Date of Award



© 2019 Lori Sussman

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Bryan Corbin

Second Advisor

Brandie Shatto

Third Advisor

Betty Robinson


This qualitative phenomenological study examined emergent barriers revealed by analyzing data from job advertisements, structured survey results, and interviews with past and present women presidents and chancellors of public and private not-for-profit higher education institutions about their selection journey for these jobs. The purpose of this research was to engage women who were past and present presidents or chancellors of public or private nonprofit colleges and universities to explore their experiences with gender-bias during the president/chancellor recruitment, selection, and transition enactment. The first question was to study how gender-bias appears during the recruitment of women candidates for a higher education institution president or chancellor role. The emergence of first theme which was that institutional differences may influence gender equity supported the finding that there may be implicit bias in the recruiting process. The second question for exploration looked at how does gender-bias visibly manifest during a higher education institution selection process for president or chancellor. The second theme that evolved from data analysis was that stakeholders’ implicit bias may disadvantage women supported findings that there may be institutional implicit bias in the selection process. The final question assessed how woman presidents or chancellors experience gender-bias during transition events that communicate their selection as the higher education institution president or chancellor. The data analysis led to the creation of a third theme found that launch actions are institutional as well as individual symbolism and organizational communications goals may introduce implicit bias into announcement activities such as press releases. The conceptual framework used the Four-Frame model developed from organizational theory and difference theory. These two theories provided a lens which guided the analysis and interpretation of data from the three data sources that allowed for enhanced validity through triangulation. The study’s findings demonstrate that some women presidents and chancellors have been successful navigating processes despite possible implicit bias forming institutional barriers. The insights from this study regarding barriers in the recruiting, selection, and enactment processes can contribute to future policies and programs.


Ed.D. Dissertation

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