A Mentors Role in the Advancement of Black Women in and to Senior Administrator Positions
Sobers, S. T. (2014). A Mentors Role in the Advancement of Black Women in and to Senior Administrator Positions. In Dominguez, N. & Gandert, Y. (Eds.). 6th Annual Mentoring Conference Proceedings: Impact & Effectiveness of Developmental Relationships. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico
8 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2015
Date Written: October 24, 2014
In the corporate world, women hold less than 5% of key executive leadership positions. The disparity is also prevalent within higher education. One of the strategies for reducing the barriers to career advancement for women and specifically women of color is mentoring. Using resilience theory as a theoretical framework, this year-long qualitative study explored the experiences of four Black senior student affairs officers at small (enrollment under 5,000), private, predominantly White institutions in the United States. The findings revealed the impact of mentors on the career trajectory of Black women professionals through acknowledgment and validation of potential or transferable skills and provision of opportunities for networking. Study participants indicated that the informal tap on the shoulder by mentors was a catalyst that led them to consider leadership positions they might not have otherwise pursued. A key finding from the study is that the dominant model of mentoring (where a person intentionally seeks a mentor for guidance) actually reinforced hegemonic practices. The new model that emerged was for potential mentors, supervisors, or colleagues to make the initial connection to women and women of color not because they lack skills or from a presumption of needing help but because the campus climate may not support them if they ask for support.
Keywords: Adult Education, Sexuality, Gender and Sexuality, and Gender
JEL Classification: M5, O51, J00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation