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. Jennifer Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Emeka Ikegwuonu

Third Advisor

Dr. Rachel Friedensen

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Rand Park

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

Gender Identification, Leadership Traits, Leadership, Two-Year


This quantitative cross-sectional study examines the way in which leaders of two-year, public institutions perceive their gender identification influences the way they are able to demonstrate leadership traits. The study is founded in social identity theory, first introduced in 1979 by Tajfel, which helps to evaluate whether members of a group (leaders) assimilate to specific traits in order to be accepted and valued by their peers. The findings show that overall leaders identifying as women and those identifying as men perceived no difference in how their gender identification impacts their ability to display specific leadership traits to supervisors, peers, or subordinates. The study did find that there is a perceived difference in gender identification influencing how the respondents lead.

Keywords: Gender Identification, Leadership, Two-Year, Higher Education, Leadership Traits


I would like to thank everyone who has supported my 20-year journey to the attainment of my doctoral degree. My first mentor in higher education, the late Dr. Rebecca Moening who hired me as an adjunct professor in 2000 and convinced me to continue my educational pursuits. Her advice has guided me through many challenges and has helped me welcome opportunities. I hope I articulated to her how influential she was in my life both personally and professionally. It was an honor to know and to work with her, and she will forever live on in the work that I continue to do each day.

Thank you to my co-chairs, Dr. Jennifer Jones, and Dr. Emeka Ikegwuonu. Without your help (in so many ways) and mentoring, I would not have been as successful in my pursuits, and I will forever be grateful for your guidance. It has been an honor and privilege to get to know and to work with you both. Thank you to the members of my committee, Dr. Rachel Friedensen, Dr. Rand Park, and Dr. Promeet Singh. Your wisdom and support have been second to none and has significantly helped to shape this study.

I cannot begin to thank my personal support system. Thanks to my parents for giving me the courage to pursue things I never thought I was capable of doing and for believing I could do it and more. To our girls who have watched me do homework for most of their lives, who listen to me complain and cry, but who are all (five) cheering loudest of all when those goals are met. I love each of you more than you know. Thank you to our extended family and our chosen family. You have stood by my side through it all, and I cannot thank you enough.

Finally, thank you to my partner in life, Kevin Rush, who let me cry and scream, but gently pushed when needed. You have been my rock through this process as a support, an editor, a reader, and a confidant. Thank you for listening to my rants about gendered leadership for years while nodding and asking questions at just the right points in my story. You continue to amaze me with your unending support of everything that I do. There is nobody I would rather be on this journey in life and I cannot wait to see what comes next.



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