Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


The purpose of this qualitative study was to discover how outstanding community college presidents conceptualize their leadership practices and behaviors and what experiences they believe have prepared them for the presidency. It also sought to learn how their strategic constituencies evaluated the presidents. Purposeful sampling was used to select four community college presidents from a group of presidents identified as outstanding using a peer nomination process in a previous study by C. H. McFarlin (1997).;Personal interviews were conducted with each president and representatives of their critical constituencies: faculty, administrators, and the governing board. In addition, at each institution, the president's administrative assistant, a student leader, and a community leader were also interviewed. The research was supplemented with analysis of relevant documents and with a visit to each institution. The data were collected in the fall of 2000 and the spring of 2001 at community colleges in the Midwest region of the United States.;Results showed that presidents use a variety of implicit leadership theory to inform their leadership behavior. Presidents described leadership theories that fit the leadership context of their college. Presidents were evaluated positively by their constituencies. Internal constituencies tended to evaluate the presidents based on the extent to which they perceived that authority and governance were shared. External constituencies tended to evaluate the presidents based on their service to the community, especially economic and workforce development. Results of this study reinforced the idea that culture is critical to an understanding of leadership.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Stanley Olin Vittetoe



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

235 pages