Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

JoAnna F. White, Ed.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Catherine Brack, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Catherine Chang, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Gregory Brack, Ph.D.


ABSTRACT HAVING IT ALL? MOTHERS’ EXPERIENCES AS ASSISTANT PROFESSORS IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY ACADEMIA by Caroline H. Leavitt For approximately the past 20 years, women have earned significantly more Ph.D.’s in the area of counseling psychology than men. However, women continue to lag with regard to rates of tenure and promotion in counseling psychology academia. Despite the significant amount of theoretical literature, there is limited empirical research on this gender disparity. The current study is designed to begin filling this gap in the literature. For this study, ten female assistant professors in counseling psychology were interviewed to elicit information about their experiences as academicians. All of the participants were mothers of minor children. A standardized interview protocol was used and interviews were audio-taped. The interviews were then transcribed and subject to a multi-step coding process. The coding process revealed six domains, each with multiple primary and secondary themes. The domains include: Culture, Mentorship, Work-Family Conflict, Gender Discrimination/Harassment, Intrapersonal dynamics, and Recommendations. All ten participants were represented in all of the domains except for gender discrimination which had an n=9. Generally, the participants’ experiences supported the literature’s explanations for the continuing gender gap in counseling psychology academia. If universities are committed to including women in all ranks of the academy, multi-faceted changes must be made to acknowledge, accommodate, and respect women’s priorities and values.