Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Natasha N. Croom


Students of color negotiate their own sense of what it means to be a person of color in the face of racial/ethnic stereotypes. This study aims to explore students of color's identity as student leaders and further understand what role race plays in these students' perceptions of race and leadership development. There has been a limited research on students of color, specifically regarding the experiences of these students who attend highly selective liberal arts colleges. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and understand how students of color who are considered relational leaders navigate the highly selective liberal arts college as student leaders, as well as how they construct their identity as leaders. Using critical race theory as the guiding framework for this study, five themes emerged: (a) individual social experiences, (b) early transition challenges and responding by involvement, (c) understanding leadership development and involvement as a process, (d) resisting and responding to racism and microaggressions, and (e) defining leadership for self. Implications for highly selective liberal arts colleges and other four-year institutions, as well as future research recommendations and implications for practice are discussed.


Copyright Owner

Cameron Carl Beatty



File Format


File Size

163 pages