Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Valerie J. Janesick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Black, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Shelley Stewart, Ph.D.


Perspective, Gender, Female Administrators, Multiple Roles


Women are persistent in their pursuits to obtain advanced degrees in higher education, as evidenced by the growing percentage (53% in 2009 according to NCES, 2010). Their purposes for degree attainment are multiple and varied, as are their experiences in higher education. This case study investigated the perspectives of five females managing the roles of woman, mother, educational administrator, and doctoral student. Previous research has paid little attention to women who manage three roles, let alone four. Feminist Standpoint Theory undergirds this study and allows a conversation about power relations within the broader social order, allows the asking of questions and locating of absences, and illuminates the voices of women.

The semi-structured interviews of the five participants addressed the roles and lived experiences of each, seeking to understand the components of their perspectives and the variables that influenced those perspectives. The interviews, along with a researcher reflective journal and field notes, yielded data for a cross-case analysis with the themes of support, gender equality, personal fulfillment, tenacity, and time. As a result of the cross-case synthesis, implications for women seeking to fulfill the multiple roles discussed in this study are explicated in four major themes. "It Takes A Village" encompasses the various kinds of support surrounding doctoral student mothers who are educational administrators. "Running the Marathon" explores personal fulfillment and tenacity as they relate to the women's doctoral endeavors. "Burning the Midnight Oil" refers to the efficient use of time and gender equality in their lives. Lastly, "The Quest for Quality" discusses participants' pursuits to use time effectively in their multiple roles. Implications for graduate programs and staff as well as for future researchers are described. This study is the first to examine this specific combination of roles for females: woman, mother, educational administrator, and doctoral student. It adds to the literature concerning women managing multiple roles and can serve as a starting point for discussion and further research of the experiences of this specific population.