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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

Venus Evans-Winters


The purpose of this narrative inquiry is to explore how mentoring helps us to understand the educational experiences of African American women enrolled in doctoral programs at predominately White institutions (PWIs) in the continental United States. The educational experiences of African American women in this country are unique (Gildersleeve, Croom, & Vasquez, 2011; Holloway, 2016; Patton, 2009). African American women have used their educational pursuits to fight for social justice, equity and the survival of the race since being permitted access to higher education (Perkins, 2009). Furthermore, Black women entering doctoral programs at PWIs often met with challenges that span across multiplicative forms of oppression that intersect across race, class, and gender (Crenshaw, 1994; Harris & González, 2012; Holley & Caldwell, 2012). This study seeks to explore how mentoring, through the conceptual framework of Black feminist thought, helps us understand Black women’s experiences in academe while in pursuit of their doctorate. Twenty Black women in doctoral programs at PWIs across the United States were interviewed about their experiences in their doctoral programs and their experiences with their mentors. It is clear from their narratives that mentoring relationships helped alleviate some of the challenges they encountered. Findings regarding Black women’s experiences in their doctoral programs and mentoring relationships highlight the importance for higher education to recruit more faculty of color, provide culturally responsive training to faculty to work for and on behalf of Black women doctoral students and create institutionalized mentoring programs.


Imported from ProQuest Wingfield_ilstu_0092E_11311.pdf


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