Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership


The purpose of this study was to examine institution-based leadership development programs in rural community colleges in Illinois, and the impact of these programs in supporting and preparing future community college leaders. The study also explored the efficacy of these programs and whether their implementation aligns with the institutions’ culture and goals. According to Hull and Keim (2007), 70% of today’s leaders believe that there is a need to expand in-house development programs.

This study employed a mixed methods design for data collection and was structured as a dominant-status sequential design where qualitative data gathering was dominant, although quantitative data gathering occurred first. Community colleges selected for this multiple-case study included 25 rural community colleges located throughout the state of Illinois (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2010). Participant selection began with a web-distributed survey sent to the chief academic officers and presidents of the 25 selected rural community colleges. Based on responses, six participants (two each from classifications “rural-small,” “rural medium,” and “rural-large”) were identified and selected for semistructured interviews.

Findings from interviews suggest four emerging themes: (a) despite an agreement present among rural community college senior-level administrators on the merits of institution-based leadership developments programs, a formal implementation process is not yet present; (b) there is evidence to suggest that succession planning at rural community colleges is taking a more informal direction in light of the absence of a formal plan; (c) there are conflicting perspectives among community college boards of trustees and senior-level administrators in rural community colleges regarding the implementation of institution-based leadership development programs; and (d) limited financial resources of rural community colleges can constitute barriers for developing institution-based leadership development programs.

This study concluded that there is no clear evidence to support the claim that rural community colleges, are taking steps towards formalizing leadership development programs. According to the Sherbini Paradigm developed as a result of this research, it is recommended that the successful implementation of institution-based leadership development programs in rural institutions require four main components (cultivate, appropriate, incorporate, and realign,).The components constitute the foundation for the development, implementation, sustainability, and success of these programs.