Document Type


Publication Date



Higher Education


Using collective biography, this paper examines the ways that rural identity mediates the leadership of two women working as administrators in higher education in the United States. We, the authors, examine our own leadership, as college administrators raised in rural environments, and seek to describe how the notion of rurality manifests in our administrative roles. Our collective biography reveals that rural identity influences our definitions of home, fear of irrelevancy, relationships with others, and work ethic. At the same time, our interesting identities as rural, women leaders are fluid and constantly shifting, manifesting themselves in both implicit and explicit ways. As women from rural America, we find our own geographic identities under-researched and under-theorized within our own field. This research bridges the gap between the intellectual work we do, the identities we hold, and the physical spaces we inhabit, addressing a void in current higher education research and providing an opportunity to weave our scholarship with practice for leaders in higher education.