Career development factors of women in community and technical college leadership
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This descriptive study examined the career development of women executive leaders based on data from a sample of community and technical college leaders. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the dimensions of support necessary for women to be successful in attaining executive leadership positions in community and technical colleges. A 25-question survey instrument was developed by the researcher based on the literature and preliminary interviews with executive leaders. Women executive leaders in community and technical colleges were asked to rate the importance of the survey items to their career development. The 147 participants in the study were an average age of 53.3 years; 84.6% were Caucasian, 9.6% were African American and .7% were Asian. Participants were 29 presidents and 111vice-presidents of community and technical colleges in the Southeastern United States. Forty-two and one-half percent of the respondents held Doctoral degrees, 30.8% held Masters’ degrees, 9.6% held Bachelor’s degrees, 8.9% held Educational Specialist degrees and 4.8% were All but Dissertation. An exploratory factor analysis was performed to identify seven dimensions of support necessary in the career development of women: peer support, professional support, departmental support, mentoring support, home and community support, gender support, and networking support. Peer Support and Professional Support represent new findings, thereby adding to the literature on women in leadership and women’s career development. An analysis of comments to open response items revealed the following components perceived as influential in the career development of women in community and technical college leadership: guidance by senior leadership, family members, mentors, personal desire, leadership seminars, and peers. Barriers encountered by women in community and technical college leadership were identified as: family/household responsibilities, gender discrimination/bias, office politics, self doubt, racial discrimination, and age discrimination.
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