Selection of community college presidents: exploring board members’ understanding
The selection of a community college president is a responsibility for the governing Board of Trustees. This qualitative study sought board members‟ understanding about (1) their institution‟s identity utilizing the organizational identity theory and (2) the critical elements of the match between their understanding of the community college and the desired characteristics of the selected presidential candidate. Mission statements, vision statements, and presidential position descriptions which described responsibilities and qualifications were collected from both rural and urban community colleges across the nation and were analyzed and compared with board members‟ interview data. Board members suggested that communication skills and the ability to develop relationships were vital to the president for effective leadership in collaborative efforts with businesses and the community. These efforts would support the community colleges‟ core attribute of student access to a post-secondary education in preparation for the workforce or baccalaureate degree. Both urban and rural participants understood the community colleges‟ role in the community as a conduit for economic development by establishing partnerships with local businesses. Data also reflected the utilization of community colleges for self-preservation of rural communities or culture and tradition.