An Ethnography of Community College Presidents From Continuing Education

by Muzyka, Diann

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this study is to explore the characteristics of selected community college presidents who had previously held dean or director positions in continuing education areas of community colleges. Also, the study seeks to explain why and how this administrative track led to the presidency. The five primary areas of focus are career choice, preparation for the presidency, perceptions of the presidents about their college and role, perceptions of a dean and a board member of this cohort, and perceptions of the presidents for others in continuing education who aspire to become a community college president. Snowball sampling identified the five community college presidents in this ethnographic study. Personal interviews were conducted with each president. An academic dean or coordinator and a board member were also interviewed during the college visit. In some cases, the dean of continuing education was interviewed. Data were also obtained from observations and relevant documents. The findings indicate these presidents are individuals with out-going personalities, confidence, courage, good judgment, and an ability to lead. The presidents value diversity, integrity, fairness, trustworthiness, and respect for others. They involve faculty and staff in the decision-making process. The presidents are committed to serving their communities. Although the presidents do not believe it is necessary to ascend to the presidency via the traditional academic route, three of them did. The presidents believe continuing education people make good presidents because they have characteristics that are transferable to the role. Several suggestions were offered for those who aspire to become a community college president. The perceptions of the deans and board members about the presidents and the colleges parallel those of the president. Search committees and boards of trustees may find the results helpful as they choose presidents for their institutions. This study may also interest those involved with succession planning and choosing individuals for leadership development programs. Finally, the results will interest people who aspire to become community college presidents.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:community college presidents continuing education effectiveness


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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