Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Daniel Robinson


The purpose of the study is to determine what experiences and initiatives senior woman administrators need in order to have effective voice and power within their respective athletic departments. The results of this study led to the following conclusions.;The SWA definition is broad and unclear; it should be revamped to include a standard level of authority, access, and flexibility to perform her role effectively and to contribute to the organizational, foundational, and philosophical standards of the department. SWAs are prone to limited access and the pigeonholing which limits their ability as an advocate and as a valued member of the administrative team. Approach and appearance were noted as potential barriers to success and approach varied by generation.;The SWA's relationship with the athletic director, president, and networking across campus, conference, and national fronts were important navigational tools. Her relationship among other women, proneness toward creating a community of difference, and homophobic stereotypes in athletics were contributing factors to the divide and conquer technique that groups in power have utilized against SWAs. A common occurrence of being the only woman or the nature of working in a male-dominated field has led to the importance of consensus building and proving oneself to gain power and voice within the department.;A need remains to continue to strengthen the SWA and the title. She must cross train, obtain an advanced degree, learn about business and areas that produce revenue streams, and network at the campus, conference, and national levels. Finally, SWAs need to find a common ground and a common voice. They must start speaking the same language to tackle issues and unite as a group with a similar level of authority and ability to impact outcomes in their respective departments and for women as a group nationally.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Stephanie Lynn Dohrn



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

168 pages