Developing Future Texas Community College Leaders
Gascon, Jackeline 1963-
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According to Weisman and Vaughan (2002), a high percentage (79%) of community college presidents have plans to retire by 2012. In the midst of the community college’s increasingly central role in the U. S. postsecondary sector, such alarming statistics demand urgency in addressing the issue of a potential shortage of community college leaders. The purpose of this study was to explore current leadership preparation experiences and succession plans of Texas community college chancellors, vice-chancellors, presidents and vice-presidents. Further, it sought to identify key constructs critical to their preparation and effectiveness as community college leaders based on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) six competencies for leaders. Specifically, this study answered the following research questions: 1) What are personal and professional characteristics of current Texas community college chancellors, vice-chancellors, presidents and vice-presidents? 2) To what extent were these leaders prepared based on the AACC six competencies when they assumed senior administration leadership position? 3) To what extent does leadership preparation through leadership doctoral programs, in-house leadership trainings, or outside leadership educational programs predict how chancellors, vice-chancellors, presidents and vice-presidents perceive their level of satisfaction with their preparation when they assumed a senior administration leadership position? This study used a cross-sectional survey designed to explore current Texas senior community college leadership preparation based on the AACC six competencies for leaders. All current Texas community colleges were invited to participate in the study with a response rate of 56.8% percent (117 respondents). Key descriptive findings show that: 1) Communication was rated as the most important among the AACC’s competencies for Community College Leaders; 2) The majority of the participants perceived themselves prepared or well-prepared in the AACC’s competencies; 3) Participants who rated themselves as “not prepared” in certain AACC competencies were most likely rating themselves under the organizational strategy and resource management domains; and 4) Current community college leaders rated fundraising, legislative advocacy, and board relations as the top three “extremely challenging” issues which they faced. Multiple regression results did not identify any relationship between variations in leadership preparation when they assumed senior administration leadership positions and how participants perceive their overall preparation. While the inferential results were not statistically significant, the overall findings of this study may improve or enhance current community college senior leadership’s understanding of the challenges in this field as well as provide awareness of the importance of the level and types of preparation future presidents may need to acquire to begin the pathway to the presidency. It is vital that community college leaders, boards of trustees, stakeholders, and key community leaders understand how to prepare future leaders as a means of addressing this shortage.