Visions: Accounts From Deaf Women In Leadership





Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. Marcia Lamkin

Second Advisor

Dr. Berrin Beasley

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Moores

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Department Chair

Dr. E. N. Jackson, Jr.

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


This qualitative research study investigated the construct of leadership from the perspective of women leaders who were Deaf. The data were collected from in-depth interviews with participants who were in positions of leadership in higher education and in non-profit organizations; all of the participants were Deaf and used American Sign Language. Data were analyzed within a feminist disability research framework of the emic perspective that sought to understand the construct of leadership from the participants’ view. Two constructs of effective leadership were identified from the perspective of these Deaf women leaders: team leadership and strategic leadership. The research also attempted to identify valued characteristics of leadership. Common themes were evident in the data - communication skills, determination, and confidence. However, the most often identified valued characteristic was that of resilience. Participants valued a leader who succeeded even though there were adversities. Finally, the research sought to identify what, if any, were the unique qualities that women who are Deaf bring to leadership. Although the participants themselves did not agree on whether there was uniqueness to Deaf women leadership, each woman revealed a strong sense of self efficacy. They believed that nothing need stop them; they believed that they could do whatever they decided to do. 7

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