Community College Presidential Transitions: Building an Effective Leadership Team
Presidential transitions are happening at an increased rate within higher education. The American Council of Education (2017) reports a presidential transition will occur for more than 50% of U.S. community colleges in the next 5 years. During this transition, a key relationship that must be formed and which requires the immediate attention of the president is with the senior leadership team. This team is essential in the successful leadership at the college. With limited resources and positioned as a gateway for the underserved, a community college will need senior leadership that is able to navigate the increasing demographic, financial, technological, and political challenges that exist today. This study focuses on the perspectives of six new community college presidents and their successful transitions to this leadership role, how they assessed their inherited leadership teams, and how they built effective senior leadership teams within the first 2 years of their presidency. A qualitative research design was used in this study specifically focusing on the experiences, perceptions, and reflections of the presidents, senior leadership team members, trustees, and faculty leaders. Particular attention was given to the consideration of emotional intelligence as a framework for the formation of the senior leadership team. The findings from this study reveal that the six presidents assessed the individual membership and organizational structure of the inherited teams and developed a process for selecting and hiring new team members, as inherited members voluntary and involuntary resigned and retired. The criteria for leadership selection focused foremost on the functional or technical expertise in the vice president’s specialized professional area, followed by an attention to the relationship orientation and interpersonal skills of an individual or personal fit. As the senior leadership team matured, the primary focus evolved to an assessment of personal fit of the senior leadership member within the team. An emotional intelligence framework was helpful in assessing members of the inherited senior leadership team, but more impactful in selecting new members of the team and in building an effective leadership team. The six presidents concurred that building an effective team is an ongoing process that requires continual attention.
Higher Education Administration|Higher education|Educational leadership|Community college education
Bowen, Susan G, "Community College Presidential Transitions: Building an Effective Leadership Team" (2020). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI27998784.