Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Armstrong, Christopher C.

Committee Member

Coats, Linda T.

Committee Member

Fincher, Mark E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Professional development is critical to the skill development and personal growth of 2-year college employees, and further research is needed to measure and evaluate the opportunities for professional development at 2-year colleges. The present study could be conducted at any institution across the country; however, Mississippi was used because of its award-winning community college system. The study investigated opportunities for professional development being offered; responsibility for professional development; and the perceptions of those managing professional development related to the importance of, amount and sufficiency of, and administrative support. This research was a qualitative, cross-sectional case study involving five professional development coordinators in Mississippi’s community colleges. Data collection was done through one-on-one telephone interviews with each participant in the summer of 2017. In addition, several of the professional development coordinators sent course listings, samples of individual development plans, and the researcher found information regarding professional development efforts of institutions’ websites. It was important to explore these perceptions because these were the professional development coordinators who have influence to make changes and ensure the needs of the staff, faculty, and administrators were being met. The present study found that many types of professional development opportunities were being conducted both on campus and off campus. Perceptions of professional development coordinators were all relatively high when asked about the importance of professional development, as well as how the administration supported professional development. Perceptions were mixed when asked about the amount and sufficiency of professional development opportunities. The positive finding was that what was being done was great; however, there were tremendous opportunities for growth in professional development offerings at the 2-year college.



rural 2-year colleges||community colleges||higher education||learning and development||training and development||professional development