Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Lori Patton, Ph.D.


Black leadership, Education, Historically Black colleges, Leadership, Philander Smith, Social justice


The federal Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines a historically Black institution of higher education as "any historically Black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principle mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans." Today, there are approximately 105 HBCUs, more than half private, the rest public, and a few two-year institutions (Allen, Jewell, Griffin, & Wolf, 2007). While currently only 14 percent of Black college students attend HBCUs, 70 percent of all Black doctors and dentists, 50 percent of all Black engineers and public school teachers, and 35 percent of all Black attorneys received their bachelor's degrees at an HBCU (Avery, 2009). Despite these notable statistics, leaders associated with HBCUs have felt insecure about their future since the 1950s for a variety of issues; namely low enrollments, low endowments, loss of accreditation, and severe decreases in fiscal resources (Avery, 2009).

However, missing from the discourse is a discussion of which HBCUs are currently staying ahead of the national and higher education economic crises by implementing effective leadership and financial management strategies. The academic literature fails to explicitly highlight HBCUs that are not only surviving in these times of economic difficulty, but actually thriving and remaining credible and supportive institutions in the respective community.

In an effort to go against the trend of only highlighting the myriad financial and accreditation issues plaguing HBCUs, this doctoral dissertation study will illuminate the ways in which these institutions are efficiently addressing such problems, and typically doing so with less fiscal resources than other institutions of higher education (Gates, 2010). Philander Smith College has consistently been referenced in the journalistic literature as one HBCU that is successfully navigating historical and current problems stemming from a lack of fiscal resources. An organizational identity case study of this institution will shed light on the effective leadership and fiscal management strategies being executed by HBCUs in the 21st century. The findings of this study result in the construction of a model of best operational and leadership practices. It is the author's hope that both models will be adaptable and useful for other HBCUs.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Shametrice Ledora Davis


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

337 p.


Higher education, African American studies, Educational leadership