Community college leadership in the Midwest: Pathways, preparation, and competencies

Kelley, Robinette
Major Professor
Lorenzo D. Baber
Committee Member
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The purpose of this research study is to examine current Midwestern community college leaders’ demographics, educational backgrounds, career pathways, career preparation, diversity and inclusion competencies, and competencies in accord with the 2013 American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC’s) Competencies for Community College Leaders as well as the leaders’ transformational skills embedded in those competencies. This research study expands upon the work of Duree (2007), which included research on community college presidents’ or chief executive officers’ (CEOs’) informal and formal leadership preparation, educational backgrounds, experiences, and self-ranking of the importance as well as their level of preparation in the AACC Competencies for Community College Leaders (2005). This research study utilizes the updated AACC Competencies for Community College Leaders (2013) and includes competencies for diversity and inclusion. Moreover, this research study differs from Duree (2007) as it is limited to Midwest community college CEOs and includes other community college leaders such as Chief Academic Officers, Chief Student Affairs Officers, Executive Vice Presidents and Business and Finance Officers. The final research sample for this study is 208 Midwest community college leaders working in many of the 256 community colleges in the Midwest.

Employing a theoretical framework that included two elements (diversity and inclusion and transformational leadership theory), the study data were analyzed based on the data collected from the research survey entitled Community College Leadership Demographics, Preparation, Pathways, and Competencies (CCLDPPC). The findings suggest that most Midwestern community college leaders were white and male; were age 61 years or older; had earned a doctorate; had some level of participation in a national, state or community college, leadership development program; and had challenges to diversity and inclusion practices.

The findings of this research study will be useful in analyzing the 2013 competencies for community college leaders including leaders at the level immediately below the president level. This research informs current presidents, aspiring community college leaders, administrators, and educators who have oversight over formal leadership development and educational programs for improvement and alignment with the 2013 AACC competencies and consideration of adding diversity and inclusion competencies to those programs and initiatives. This research will assist in the development of programs and practices directed toward increasing the participation of minorities and women in community college leadership roles.