As Christian faith-based institutions of higher education strive to uphold Christian values, there is a need to be intentional in identifying and developing future leaders. This study was viewed through the lens that women are underrepresented in senior-level positions in Christian institutions, they have unique leadership attributes to offer, and learning more from their lived experiences might increase the number of women in senior-level roles in Christian institutions of higher education. is study utilized a qualitative phenomenological research design. The researcher interviewed 8 Christian women leaders who serve as Deans in institutions that are full members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The interviews were conducted face-to- face and virtually using a semi-structured interview protocol comprising of 11 questions. The questions explored the lived experiences and perceptions of these Christian women leaders. Three conclusions resulted from this study. First, prayer, study, and meditation were the most influential of the 12 spiritual disciplines. Second, spiritual disciplines may have a transformative effect on the character and leadership practices of women leaders in Christian higher education. Third, faith was integrated into the identity and daily practices of these Christian women leaders. he researcher recommended that Christian women leaders in higher education must prioritize, or “make time,” for regular practice of the spiritual disciplines, particularly prayer, study, and meditation. The practice of spiritual disciplines, or the Christian way of life, should be incorporated into professional development and mentorship opportunities for Christian women leaders.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Christian universities and colleges; Leadership in women -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;