Career and transfer program leadership in the community college
As the department manager and leader, the chair position is crucial to the day-to-day operation and the institutional and department planning, policy and outcomes. This requires setting the department direction, inspiring and cultivating relationships and developing collaborative initiatives on many levels.
Much of the literature has concentrated on the roles, tasks, and demographic characteristics of the departmental chair position. This study examined the descriptions and meanings that community college career and transfer department administrators attached to their leadership experiences. A qualitative research design using a multi-site case study method was used for this study. Data collection was based on nominating statements, interviews with identified administrators, field notes and document review of job descriptions and demographic profiles. Unlike what has been typically reported regarding chair positions as faculty/administrators, most of the participants in the study were in appointed administrative positions.
Three themes emerged from the data relating to how career and transfer program administrators describe their leadership: Leading is Seeing and Acting on Opportunities; Leading is About People; and Leading is Challenging but Rewarding. Several sub-themes were identified under each theme. The findings were consistent with those found in the literature relative to effective leadership. Both the career and transfer department administrators provided similar descriptions of leadership. Career department administrators, however, were more likely to expound on student success and ensuring community needs and expectations are met. Organizational structure, culture, and policies were identified as being an important influence on the leading and managing functions, perceptions and expectations of the position.
0745: Higher education
0514: School administration