Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Rhonda Bishop

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Brad Swofford


Though women make up the majority of community college students, faculty and staff, only 36% of community college presidents nationwide are female. With a significant number of presidential retirements on the horizon, there could be many opportunities for women in line for a community college presidency to take the next step along their career paths. This study was designed to explore how women in senior-level community college administration have acquired the American Association of Community Colleges leadership competencies throughout their careers and what other influences had impacted their career development. A qualitative, phenomenological design was chosen, and results were examined through the systems theory framework of career development. Interviews with 12 women serving in senior-level administration at community colleges throughout one Midwestern state were conducted. Through the process of reduction, five common themes emerged from the experiences of participants: (a) of the five AACC leadership competencies, communication was most significant; (b) relationships matter; (c) women lead differently; (d) perceived realities of the presidency are not appealing to women leaders, and; (e) the existence of a superwoman complex. These findings were consistent with previous research relating to women in leadership, particularly those women in higher education leadership.


Copyright 2017