The brown glass ceiling? A qualitative study of Hispanic women/Latinas leaders in higher education
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The percentage of Hispanics in the state of Missouri, and its universities, continues to grow. However, few Hispanic women/Latinas advance into leadership positions; instead, many are constrained by an invisible glass ceiling. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological research study was to examine Hispanic women/Latinas' experiences and perceptions about their journey to leadership in higher education, the barriers they encountered, and their access to and acquisition of resources needed for their success. The overarching research question was: How do Latinas in higher education make meaning of their journeys and quests to reach leadership positions? Data collection included semi-structured, open-ended interviews, field notes, biographical questionnaires, and a researcher's reflective journal. Data analysis followed a comparative approach influenced by grounded theory, to illuminate the similarities and differences among women's pathways. In addition, as an "organic intellectual" -- a "thinker who emerges from an oppressed group and reflects its concerns and interest" (Collins, 1998, p. 279) -- the researcher employed standpoint theory as a means to include her own story. The findings of this study described the barriers, resources, and the journey to leadership of twenty-four participants, plus the researcher's own experiences. The barriers revealed by participants center on two central themes. Specifically those related to identity (interactions between racial/ethnic self-identification, social perceptions, and gender) and systemic themes (regarding institutional level efforts and lack of recruitment, retention, and promotion processes). Resources were found to have included personal (family and spirituality) and structural (mentoring and scholarships) supports. While one purpose of this study was to disseminate information that will empower Latina educators, this inquiry also informs legislators, educational officials, and higher educational administrators of the institutional support needed to recruit, retain, and promote Hispanic women in their organizations.
At author's request, access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.