The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type




Degree Name

Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Brittany M. Williams

Second Advisor

Dr. Rachel E. Friedensen

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Black Women, Student Affairs, Identity-Conscious Supervision


The purpose of my study is to understand Black women entry-level student affairs professionals’ experiences with their supervisors through an identity-conscious framework. I used Critical Authentic Leadership (Brown et al., 2019) and Black Feminist Thought (Collins, 2000), as the framework of my study to highlight the impact of identity on supervisory relationships. To provide a consistent analysis I interviewed Black women who work at predominately white institutions (PWIs).

PWIs can be a challenging environment for Black women to thrive in given their historical background. Today Black women can still expect to experience gendered racism and discrimination at PWIs, (Gardner et al., 2014; marbley et al., 2015; Williams et al., 2020; Winkle-Wagner et al., 2019). They also have the additional challenge of navigating PWIs as places of work where professionalism is defined by white supremacist ideals (Davis, 2016; Gray, 2019). This white washing of professional spaces can make identities, emotions, and personal values secondary or non-existent in comparison to the daily work associated with their positions.

To focus more attention on the people who make up professional positions, I considered the identities of both supervisors and supervisees. Identity is essential given the dynamics of power and privilege that exist with supervisory relationships. Ultimately, a supervisor holds more power and positional authority than a supervisee. Relationships with supervisors can also impact how new professionals feel about their personal and professional experiences at their current institutions.


I would like to acknowledge the support and dedication from each of my committee members.

Dr. Brittany M. Williams served as my committee chair, academic advisor, and professor for several courses at St Cloud State University. Dr. Williams taught me how to think deeply and made me a better writer, researcher, and scholar. She also invited me to write and research with her and I obtained my first publications because of her care as an educator.

Dr. Rachel E. Friedensen served as my committee co-chair, academic advisor, and professor for several courses at St Cloud State University. Dr. Friedensen was a caring professor who enjoys connecting and dialoguing with students. As a professor I could always expect a lot of challenging work from Dr. Friedensen, but I left her classes as a better student.

Dr. Judith Siminoe served as a committee member and my supervisor while employed as a Graduate Assistant in the office of the president at St Cloud State University. As a supervisor Dr. Siminoe trusted me and praised my work. Her trust and praise helped me become confident and proud of my capabilities. Under Dr. Siminoe’s leadership I was never afraid to use my voice to share my ideas. She will never know just how important it was for me to have this example of supervision and leadership.

Dr. Renee Dickens Callan served as a committee member and mentor. Dr. Dickens-Callan was one of the first people to encourage me to pursue a doctorate degree. She has always been a positive example for other Black women and student affairs professionals. I am blessed to know someone like Dr. Dickens Callan who leads with grace, care, and integrity.

Dr. Tiffany J. Davis served as a committee member. I appreciate Dr. Davis for her scholarly contributions regarding the experiences of Black women and supervision. Dr. Davis’ work provided me with the foundational knowledge I needed to complete my dissertation. I am honored to have a scholar like Dr. Davis on my committee.



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