Patricia Keller

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth


Women college athletes; College sports--Vocational guidance


Higher Education Administration


Using an action research paradigm, this study explored the perceptions of coaches, athletic staff, and female student-athletes at X University, a four-year public Division III institution, regarding female student-athletes pursuing careers in college athletics. Title IX has increased the number of women student-athletes; however, the percentage of women coaches and women working in athletic departments has declined in comparison to the percentage of males, which has grown (Acosta & Carpenter, 2010). This decline in the number of female coaches is problematic, especially since the number of women in other male dominated professions, such as law and medicine, has been steadily increasing since the 1970s (Knoppers, 1987; Swaton, 2009). Hinchey (2008) defined action research as a "process of systematic inquiry usually cyclical, conducted by those inside a community with the goal to identify action that will generate improvement" (p.4). In an attempt to create knowledge sharing opportunities, I created a workshop and panel presentation about working in college athletics. Fullan's (2001) change model implies that sharing knowledge with the female student-athletes about employment in college athletics is essential to their perceived ability to obtain careers in college athletics. Sharing knowledge is a key element to the successful implementation of my change initiative because, as Fullan believes, 'information becomes knowledge only when it takes on a social life' (Fullan, 2001, p.78). In addition to the action research portion, this project was also a broad examination of my leadership. It was my goal to examine my leadership through both qualitative and quantitative means to see to what extent I exhibited the qualities of a transformational, feminist, and servant leader, and to what extent my leadership motivated female student-athletes to pursue careers in college athletics.