Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shannon P. Cleverley-Thompson

Second Supervisor

James H. Evans, Jr.


The racial demographics of the United States are changing dramatically in recent years. Despite what may be perceived as a window of opportunity for greater diversity in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) in the United States, there is an assortment of challenges that impede progress toward heightened diversity with African American mid-level leaders in the CCCU. The CCCU is a higher education association of conservative Christian colleges and universities in the United States whose pedagogical mission is Christ-centered and rooted in the historic value of Christian faith. Historically, African American administrators in Christian higher education have consistently encountered hindrances to employment and ultimate promotion to seniorlevel positions at the dominantly White institutions (DWIs). In the CCCU, African American mid-level leaders continue to remain underrepresented at the administrative level. To posit that if true diversity leadership is to exist within the administrative levels at conservative Christian colleges and universities, a phenomenological hermeneutical method examining the lived experience of African American leaders at member institutions of the CCCU is imperative. Findings highlighted four potential sources of barriers for African American mid-level leaders within the CCCU: (a) the lack of meritocracy, (b) the burden of building political safety, (c) rules keep changing and, (d) the lack of a peer supportive community as obstacles facing mid-level African American leaders in the CCCU. Lastly, the conceptualization and inclusion of African American experiences must not only inform stakeholders but also frame the recruitment, retention, and assessment efforts of the African American experiences and representation at the Christian college level.

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