Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

John H. Schuh


In order to combat the dearth of women at the helm of American colleges and universities, the experiences of the women who serve as college presidents need to be explored to inform the literature about women leaders. Despite the fact that there are numerous well known women college presidents who serve as role models for aspiring leaders and from whose stories we can learn, the number of women college presidents in the United States is still very low. Furthermore, the women whose stories are known lead or have led well-known institutions that are frequently in the spotlight;The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the experiences of Theodora J. Kalikow, president of the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF). This study of a female president of a small, less well-known public college sheds light on an experience less told and highlights the work of a woman whose leadership has had a tremendous impact on the health and vitality of her campus. Under Theo's leadership, UMF has found its niche and has garnered the attention of higher education researchers interested in learning what makes campuses and students successful;The significance of this autoethnographic study lies in the simple act of sharing a story. This is a story of leadership, challenges, and successes. The knowledge gained from this study---and the meaning made of the knowledge---will help higher education scholars, administrators, and stakeholders extend their understanding of what it takes to be a successful woman college president and what one woman has faced in that role.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Leah Ewing Ross



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

170 pages