Leadership challenges for disabled students programs and services in the California community colleges : a phenomenological exploration of the lived experience of mid level administrators Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cz30px50v

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  • The purposes of this phenomenological inquiry was to examine the challenges faced by administrative leaders of Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) at California community colleges (CCC) from the perspectives of current practitioners. This study was undertaken for the following reasons: (a) the increasing number of students with disabilities accessing the CCC has implications for the colleges' abilities to serve this population effectively; (b) every CCC campus is mandated to employ a designated coordinator for DSPS, the leadership skills of whom can have a direct impact on the educational access and success of students with disabilities; and (c) the anticipated leadership crisis in DSPS administration due to the retirement of current coordinators leads to a need for information concerning skills needed by DSPS administrators. The research design used an interpretive social science philosophical approach and phenomenological method. Two research questions guided the inquiry: (a) What are the leadership challenges experienced by DSPS mid-level administrators? (b) Which leadership knowledge and skills are needed to deal with the challenges? Six mid-level administrators of DSPS at a California community college were interviewed regarding: (a) the challenges they face leading their programs; and (b) the skills and knowledge needed to address these challenges. Data emerging from these interviews were analyzed resulting in the identification of several themes about the challenges these leaders faced and what skills and knowledge needed to effectively address those challenges. The significance of this study is threefold. The first is to give voice to the lived experiences of a group of mid–level community college administrators who lead disability services programs. The second is to identify the specific challenges to leading these programs based on the insights gained from the review of the relevant literature and the perceptions of the practitioners interviewed. The third is to add to the currently limited scholarly literature regarding the challenges of leading disability support programs for college students from the perspective of the program leaders. Given these insights and literature related to the topic, the study's findings offered several implications for these student affairs professionals as well as the practice of leading DSPS on the CCC campus.
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