First Advisor

Jacqueline B. Temple

Date of Publication

Winter 4-23-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




Dissertations, Academic -- Sex differences -- United States, Educational leadership, Feminist criticism



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiii, 342 pages)


Educational access, achievement and opportunity for students and educators in U.S. educational institutions is influenced and often limited by gender. Although the U.S. Glass Ceiling Commission reports that the gender equity values, beliefs and commitments of institutional leaders are a key factor in reducing institutional gender inequities (U.S. Dept of Labor, 1995), very little is known about the current preparation or evaluation of educational leadership values, especially at the doctoral level (Hess & Kelly, 2007, Grogan & Andrews, 2002; Levine, 2005; Murphy & Vriesenga, 2004).

This study utilized feminist content analysis as a conceptual framework and research methodology to examine the collective gender equity values, beliefs and commitments of educational leaders represented in a key textual artifact of doctoral study, the Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) dissertation.

This sequential mixed method content analysis examines 15,014 dissertation titles of Ed.D dissertations completed from 112 U.S. public doctoral granting institutions between 1998-2007 to identify 1185 dissertations indicating gender in their title. A purposeful sample of 177 abstracts was selected from emergent themes for further analysis. The final research phase examined a purposeful sample of 9 complete dissertation texts selected from the analysis of the abstracts. The research focused on two questions, 1.) How prevalent is gender focused inquiry in recent Ed.D. dissertation scholarship, from 1998-2007? 2.) What are the cultural gender beliefs and gender conceptualizations represented in Ed.D. dissertation scholarship from 1998-2007?

The findings indicate gender focused inquiry is not prevalent in Ed.D. dissertation titles, in public doctoral granting institutions from 1998-2007; only 7.4 % indicated any mention of gender. The findings also revealed great institutional variation in the prevalence of gender focused dissertations in the 112 institutions examined.

Three themes also emerged from patterns of representations illuminating problematic gender cultural beliefs, 1,) male leadership and intellectual authority is privileged, 2.) Black males are "othered", 3.) Latinas are silenced. Three additional problematic themes of gender bias are revealed because of scanty representation in the sample, 1.) LGTBIQ issues silenced, 2.) Title IX trivialized and 3.) Feminism marginalized. Each of these three gender focused categories represented less than 1% of the Ed.D. dissertations completed in U.S. public doctoral granting universities between 1998-2007.

The findings have implications for program planning of doctoral Ed. D. programs for the development of gender equity dispositions. The findings also contribute to the discipline by adding to the knowledge of Ed. D. dissertation content. This report includes recommendation for future research and practice.


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