Roles and Practices of Community College Presidents in the Governance of the North Carolina Community College System

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Title: Roles and Practices of Community College Presidents in the Governance of the North Carolina Community College System
Author: Foster, Daniel Russell
Advisors: Marvin Titus, Committee Member
Saundra Wall Williams, Committee Member
Leila Gonzalez Sullivan, Committee Member
John S. Levin, Committee Chair
Abstract: This qualitative study examines the collective intentions and decisions of North Carolina community college presidents relative to state-wide governance. Collected data include documents, observation, and interviews pertaining to the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents [NCACCP]. In the analysis of collected data thematic category labels and descriptions were elicited from both network theories and Mintzberg's (1983) description of power. Additional themes were developed through content analysis. The findings indicate that, as a network, the NCACCP has a formal statement identifying collective presidential intentions. As well, there are informal intentions expressed by the individual presidents. Informal individual intentions and actions may circumvent the formal intentions expressed by the NCACCP, thereby revealing potential for inconsistency between NCACCP intentions and individual presidential decisions. Presidential intentions are brought forth for collective discussion and possible decision by presidents representing the standing committees of the NCACCP or by System Office personnel via contact with the State Board of Community Colleges or legislators in the General Assembly of North Carolina. The NCACCP decision-making process involves building consensus amongst the presidents, but presidential consensus in the decision-making process does not equate to commitment by the members. The rationale for particular NCACCP decisions can be traced to the needs as expressed collectively by the NCACCP and to the demands placed upon the NCACCP by external community college networks. The data do not indicate that the collective intentions of the NCACCP or the external networks regarding state-wide governance are incongruent or inconsistent with the democratic mission of the community college system. Finally, the NCACCP works within larger networks, such as the System Office, the State Board of Community Colleges, and the state legislature; and, the power of the NCACCP is limited by its position within a larger network of community college actors also responsible for governance decisions. Given this investigation, further research is needed to examine the influence of other networks or individuals in the governance of community colleges in North Carolina, and to examine the influence of networks in the governance of community college systems in other states.
Date: 2006-04-28
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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