To jump or not to jump: community college faculty perceptions of administrative positions as a career path

Studies have sounded the alarm concerning the impending void of leadership that community colleges will face in the 21st century. One concern is that the pool of applicants from the traditional leadership pathway of existing community college faculty members has decreased dramatically in the past decade. This study explored faculty perceptions of the administration positions in California community colleges and their desire and willingness to step into these roles. The study also looked at the impact of the underlying issues associated with the motivation for life-work balance on the likelihood of community college faculty to apply for administrative positions. This study was conducted through a mixed-method design involving quantitative and qualitative data collection. A survey was sent to all tenured and tenure-track faculty at community colleges in San Diego County, California. There were 341 participants who completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 22.7%. The first research question sought to explore faculty's perceptions of the administration positions at California community colleges and their desire to step into those roles. Three themes emerged in analyzing the responses ofwhy faculty consider going into administration: (1) improve the system or college; make a difference, (2) personal growth and challenge, and (3) salary and/or benefits. In addition, five main themes emerged from reasons why faculty would not consider jumping into administration: (I) workload, stress, and lack of flexibility for family time; (2) lack of job satisfaction due to bureaucracy, incompetent colleagues, or system; (3) love ofteaching and profession; (4) lack of job security; and (5) going to the "dark" side. The second research question sought to explore to what extent motivators for lifework balance affect the decision of California community college faculty to leap to administration. The motivators for life-work balance do influence the faculty in the decision to jump into administration; however, there was no significant difference between Generation X and the baby boom generation's belief in achieving the balance. The study concludes with recommendations to community college administrators, board oftrustees and faculty.