The role of mentoring in community college presidential preparation

Rabey, Jeffery
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An impending leadership crisis looms for America's community colleges due to the large number of senior level administrators anticipating retirement in the near future. An estimated 80% of current community college presidents intend to retire within the next 10 years. Coupled with the lack of qualified, willing personnel to assume the leadership roles in the community college pipeline, a leadership crisis is inevitible for community colleges. With nearly half the students enrolling in undergraduate education choosing the community college (American Association of Community Colleges [AACC], 2008), it is imperative that community colleges begin to identify and prepare midlevel administrators to fill the senior level positions that will be vacated by retirements. According to recent studies, mentoring can provide an effective means of developing future community college leaders.

The purpose of this study is to better understand how mentoring has assisted current community college presidents in preparation for their first community college presidency based on the AACC's Competencies for Community College Leaders. Specifically, did current community college presidents who had mentors perceive that they were better prepared for their first presidency than those presidents who did not have mentors?

Four hundred fifteen current community college presidents responded to the survey used to conduct this study. Of the 415 respondents, 205 indicated they had a mentor, leaving 209 without a mentor. The study found few statistically significant results. It appears, however, that having a mentor helped prepare community college leaders for their first presidency more so than non-mentored presidents. Most female community college presidents indicated they had mentors prior to their first presidency. It appears having a mentor greatly increases females' chances of becoming community college presidents.

This study provided information on community college presidents' preparation for their first presidency and their preparation the AACC's Competencies for Community College Leaders. Future consideration should be giving to the role mentoring plays in preparing female and minority community college leaders. Those in charge of professional development opportunities should consider incorporating mentoring into their offerings as a means to better prepare those in the community college leadership pipeline for their first presidency.

Community College, Leadership, Mentoring, President