Examining the Community and Two-Year Technical College Presidency: Vice President and Chief Officer Perceptions of Challenges, Changes, and Aspirations

Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Edward Raspiller

Committee Member

Steve Myran

Committee Member

Richard Fleming


Since 2001, community and two-year technical college presidents have been aware of the impending leadership crisis. Retirements, ill-prepared successors, and lack of credentialed candidates in the administrative pipeline will create what many believe to be a "leadership crisis." This workforce shortage is coupled with the sentiment that the role of the community college president has changed over the last decade.

The purpose of this research study was to provide a demographic profile of potential candidates and quantify the desire of next-in-line administrators to seek a presidency. This quantitative, nonexperimental study also identified the leadership and skill set attributes these administrators believe to be critical to effective presidential leadership and their respective experience in these same areas. Availability of and participation in succession planning activities was assessed and a prediction model for identifying potential candidates was formed.

Participants included current vice presidents and chief officers at community and two-year technical colleges in the eleven state region accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Survey responses from over 500 administrators were analyzed and the results were presented for each of the five research questions. According to respondents, the five most important knowledge and skill attributes for effective presidential leadership are: (1) board relationships; (2) relationships with local and state political leaders; (3) institutional planning; (4) business and industry partnerships; and (5) public relations and media. Comparison between current role requirements for respondents and their perception of the importance of these same roles to presidential effectiveness showed a significant difference in four areas: (1) alumni relations; (2) fundraising; (3) public relations and media; and (4) relationships with local and state political leaders.

Almost 90% of respondents indicated the role of the community and two-year technical college president has changed significantly in the last 10 years. Respondents indicated four knowledge and skill areas had changed the most: (1) fundraising; (2) economic development and workforce issues; (3) business and industry partnerships; and (4) relationships with local and state political leaders. Results from the study were used to suggest potential training areas and targeted recruitment needs.





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