Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Wiseman, W. Martin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


This study addressed the broader issue of the negative impact of the community college practice of hiring large numbers of part-time faculty on graduation rates. Prior research has determined that higher ratios of full-time faculty correlate significantly and positively with community college graduation rates. This study extended the research of institutional models affecting community college graduation rates and investigated the nature of regional accreditation for the adequacy of full-time faculty as a determinate of graduation rates. This study included all public 2-year institutions in the United States. A correlational research design was implemented using data available through the National Center for Education Statistics and the nation’s six regional accrediting agencies for community colleges. Among the major findings in the study, graduation rates were found to be significantly correlated among schools belonging to different regional accreditation agencies. The study also determined that ratios of full-time faculty, institution size, instructional spending, and ratios of full-time students correlated significantly with increased graduation rates. When comparing community colleges among regional accreditors that had no standards for regulating the adequacy of full-time faculty with those who do, graduation rates did not correlate significantly. These results contribute to the body of knowledge for institutional effects on graduation rates and also have important implications for regional accreditors. The results suggest that regional accrediting standards for the adequacy of full-time faculty may need to be more prescriptive in nature to provide a direct impact on graduation rates.