a positive experience and it impacted the alumnae professionally and/or personally. The program had the most bearing on the alumnae self-esteem and self-actualization, causing them to see themselves more clearly as leaders. Further, the study identified that the relationships created and interactions experienced during the program significantly influenced the participants and proved to be a considerable benefit. Ultimately, the research showed this program is a strategy that greatly supported the development of female leaders in higher education.


Ed.D. Dissertation