Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Porter, Julia Y.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Ge, Lin

Committee Member

Hare, R. Dwight

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


Prior research has determined that there are still gender barriers that women must overcome to reach administrative positions in many employment settings. Gender barriers to leadership positions have been and continue to be a sensitive matter that must be addressed by community college administrators. This exploratory quantitative research study examined rural community college administrators’ perceptions about gender barriers and explored administrators’ perceptions about management styles based on gender. The study population included 596 community college administrators in the United States. Of those, 128 community college administrators chose to participate in this study and completed a 42-item researcher designed survey instrument that was administered electronically. The instrument included 7 perception items about the participants’ current administrative supervisor’s characteristics, 7 perception items about the most important characteristics of effective administrators, 15 perception items about gender characteristics related to barriers to becoming a community college administrator, and 13 demographic characteristic questions. Findings from the study indicate that males and females have similar perceptions about the administrative leadership characteristics of their supervisors and similar perceptions about gender barriers to administrative leadership positions in community colleges. However, data collected showed a statistically significant difference between male and female perceptions about the importance of the following administrative leadership characteristics needed to be an effective leader: straightorward, inspiring, forward-looking, intelligent, and fair-minded.