Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Defining successful performance in the role of the community college chief academic officer : a qualitative study of CAOs within the Oregon community college system Public Deposited

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  • This purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the role of the community college chief academic officer and to describe how CAOs define successful performance. It examined (a) experience candidates brought to the position; (b) job duties and responsibilities; (c) knowledge, skills, and abilities required; (d) challenges and barriers; (d) support systems; and (e) advice CAOs offer to others who aspire to the role. Five key areas of competency, identified as critical to successful performance, include competency in interpersonal dynamics, managerial operations, instruction and instructional design, capacity development, and collaborative leadership. These five areas provide the basis for a new leadership model, which is structured as an inverted pyramid with interpersonal dynamics, the most significant competency, at its apex. The model can be incorporated into a performance paradigm to demonstrate how CAO performance is affected by intervening factors and linked to the success of the college and its students. The model and paradigm confirm that the CAO is pivotal to the quality of instruction and the success of students and the college. The data reveal that CAOs tend to see themselves as facilitators and define their own success in terms of the successes of others. A major challenge is trying to balance their demanding jobs with their personal lives. Other challenges include dealing with declining state revenues, budget deficits, the state's funding formula for community colleges, changing technologies, and high employee-turnover rates. CAOs tend to rely upon each other and their networks for support and assistance, and they note that having a mentor is critical to advancing up the ladder of academe. Most accepted the CAO job to "make a difference" in the lives of students and the quality of instruction offered by their institutions. Their greatest reward lies in witnessing the success of students, faculty, staff, colleagues, and their institutions. Most had served in their positions longer than the national average, and most planned to remain in their instructional leadership roles. Only one aspired to a presidency, which is significant because CAOs constitute the most likely pool of candidates for the presidency.
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