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Female Community College Presidents’ Perceptions of Effective Leadership: Leadership Practices and Behaviors

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TITLE Female Community College Presidents’ Perceptions of Effective Leadership: Leadership Practices and Behaviors
RESEARCHER Sherry L. Stout-Stewart
School of Education
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Doctoral Dissertation: May 2004

This study examined the perceptions of female college presidents in community colleges regarding their leadership behaviors and practices.

Seventy-two percent (N=126) of the female community college presidents in America (2003) participated in the study by completing the Leadership Practices Inventory and providing demographic information. The typical respondent was Caucasian (79%), with a doctoral degree (90%), and 5-10 years of experience as a college president (35%). The most frequently college setting was suburban (N=49) followed closely by rural (N=42) and urban/inner city (N=35).

The most frequently engaged in leadership practice was Enabling, followed by Modeling, Encouraging, Challenging and Inspiring. The respondents did not vary on the five leadership practices on the basis of institutional setting (suburban, rural, urban) nor educational level. African-American college presidents reported engaging in significantly more Encouraging than their Caucasian counterpart, but no differences on the basis of ethnicity were found on the other four leadership practices. Significant correlations were not found between years of experience and the leadership practices or the enrollment size of the student body. However, the greater the percentage of full-time students the more presidents reported Inspiring, Challenging, Enabling and Encouraging. Conversely the higher the percentage of part-time students the less female community college presidents reporting using the five leadership practices.

NOTE: This dissertation was subsequently published as:

Female Community-College Presidents: Effective Leadership Patterns and Behaviors. Community College Journal of Research and Practice (2005), 29: 303-315.


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