Factors which influenced the selection of academic deans in thirty-one Texas public junior colleges

Date

1971

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Abstract

PROBLEM This study was designed to determine if there were common factors involved in the selection of academic deans in public junior colleges. It was the purpose of this study (1) to examine the background characteristics of those who were appointed as academic deans in the public junior colleges of Texas during the period, January 1, 1966, to April 1, 1971: (2) to seek to determine the factors which influenced the selection of deans in these schools? (3) to develop recommendations which may be useful to institutions, presidents, governing boards, and others who may have a responsibility in the future selection of academic deans in junior colleges? and (4) to determine the training essential for those aspiring to become academic deans. PROCEDURE The institutions included in this study involved thirty-one public junior colleges of Texas whose academic deans had assumed office in the period January 1, 1966, to April 1, 1971. There were three instruments used to collect data for this study. The first, Personal Interview Questions, Instrument A, was designed to use with academic deans and presidents to secure information concerning policies, procedures, and other considerations involved in the selection of academic deans. The second, Questionnaire to Academic Deans, Instrument B, was a questionnaire to be completed by academic deans to provide necessary demographic information. The third. Factors Determining Selection, Instrument C, a questionnaire to be completed by both deans and presidents was intended to measure the influence of certain personal and professional factors in the selection of deans. Instrument B and Instrument C were mailed. Later, appointments were made and data obtained in taped interviews with twenty-six presidents and twenty-seven deans. The findings of all instruments were reported in percentages to determine those factors which were the most influential. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS The findings of this study indicate that a typical academic dean in the selected Texas public junior colleges had certain characteristics. The dean was a male, married, and about forty-five years of age. His appointment was made by the president and ratified by the board without others being consulted. His wife was probably not interviewed prior to his being hired. He had a doctor's degree and was known for his personal and leadership qualities. He had teaching and administrative experience, but this had not necessarily been acquired at the institution where he is now employed. In the selection of academic deans, the confidence of the president was the primary factor. Regardless of who may have had a voice in the selection process, ultimately the choice was the president's. Others have been involved in the selection process only to a minor extent. Some eighty per cent of the respondents indicated, however, that "ideally" others ought to be involved. There was no prescribed way in which one must acquire an understanding of the educational philosophy of junior colleges, but agreement of the dean's philosophy with that of the institution was the second most important factor. Previous administrative experience was important. The kind of administrative experience demanded depended on the local leadership. In the future, emphasis will be placed on experience acquired at lower levels in a junior college with particular emphasis upon experience as a division or department head. Formal training will not provide the necessary administrative background, but most candidates will be expected to have participated in an administrative internship. Teaching experience was important, but junior college deans were not expected to continue to teach. An earned doctorate in some aspect of educational administration was a factor in selection. It will become increasingly important for candidates to have an earned doctorate in junior college administration. Personal and leadership qualities were paramount factors. The dean was selected on the basis of his character, his ability to interact with others, and his ability to provide leadership for the educational program. RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the findings of this study, these recommendations are offered: 1. The general factors revealed in the findings of this study should be considered by institutions, presidents, governing boards, and others who may be involved in the selecting process when they are confronted with the responsibility of selecting potential candidates for the academic deanship. 2. The general factors revealed in the findings of this study regarding qualifications for the deanship should be considered by those who may aspire to become junior college deans. 3. The president and governing board of an existing junior college should consider and utilize the contribution other administrators, division or department heads, and faculty can make to the selection process. There are indications the informal involvement of others may lead to more harmonious working relationships. 4. The president and governing board should define the role of the academic dean as they perceive this role at their institution. 5. The president and governing board should design a selection process which would provide the kind of information necessary to match the role description of the academic deanship with the candidate's characteristics, attitudes, and values. 6. The selection procedure should include all criteria found in the literature and supported by the findings of this study which apply to the particular institution.

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Deans (Education)--Selection and appointment.

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