Date Approved


Degree Type

Campus Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ronald Williamson, EdD, Co-Chair

Committee Member

Carmen McCallum, PhD, Co-Chair

Committee Member

David Anderson, EdD

Committee Member

Devika Dibya Choudhuri. PhD


This qualitative, narrative study explored how race and gender influence the leadership experiences of female Asian American senior administrators in higher education. The low representation of Asian American women in senior administrative roles has persisted despite their substantial gains in college enrollment and advanced degree attainment. Little research exists on the racial and gender leadership disparity of Asian American women in higher education. Asian critical theory served as a framework for data collection, analysis and interpretation to uncover the systemic barriers that hinder the advancement and to discover opportunities that bring transformative change toward equity for better representation of female Asian American senior administrators. The findings revealed that participants had been victimized by racialized, sexualized, and gendered discrimination in both personal and professional spaces. Three salient themes emerged: leading as Asian American women; disrupting racialized, sexualized, and gendered discrimination; and thriving on mentorship. The broad findings of this study provided insights into conditions that promote increased visibility and participation of Asian American women in senior-level leadership positions and point to implications for policy and practice in several directions, such as helping aspiring Asian American women to define a clear career pathway to senior administration; providing opportunities to acquire experience at the senior-level of administration; developing a mentorship network; and acquisition of an effective, assertive, and direct communication style as a fundamental characteristic of a senior administrator. This study added promising potential for generating critical scholarly discourse toward inclusive female Asian American senior leadership in higher education.