Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Wallace Cohen, EdD, Director; William P. Foster, EdD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


California, chancellors, community colleges, decision-making, higher education, multi-college districts, perception, presidents


Purpose This study was designed to provide foundational information concerning the perceptions of California community college chancellors and presidents in multi-college districts, regarding the presidents' decision-making role, at both the college and districtwide levels. Factors pertaining to the chancellors and presidents' professional background, and to district characteristics were reviewed for possible relationships to perceptual congruities and differences. Methodology Survey research methodology provided the basis for the design of the study. Eleven district chancellors and 28 presidents responded to a 24 item, two level Likert-type instrument and a professional background questionnaire. Demographic information on each of the participating districts was obtained and used in the analysis. Standard t-tests and chi-square analysis were used to determine if there were differences in responses of chancellors and presidents overall, by functional category and for each item at the college and districtwide levels of decision-making. The professional background questionnaire and district profile provided anecdotal information with which to compare the statistical findings. Findings and Conclusions Some of the major findings and conclusions of the study were as follows: 1. Chancellors and presidents in California multi-college districts agreed that presidents have a great deal of decision-making autonomy at their own colleges. 2. The presidents' decision-making involvement at the district level is ambiguous and in need of clarification. 3. Some relationship can be drawn between the professional background of the chancellors and presidents and the congruence and discrepancies of their perceptions. 4. District size, age, central office location, and administrative reporting relationships do not appear to be related to perceptual differences. Recommendations A major recommendation of this study is that the presidents' decision-making role at the district level be formalized in their position descriptions. In addition, a similar study should be undertaken in large urban multi-college districts. Some attention should be given to factors such as leadership style, organizational culture, collective bargaining, and the politicizing of districts that might influence the presidents' decision-making role.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access