Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


Many of the community college presidents, upper-level administrators, and faculty, who began their careers during the advent of the community colleges in the 1960's and 1970's, are nearing the end of their careers. In a survey conducted by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in 2001, community college presidents responded that 45% planned to retire by 2007 (Shults, 2001). In a similar study, Weisman and Vaughan (2002) found that 79% of the presidents surveyed intended to retire by 2012. The amount of history, experience and expertise that will be lost with their retirement is immeasurable.;In April of 2005, the AACC Board of Directors approved a document specifying a newly revised set of six competencies to be used as a framework for community college leadership development (AACC, 2005). These six Competencies for Community College Leaders became manifest from the results of a survey administered to participants of a series of leadership summits and members of the Leading Forward National Advisory Panel. Although one hundred percent of the respondents rated each of the six competencies as "very" or "extremely" essential to effectively performing in the various roles expected of community college leaders, responses to questions about how well their formal training prepared them to meet these competencies was not encouraging. In short, survey participants indicated a crucial need to establish this framework in contemporary leadership development programs.;The purpose of this study was to examine how current community college presidents' demographics, backgrounds, career pathways, leadership programs, and educational preparation develop the transformational leadership skills embedded in the AACC's Competencies for Community College Leaders ; and, inform educational leaders of ways that leadership development programs might be improved to better prepare future leaders for their first presidency.;Four hundred fifteen current community college presidents responded to The Community College Presidency: Demographics and Leadership Preparation Factors Survey. Findings reveal that: (1) the top five challenges facing current community college leaders are: fundraising, student enrollment and retention, legislative advocacy, economic and workforce development, and faculty relations; (2) overall, current community college presidents rated themselves prepared or well-prepared in the AACC's Competencies for Community College Leaders; (3) current community college leaders were less likely to be prepared in the skill sets embedded in the organizational strategy and resource management domains; and (4) formal leadership programs and educational preparation in the highest degree earned play significant role in how presidents perceived their level of preparation prior to assuming their first chief executive officer position job.;This study provides new knowledge to the literature about the preparation and development of community college presidents in the competencies recently recommended by the AACC. Findings should be used to inform current presidents, aspiring leaders, and educators who have oversight of formal and informal leadership development and educational programs about specific areas that can be targeted to better prepare tomorrow's leaders.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Christopher A. Duree



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

191 pages