Preparing Community College Leaders to Meet Tomorrow's Challenges

Pamela L Eddy, Regina L Garza Mitchell
Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education  •  Volume 2  •  2017  •  pp. 127-145
Aim/Purpose: This article reviews the leadership development literature and posits that a learning centered approach will best support the development of community college leaders. But, it is important to recognize that community colleges have differing needs due to size, location, and the communities they serve.

Background: American community colleges have received a great deal of attention over the last decade as institutions poised to contribute to the education of the workforce and to increase the number of citizens who possess a certificate or degree. Concurrently, community colleges also received attention due to the warnings about a pending presidential leadership crisis in the sector. As more and more sitting leaders retire, the demands of the job increase, and fewer individuals seek out top-level leadership positions, it is important to address how to develop community college leaders.

Contribution: The review of leadership development literature provides the backdrop for creating new programs to develop community college leaders. A multi-faceted approach is required in which succession planning occurs, graduate programs are revamped, and both individuals and organizations engage in the development of community college leaders.

Findings: It is important to recognize that community colleges have differing needs due to size, location, and the communities they serve. Graduate doctoral programs targeting community college leadership and national training programs can help prepare leaders, but they need curricular and program alignment targeting development of authentic leadership and ways to bridge theory with practice. Establishing succession planning can build a robust leadership pipeline that supports networked leadership and nurtures contextual competencies.

Impact on Society: Understanding better how to prepare leaders to face the challenges now facing community colleges requires questioning current practices and building different leadership development programs.
community colleges, leadership, leadership development, leaders, networks
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