Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Committee Member

Adams, Joe T.

Committee Member

Stonecypher, Wayne

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


The purpose of this study was to examine Alabama community college presidents’ perceptions regarding distance education. Further, this study was intended to determine the adequacy of the training opportunities and support for faculty that teach distance education courses and what services are available for distance education students. This study was designed to investigate distance education in the Alabama Community College System and to provide information in an effort to create a comprehensive plan to maximize access to online learning for students within the system. A survey was given to a total of 26 Alabama 2-year college presidents (22 comprehensive community colleges and four technical colleges). The online survey consisted of 40 closed-ended multiple-choice questions and 2 open-ended questions. The survey asked questions regarding the presidents’ perceptions of distance education, online courses, student support, and virtual community colleges. The results of the statistical analysis were presented in both narrative and table forms to provide answers to the four research questions. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The study concludes with a summary, conclusion, and recommendations for further research. The findings of the study showed that Alabama community college presidents’ perceived distance education as important to the growth of their respective institutions. Alabama community colleges provided adequate training opportunities for faculty who taught distance education courses, and provided adequate services for students that enrolled in distance education courses. In addition, the findings indicated the following factors had a major or moderate influence on their institutions’ decisions regarding college-level, credit-granting distance education offerings: seeking to increase student enrollment, making more courses available, making more degree and certificate programs available, meeting student demands for flexible schedules and reducing seat time, providing access to college for students who otherwise would not have access, and maximizing the use of existing college facilities. The findings also determined that institutions provided adequate services for students enrolled in distance education courses.