Date of Award
Campus Access Dissertation
Educational Leadership and Policies
Michelle A Maher
DISS_para>The purpose of this study is four-fold. First, this study identifies defining characteristics, skills, and overarching career patterns of state directors of two-year college systems. Second, the study investigates whether those career patterns differ by college system governance model. Third, the study expands current knowledge of the professional developmental trajectory of two-year college state directors by identifying experiences that prepared them for their current positions. Finally, the study determines perceived influences driving state directors to assume this role and perceived skills needed to fulfill role duties. State directors typically were over the age of 50 and were Caucasian. The majority of state directors held doctorate degrees in higher education administration and felt that the degree increased their credibility as they entered this position. The finding of this study revealed five emergent career paths. The first career path was the Education Academic Path. State directors who followed this path climbed the academic ranks, beginning as teachers or faculty and advanced through the administrative ranks before becoming president. State directors who followed the Education Non-Academic Path tended to work outside of academics, but inside of the college setting, serving in student affairs or business affairs, and ascended into administrative roles. Third, state directors who followed the Education Legislative Path had similar experiences to those who followed the Education Academic Path, with the exception of acquiring legislative experience. Fourth, the Education State Level-Public Policy Path was followed by state directors who often began their careers in private industry and transitioned into community college administration before working closely with the governor in either education or non-education roles. In the fifth career path, the Education Public Service Path, state directors served in local, regional, and state level civil service or public service positions prior to holding a president position at a community college. The state director position was their next appointment. The data did not reveal an association between a state directors' career path and governance structure under which he or she served. However, these data suggest that state directors serving under coordinating and governing boards tended to be associated with the Education Academic and Education Nonacademic Path. State directors did not plan to accept this role as the capstone of their careers; rather they were recruited by leaders in their state and supported by colleagues. Those who were serving in the role indicated that state directors need to know how a community college works, have the ability to establish and maintain relationships, acquire strong problem solving skills, develop good listening skills, maintain integrity, and be able to create a vision. Beyond all of these skills, state directors' days are consumed with political issues; therefore, being political savvy is a must.
Britt, K. A.(2011). Career Patterns of State Directors: Federal and State Level Leadership for Community College Systems. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/949