Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Joseph C. Rost, PhD, Director; Wallace F. Cohen, EdD; William P. Foster, EdD; James R. Moriarty, III, PhD


development, higher education, history, leadership behavior, Leadership studies, MiraCosta College


The objectives of this study were to record the history of the college and to describe and interpret the leadership behavior of various people in the college in order to determine where the leadership, power, and authority resided at various times throughout the history; record and interpret the marker events that punctuated the birth, growth, and development of the college during its 50-year history; analyze the interrelationship of marker events and leadership behavior in the growth and development of the college; and, describe the distinguishing characteristics that make MiraCosta College MiraCosta College. An historical research design, focusing of local history, was utilized including the use of primary sources, comprised of written documents and twenty oral history interviews, as well as secondary sources. Established in 1934 as a junior college department of Oceanside-Carlsbad Union High School District with an enrollment of 115, MiraCosta College today is a comprehensive, public, two-year college with an enrollment of over 9,000. A single campus district, MiraCosta College is governed by a seven-member Governing Board, each person elected at large but representing one of the seven trustee areas in which he or she resides. Among the major marker events in the college's history were the vote by the electorate in 1934 which officially established the college: the decision by the Governing Board in 1946 not to annex the college to the newly formed north county junior college district; the first accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1955; the purchase of the site for the new campus in 1961; the establishment of the Academic Senate in 1962; moving the college to its present location in 1964; the appointment of John MacDonald as superintendent/president in 1964; the annexation of the San Dieguito district in 1976; and the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. Throughout MiraCosta's history a stability of leadership has existed. For almost a quarter of a century four members of the Governing Board worked together and since 1937 only six men have served in the position of president, one of those for 18 years. Other threads which have occurred throughout the history are those of conservatism, close identity with the community, and the concept of collegiality. An analysis of the leadership indicated that administrative leadership throughout MiraCosta's history has focused on the development and growth of the college in terms of construction and organization. Curricular development and improvement and the fostering of collegiality have come about as a result of faculty leadership beginning in the 1960s. The research revealed that the history of the college's leadership is an uneven path from a stage just short of autocracy to a stage that involves the Board, superintendent, and faculty in a joint venture. Because of the presence of a strong academic senate and the willingness of Board, administrators, and faculty to work together, the college has developed a pattern of shared governance not often observed in other colleges.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access