Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership


This study explores the complexity of accountability demands that have emerged in the 21st century from a variety of community college stakeholders. As community college leaders attempt to foster a new accountability culture within their institutions to quell these demands, questions regarding how to go about creating effective systems for continuous quality improvement emerge. This research focused on discovery, insights and understanding from the perspectives of community college leaders engaged in this process, reveals proven strategies to address these and other concerns while improving institutional effectiveness. This qualitative inquiry used a case study methodology to disentangle these issues through a thorough exploration of the perceptions of the research participants.

Six participants were selected through a process of purposeful sampling based on their exemplary reputation for implementation of continuous quality improvement strategies at Academic Quality Improvement Plan (AQIP) community colleges. In addition, enhancing transferability of the findings, maximum variation criteria was employed regarding the location of the colleges in the North Central Region Midwestern states, and diversity of the institutions representing rural, suburban and urban-centered colleges of various sizes (annual student FTE). The principle instruments for data collection included face-to-face semi-structured interviews, documents, and field notes. Data analysis techniques such as categorizing, coding and theming of information gathered from multiple data sources followed.

The findings revealed three elements are required in order to achieve sustainable change within an AQIP community college. These three elements are: (a) a clear vision and a plan shared by the college leaders; (b) an accommodating organizational culture; and (c) a supportive infrastructure for the change (technology, software, process, and procedures). The McKinney Model for Institutional Effectiveness Implementation will assist with the complex endeavor of incorporating these interrelated elements throughout the implementation of institutional effectiveness at community colleges.