Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Toni Pauls

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


The researcher’s study aimed to understand the perceptions of private university department chairs when engaging with emotional intelligence (EQ) at work. The qualitative approach provided the boundaries for the voice and the experience of the participants as the researcher collected interviews, department meeting minutes, and department program reviews from a sample of five department chairs across three, private universities. The following departments served as the study’s population: mathematics, family and consumer science, business, education, and modern languages. Findings revealed participants perceived job satisfaction through the mediator of emotion. Participants identified the emotional challenges of department chair and perceived emotion within the context of department chair as something to be worked through rather than overcome. Participants worked through the emotional challenges through communication and balance of priorities. Participants disclosed the significance of emotional regulation through the lens of identity, and the researcher found support of the department chair’s multi-faceted identities surfaced as important within the boundaries of the researcher’s study. Findings revealed contextualization of the department chair’s experience with emotional regulation to be subjective to the confines of the individual department, although, the need for emotional regulation while serving one’s institution transcends context. The researcher concluded department chairs do not receive formal, institutional emotional support and perceive support through organic, informal structures. Participants’ emotional regulation depended on organizational membership behavior based on individual capacities. The researcher’s contribution to the field of higher education explicated the blurred lines between participants’ internal, organizational identities and external identities and the perception of emotional support.

Key Findings

The research illuminated multifaceted identities of department chairs that exceed internal, organizational Identities. The researcher found emotional labor of department chairs exist through individual capacities of the respective leader. Emotional support of department chairs is perceived as organic and informal rather than formal within the higher education institution. Overcoming emotion as department chair is best perceived as a type of “work” rather than something to be defeated. The transition between faculty and department leader may be easier when preparation occurs prior to assuming the position.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Professional Biography

Dr. Brittany W. Armstrong holds undergraduate degrees in intercultural studies, Bible, and English; as well as, graduate degrees in English and education. Anthropology, leadership, faith, education, and writing are fields that interest Dr. Brittany W. Armstrong, and she currently finds herself serving as a board member for the Orphans of Kenya Project which seeks to house and educate disparate children in Africa.