Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

Bernard M. Lall

Second Advisor

Cedric C. Ward

Third Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst


Problem. Much descriptive research has been undertaken on the academic dean's role which has been determined by the perceptions of significant others.

Since the dean has had several categories of prescribed roles, scholars have tended to emphasize these roles and approach administrator-preparation from a prescriptive basis. This approach, though useful, ignores a crucial dimension--the variables, forces, or stimuli that impinge upon and influence the dean in his/her decision-making areas.

An underlying issue that has been largely ignored is the relationship of environmental forces or stimuli and decision making areas--it has been unclear what relationship exists between decision making and the environment.

An internal and an external dimension were suggested as categories under which several internal and external variables were grouped. The purpose of the study was to define and analyze the relationship among selected variables which influenced decision making in the academic dean's perception of his/her role in public community colleges in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and California.

Methods. There were nine roles or decision-making areas, and eight internal-external variables or stimuli. Responses were elicited by presenting the internal-external variables as stimuli (that is, each respondent considered the internal-external variables when asked to judge how crucial were the stimuli in influencing decisions within particular roles). Responses were categorically scaled and values assigned for each of the internal-external roles over the nine roles. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the relative ranks of the internal-external variables for each role to determine whether they were statistically and significantly different. Scale values for each role were inspected and the highest cluster in each role selected as indicative of the relative importance for that role. Kendall's coefficient of concordance, W, was used to estimate the consistency of the eight internal-external variables over the nine roles, and chi-square was utilized to determine whether responses differed statistically significantly when the classificatory variables of educational qualifications, educational field, and age were considered.

Results. An appreciable percentage of academic deans possessed doctorates in higher education/educational administration and fell in the 39-55 age bracket; however, more deanswere above 55 than under 39. No significant differences occurred between the internal and external variables when each role was considered and an inspection of the scale values over all the roles produced Experiences Gained on the Job, Philosophy of Administration, and Local Community Needs as the most crucial variables influencing decision making.

Academic deans with doctorates placed less emphasis on job descriptions than did deans without doctorates when engaging in academic counseling, but tended to place greater emphasis on formal preparation than did deans without doctorates when engaging in Curriculum Planning. As academic deans increased in age, they tended to place greater emphasis on formal preparation when engaging in academic counseling.

Conclusions. The conclusions were as follows: (1) The earned doctorate in education, specifically in higher education/educational administration, is a feature of community college academic deans. (2) The community college academic deanship is primarily a mid-to-late-adulthood profession. (3) Experiences Gained on the Job, Local Community Needs, and Philosophy of Administration heavily influence decision making in relation to the other variables, and formal preparation has a major influence on curriculum planning, but less on other areas of academic decision making. (4) Generally, community college academic decision making is not divided along lines of degree, education, field or age.

Subject Area

Community colleges--Administration


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