Community colleges are changing to meet the needs and demands of the 21st century and these changes are also a driving force behind the shifts that are happening to the essential functions of the presidents who lead the community colleges. In order to navigate the complex systems and lead colleges to successful outcomes, it will be important to understand the issues being faced by community colleges presidents and develop upcoming leaders who possess the leadership skills and strategies necessary to address them. The purpose of this study was to examine the issues that current community college presidents are facing and understand the leadership skills and strategies they utilized in addressing those issues. Through a qualitative research design, narrative inquiry was be used to collect data from nine currently practicing community college presidents in a semi-structured interview format. Interview data were analyzed using narrative analysis and a qualitative coding process. Five themes emerged from the data, categorizing the types of challenges that participants expressed as important. Within each theme, data were presented on the leadership skills and characteristics used in addressing the challenges discussed. Finally, the leadership and characteristics were cross referenced with the 2018 AACC Competencies for Community College Leaders, specifically those listed for CEOs, and the summarized data were presented. Discussion of the findings, connections to prior research and implications for future research and practice are offered.
Keywords: community college president, leadership, challenges, competencies, skills, characteristics, strategies