Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Chasity Bailey-Fakhoury

Second Advisor

Marlene Kowalski-Braun

Third Advisor

Donald Mitchell Jr.

Academic Year



The purpose of the present study is to understand the relationship between racial ideology and leadership experiences of Black student leaders at a historically White institution (HWI). Using a phenomenological approach, the study seeks to delineate the experiences of Black students as it relates to their leadership and racial identity. Using the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI); (Sellers et al., 1997) and one-on-one semi-structured interviews, data was collected from Black undergraduate students at a midsized HWI who were classified as juniors or above and who participated in one or more student organizations or campus activities in a leadership capacity. Among the data collected was information about students’ racial ideology, racial centrality, and their experiences and perceptions about leadership at a midsized public HWI. Findings suggest that most students at the research site hold the Oppressed Minority racial ideology. Also, racial ideology plays a clear role in Black students’ perceptions of their leadership experiences, beliefs, and decisions. Black students whose ideology emphasized assimilation or humanism were more likely to deemphasize the impact of racial oppression, and choose leadership opportunities which enhance their professional development, respectively. Ideologies associated with a higher emphasis on Black identity and the Black experience were more likely to feel racially isolated as a student leader and to choose organizations which provided them with a stronger sense of community and belonging.