Career, educational, and demographic profiles of public university presidents in five southern states
Individuals aspiring to become presidents at public universities could benefit from information on current presidents and the personal, educational, and career experiences that may have impacted their career development. While there is an abundance of demographic information on college, university, and community college presidents, there is little information in the professional literature specifically on the personal, educational, and career experiences that affect their career development. The majority of the literature on public university presidents consists of demographic summaries, biographies, case studies, and memoirs of retired presidents. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of possible personal, educational, and career experiences affecting presidential career development for public university presidents.
This study employed a qualitative multiple-case study approach. Fifty-seven public university presidents from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia shared their curriculum vitas and personal biographies with the researcher. All documents were analyzed and data related to personal, educational, and career experiences, along with demographics, were extracted and placed into a series of matrices. Through the use of content analysis and constant comparative method, the researcher was able to develop career, educational, and demographic profiles of the public university presidents, and determine the personal, educational, and career experiences that may have impacted their career development.
The key findings of this study indicate that the typical public university president in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia is a Caucasian male, in his 50s, married, and holds a doctoral degree. Also, the majority of public university presidents in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia had some geographical connection to the southern United States prior to being appointed president. Finally, while many of the presidents had work experience external to higher education, most public university presidencies followed an academic career path.
0745: Higher education