Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Education


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Ronald Chennault

Second Advisor

Amira Proweller

Third Advisor

Thomas Noel Jr.


Many African American women who work in higher education, in non-faculty roles, incorporate a historical and cultural tradition commonly referred to as “othermothering” with higher education best practices when working with African American students. The practice of othermothering was used by enslaved African American women to assist other mothers with the care of their children and to maintain the family structure. The practice continues to this day in spaces where women are present such as neighborhoods, faith communities, community organizations and educational institutions. This research, using Black Feminist Theory as the theoretical framework, sought to study othermothering as practiced by African American women who work in non-faculty roles at PWIs and its effect on their professional and personal lives. Narrative inquiry was utilized to hear stories from five mid-career African American women in order to understand their personal history and professional experiences. The method for data collection was interviews conducted over a period of time using the Zoom audio and visual platform. The study found that (1) the women all had early and ongoing experiences with othermothering; (2) that othermothering shaped and influenced their professional development; and (3) the women incorporated othermothering when engaging with African American students at their respective institutions. The findings from this research can assist with raising awareness of the practice of othermothering by African American women while also informing higher education best practices when engaging African American students at PWIs.