Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Haynes

Second Advisor

Juda Viola

Third Advisor

Zalika Landrum


Chief Student Affairs Officers (CSAO’s) within single campus community colleges are responsible for providing senior leadership and overall planning for all administrative areas as assigned by the college president. They work collectively to provide leadership for various functional areas to facilitate the development and maintenance of college campus environments and student success. While within single campus community colleges the CSAO are recognized by various administrative titles, but they serve in an executive capacity reporting directly to the college president and are responsible for the overall planning and leadership that supports the college’s mission.

The purpose of this study was to identify the essential competencies that Single Campus Community College Presidents in Illinois consider to be important when hiring new Chief Student Affairs Officers. The primary data was collected by semi-structured interviews from four setting community college presidents in Illinois. The participants shared their perspectives on what essential competencies, functions, skills, and abilities, challenges, and leadership potential are needed by aspiring Chief Student Affairs Officers.

Findings indicate the study participants believe that along with a fundamental understanding of student development theory and student engagement it is necessary that candidates convey trustworthiness, problem solving skills, and a good understanding of assessment. Furthermore, the study found that identifying a new CSAO must be intentional. It is not enough to update the current CSAO job descriptions to identify new skills and responsibilities; this process must be direct, time sensitive, and robust.