Pathway to the President:The Perceived Impact of Identity Structures on the Journey Experiences of Women College Presidents


  • Gloria Oikelome Reading Area Community College



College Presidents, Women, African-American, Leadership Identity, Intersectionality


This phenomenological study utilizes the framework of Intersectionality to explore the perceived impact of race, gender, and other identity structures on the journey experiences of seven White and six African American women college presidents. Findings suggest that while gender is becoming more peripheral, the interlocking tensions of race and gender often shape the journey experiences of African American women, with race appearing to be a salient factor. Despite challenges resulting from these social constructs, the women employed various strategies for navigating the presidential pipeline including mentorship, leadership development programs, and firm assurance of institutional fit.

Author Biography

Gloria Oikelome, Reading Area Community College

Dr. Gloria Oikelome is the Associate Dean for the Division of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at Reading Area Community College. Dr. Oikelome has eighteen years of experience in higher education in the United States and UK, blending the worlds teaching, research, and administration. Dr. Oikelome earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and master’s degrees in the areas of cell & molecular biology and science education. She began her career her higher education career as an instructor in the Biological Sciences at Bethel University and also taught across various allied health programs at several community colleges. In 2004, she relocated to the United Kingdom and spent six years working as research assistant for Queen Mary University of London and later as a teaching fellow at the University of York and coordinator of assessment at the Hull York Medical School. Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Oikelome resumed teaching and received her doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership & Administration both at Immaculata University. Her research focused on the impact of various identity structures on progression for women college presidents. She transitioned to full administration serving as coordinator of assessment at Valley Forge Military College and later Director of Institutional Planning & Effectiveness at Lincoln University. She is a Board member of the PA American Council on Education Women’s network and continues her work in studying women and leadership in higher education. Her additional area of study focuses on the development and assessment of strategies for student persistence and success in STEM courses and programs. She serves as a mentor for students through various organizations and advocates for underrepresented students in STEM fields. 




How to Cite

Oikelome, G. (2017). Pathway to the President:The Perceived Impact of Identity Structures on the Journey Experiences of Women College Presidents. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 19(3), 23–40.



Articles (Peer-reviewed)