Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shannon Cleverley-Thompson

Second Supervisor

James Hurny


The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of and give voice to women presidents facilitating transformational change in higher education institutions. Feminist theory was the foundation and underpinning lens to view women presidents’ experiences. A phenomenological, qualitative study was conducted utilizing semi-structured interviews as the primary source of data collection to capture the experiences and perceptions of women presidents. A demographic survey, field notes, and document analysis were also used to triangulate the data. There were three themes that emerged from the data analysis: (a) leadership is not one dimensional, (b) cultivate a culture for transformational change, and (c) lead intentionally through gendered-based challenges. Results of this study provide women presidents and executive leaders with resources to assist with leading transformational change as well as career advancement. This study found that women presidents incorporated a multidimensional leadership role when leading transformational change in their colleges and universities. Learning about the leadership behaviors that support the success of transformational change and the unique challenges women presidents face will benefit both current female presidents and women who aspire to be future presidents or executive leaders in higher education.

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