At the Intersection of Leadership and Career Development: A Narrative Inquiry into the Experiences of ACE Fellows Colleges and universities face a wave of impending retirements in their administrative leadership ranks that could prove difficult to fill. Extant literature has primarily explained presidential paths as hierarchical ladders that aspirants move through from primarily a faculty administrative ladder and less frequently from nonfaculty positions. Although the career paths of presidents have been documented, the personal considerations an individual makes for choosing these pathways are not articulated. This study examined the career paths and considerations of potential senior leaders in higher education with a goal to understand how alumni from the American Council on Education (ACE) Fellows Program® (FP) incorporate the proposition of advanced leadership roles into their personal career narratives. Through a narrative inquiry based on Career Construction Theory, this dissertation examined the careers of eight alumni to understand their career paths and considerations.
Findings included highly individualized paths that were elaborated by multiple career metaphors. Fellows made decisions about entering higher education, advancing, initially incorporating leadership, and pursuing the FP to explore either a general or specific future leadership role. Fellows made considerations about the potential of a presidency as part of their careers and how to enact other types of senior leadership roles. Fellows also incorporated the concept of self as leader into their identities. Central to this incorporation was choosing an administrative or faculty career at a college or university, taking on an initial leadership role, having mentors reflect their potential for an even greater role, and undergoing the transformation of gaining a broader view of self and higher education through the FP to achieve this. Fellows expressed a range of certainty about the future of their careers. None of the participants had a definite aspiration of a college or university presidency. All the Fellows viewed themselves as senior leaders, however, and have secured new positions and roles that are congruent with this identity. Understanding the career decisions of these emerging senior leaders can inform the development of future leaders for higher education.
|Advisor:||McDade, Sharon A.|
|Commitee:||Chernak, Robert, Powers, Joshua|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration|
|Keywords:||Career development, Higher education, Leaders, Leadership, Narrative inquiry|
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