Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Leadership development of mid-level administrators in California community colleges
by Nguyen, Kay Vu, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2014, 151; 3674336
Abstract (Summary)

In recent years, concerns over the future of community college leadership have intensified because of the looming retirements of college presidents who started their careers in the 1960s and 1970s. With senior administrative turnovers continuing to rise at the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Academic Officer levels, community colleges are looking for ways to prepare for leadership transition and succession in order to continue to operate effectively. Although the middle managerial position is often used as a stepping stone for senior administrative positions, little is known about the mid-level administrators and their roles. With little research on mid-level administrators, their roles, and the processes in which they develop their leadership skills, community colleges are not equipped with resources to tap into this potential and abundant leadership pool successfully.

The purpose of this study was to understand the experiences of mid-level administrators in California community colleges, the challenges they face in their positions, and more importantly, to explore the learning process that mid-level administrators engage in to cultivate their leadership skills to address those challenges. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) What are the leadership and managerial challenges that California community college mid-level administrators face in their positions? (2) How do community college mid-level administrators develop and cultivate their leadership skills to address leadership and managerial challenges in California community college settings? (3) What leadership skills, knowledge, and competencies do mid-level administrators believe they need in order to be effective in their position as well as their career overall? And (4) What leadership development resources and support do mid-level administrators feel they would need in order to advance to the next administrative level position?

The research methodology was a qualitative approach to understanding their leadership experiences. Data were collected by means of one-on-one interviews and a brief questionnaire. Data were collected from 12 participants who currently work as deans or directors in community colleges in southern California.

Findings revealed that challenges to the mid-level administrators include managing employees, campus politics, and an increasing workload. The findings also highlighted the importance of leadership mentoring and training for mid-level administrators so they can be effective in their current position and to prepare them for career advancement. Recommendations for policy and practice include adding new language in accreditation standards to focus on effective leadership and implementing ongoing managerial and leadership trainings for mid-level administrators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Murray, John P.
Commitee: Pagel, Rich, Vega, William
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: California, Chief Academic Officer, College presidents, Leadership development, Managerial challenges, Mid-level administrators, Senior administrative turnovers
Publication Number: 3674336
ISBN: 978-1-321-27679-4
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