Career Perspectives: African American Community College Presidents' Leadership Development through Grow-your-own (gyo) Leadership Programs.

Community colleges throughout the United States are facing an impending leadership gap and a critical shortage of experienced administrators. This is primarily due to the imminent retirement of college presidents, senior administrators, and faculty within the next 10 years (Shultz, 2001; Tekle, 2012; Vaughn, 2001). As community colleges nationwide face the impending leadership gap, research suggests that these retirements could possibly have a disproportionate impact on the number of African American presidents and CEOs (Boggs, 2003). Findings of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2013 report suggest that Grow-Your-Own (GYO) leadership programs have emerged as a valuable and effective strategy to address the shortage of pipeline candidates for future leadership positions. While a robust body of literature describes the need for GYO leadership programs (Benard, 2012; Focht, 2010; Jeandron, 2006; Scott & Sanders-McBryde, 2012), few studies have comprehensively examined how African American college presidents and CEOs who have participated in a GYO leadership program describe (a) their career advancement, (b) the aspects of a GYO program which contributed most to their career success, (c) the impact of GYO program participation had on their iv leadership practices, and (d) the leadership competencies presidents and CEOs feel were most crucial to their career success. The purpose of this exploratory descriptive study was to identify why and how African American presidents were successful and what aspects of a GYO program contributed most to their career success.


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