Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1996


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to identify common transitional and first year experiences of newly appointed community college deans. A population of deans from the states of North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas was identified. Through the use of qualitative research techniques, personalized accounts were collected from a sample of eleven deans. Through a qualitative analysis of these personalized accounts, thirteen themes were developed. These themes identified common issues and backgrounds encountered and shared by the eleven deans. These themes reveal that: (1) prior community college administrative experience was a prerequisite to the deanship, (2) there were no commonalities in staff reporting patterns, (3) external candidates have the advantage in terms of job appointments, (4) the new dean's effectiveness is not restricted by his/her area of supervision, (5) minority participation at the administrative level is not increasing, (6) career preparation within a community college is the most helpful experience, (7) academic preparedness related to a community college component is helpful, (8) new deans were prepared to move up within one college component area, (9) new deans encounter increased responsibility, (10) career planning is integral to career progression, (11) new deans encounter personal challenges, (12) there is resistance to changes employed by new deans, (13) and that the new dean should expect some period of adjustment in the new position, but personal confidence outweighs frustrations which may be encountered. From the findings, the researcher reached several conclusions. First, it appears that new deans encounter very little transitional difficulty. Secondly, community college search processes seem to be effective. Thirdly, it is extraordinary for a dean's position to be filled by a non-community college administrator. Further, an initial deanship commonly takes place in the area where the incumbent is most experienced. Women are gaining ground in college administrative positions. Lastly, new deans enjoy the challenge of the deanship, and careful career planning is important.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted