Assessing how higher education administrators of color navigate spaces of advocacy for social justice

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Education
Department Education Leadership & Policy
Author Reyes, Kyle Anthony
Title Assessing how higher education administrators of color navigate spaces of advocacy for social justice
Date 2012-12
Description This study explores how senior administrators of color in higher education navigate spaces of advocacy for social justice. The low representation of persons of color in administrative positions combined with persisting racial gaps and inequities create a need for greater understanding of leadership for social justice in higher education. This document centers the voices of nine higher education senior administrators of color concerning their perceptions of identity, advocacy, and administration. Through a Critical Race Methodological framework, and constant analysis of participant interviews and institutional documents, a number of significant findings emerged. Participants' responses suggested that they, as administrators of color, faced a series of negotiation variables. The first of these negotiation areas included tensions associated with the question, "Who is responsible for diversity?" Participants felt: they had to constantly educate others; responsible for diversity but criticized for addressing diversity; conflicting expectations from various constituents about their roles; and alone in their advocacy, but obligated to advocate for students of color. The second area of negotiation concerned authenticity of identity. Participants felt that their sense of authenticity was directly affected by: their efforts to be seen as credible by white peers; the criticism they received by communities of color who thought they were acting too "white"; and their need for preservation of identity and self. Third, participants faced a negotiation of voice in their leadership positions. They believed that their presence was a form of advocacy and that they brought unique perspectives about racial inequities to their administrative positions due to their race and ethnicity. Participants felt they had to negotiate the ways they represented their institutions and communities of color and spoke out about issues of social justice in light of professional risks for doing so. Finally, participants felt that they had to negotiate a sense of hope for change amidst daunting racial realities and inequities. They were simultaneously hopeful and discouraged by fellow advocates for social justice who were few in numbers, the effectiveness of building alliances with white colleagues even while reinforcing a white powerbase, and their inclusive leadership styles in systems and institutions that were often exclusionary.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Advocacy; Critical Race Theory; Higher Education; Identity; Leadership; Social Justice
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Kyle Anthony Reyes 2012
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 892,401 bytes
ARK ark:/87278/s6pk0wzw
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2013-01-03
Date Modified 2018-01-22
ID 195753
Reference URL