Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Lilian H. Hill

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Richard Mohn

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Thomas Lipscomb

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 School



The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC, 2005) developed and approved a research-based competency framework for leadership development, consisting of six leadership competencies that were deemed as being “very” or “extremely” essential to the effective performance of community college leaders. The six leadership competencies are: “organizational strategy, resource management, communication, collaboration, community college advocacy, and professionalism” (AACC, 2005, pp. 4 – 6). While it has been well researched and documented that a leadership crisis exists within the leadership ranks of community colleges, an abundance of the research has focused on the position of president. Other leadership positions in the community college are faced with the nearing retirements of current leaders. As a result, community colleges are tasked with the growing demand to find qualified individuals to fill these leadership roles. These roles include the likes of mid-level leaders (e.g., deans, directors, department chairs) and upper-level leaders (e.g., chief academic officers, chief financial officers, vice presidents). To address the growing shortage, grow your own leadership programs and in- house leadership have become one method used to equip aspiring community college leaders with the necessary skills to become effective leaders. One such program, known as the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy (MCCLA) focuses on addressing the projected demand for upper- level leaders within the Mississippi community college system (MCCF, 2016).

The purpose of this study was to extend prior research studies on the AACC leadership competencies by examining how participants in the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy (MCCLA) rated the importance of the AACC leadership competencies that outline the essential skills for effective community college leadership, as well as examining ratings of their level of preparation to perform the competencies. Participants for this study (n = 105) consisted of new and veteran participants in the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy. These individuals were also involved in mid-level and upper level leadership roles in the Mississippi community college system. The Qualtrics administered survey instrument used for this study relied on the AACC leadership competency framework, as outlined and modified by Duree (2007), and included the six leadership competency domains broken down into the 45 leadership competency illustrations. Participants in the MCCLA were emailed an invitation to participate in this research by completing the Qualtrics survey.

There was a significant difference between mid-level and upper-level leaders’ rating of importance of the leadership competencies. There was no difference in the importance rating by veteran and new leadership academy participants. A significant difference was found in the rating of preparation by mid-level and upper level leaders. Similarly, there was a difference in the rating of preparation by new leadership academy participants and veteran academy participants. Participants in this study ranked mentoring as the most beneficial to their development of the leadership competencies, followed by on- the-job training and in-house leadership programs. In general, the results of this study indicate that participants found the leadership competencies to be important and supported within the MCCLA curriculum.