Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1999


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of academic and administrative community college leaders regarding the relationship between select external mandates and associated institutional effectiveness practices, institutional performance, and the use of assessment results for institutional improvement in Tennessee community colleges. Tennessee community colleges were selected for this study due to their decades long history with institutional assessments through the performance funding program. A primary assumption underlying this study was that Tennessee community colleges provide a historically unique assessment context for this study. The researcher developed a specific survey instrument for this study. The design of the survey provided for the measurement of the perceptions of academic and administrative community college leaders with regard to: (1) knowledge of external mandates; (2) assessment of compliance with regional accreditation mandates of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as well as planning requirements of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR); (3) the perceived impact of these mandates on institutional practices; (4) the overall associated performance of their institutions on selected performance assessments; and (5) use of assessment results for institutional improvement. Leaders were grouped into categories representing academic, administrative, and joint academic and administrative job duties. Several findings were derived from this study. First, Tennessee community college leaders tend to be knowledgeable. of external mandates. Second, SACS institutional effectiveness mandates have tended to have a moderate to strong influence on Tennessee community colleges, followed by the influence of SACS institutional research mandates. The influence of state planning mandates received a mixed evaluation, with planned-changed mandates, (i.e. progress toward key system goals) perceived as having less of an impact as a mandate compared to the others considered. On the positive side, Tennessee community colleges do tend to follow state planning mandates promoting assessment of the external environment as an integral part of the institutional planning process. Further, a moderate correlation was found between compliance with SACS institutional effectiveness mandates and both dependent study variables: (1) institutional performance; and (2) the use of assessment results for institutional improvement. Other study variables had weak to somewhat moderate relationships with the dependent variables. Several recommendations were offered for institutional practitioners as well as future community college researchers.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access