Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Wallace F. Cohen, EdD, Director; Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD; E. Jan Moser, PhD


California, community college senate presidents, expectations, faculty leadership, higher education, motivations, Leadership studies, reflections


The Problem: Very little has been written about leadership in community colleges from the faculty perspective. California, with its highly evolved system of community colleges, 20 year history of faculty senates and recent reform legislation mandating shared governance is a logical platform from which to explore the issue of faculty leadership. This study was conducted in an effort to learn more about those who have served as California community college senate presidents. Of particular interest were the individual's motivations, expectations and reflections on the experience as well as the individual's involvement in college governance activity in the five years following his or her service as senate president. The Research: The study was descriptive in nature and employed methodological triangulation to explore the problem from multiple perspectives. A 20 question Senate President Survey (SPS) instrument was mailed to all faculty members who had been identified as serving as a local senate president at a California community college during 1985-86. This instrument sought demographic information, and probed attitudes and perceptions about the experience. Two groups of respondents were identified, those who were more active than they had been during their presidency and those who were less active. In depth semistructed telephone interviews of six respondents from each group were then conducted and issues were probed in more detail. The California Community College Chancellor's Office and Department of Finance documents provided a third source of information about the institutions at which each senate president served. The Results: From this research a demographic profile of those who served as senate presidents in 1985-86 was developed. It was learned that more than half of those individuals had withdrawn from governance activity at their colleges. Statistically significant correlations between current governance activity levels and other institutional or individual variables could not be found. The interviews of former senate presidents revealed perceptions about their experience, their colleagues, union and senate relationships, administrative and senate relationships and attitudes related to shared governance.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access