Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, E. James

Committee Member

Adams, H. James

Committee Member

Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Wiseman, M. William

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Community colleges are crucial to American social and economic progress. They provide access to higher education for millions who cannot afford to attend a 4-year college or a university. For the past 20 years, there has been a consistent increase in enrollment in community colleges. This increase has included students of all ages and ethnic groups. While the African American student population in community colleges has increased as have other student populations, the percentage of African American instructors has not increased. Minority instructors and administrators in community colleges are not represented in numbers equivalent to minority student enrollment or to the minority population. The focus of this research study is to examine the factors that have contributed to the low representation of African American instructors in community colleges. In particular, this study explores phenomenon that contribute to the lack of representative numbers of African American instructors in the classrooms of a southern community college. Participants interviewed for this study include community college students, instructors, counselors, and administrators. Interviews, observations, and document analyses were conducted over a 5-month period. Addressed in this study were the reasons for low representation of African American instructors, ways to increase the number of African American instructors, and the reasons African American instructors are desirable in community college classrooms. Analysis of the data reveals factors that contribute to the low representation of African American instructors on community college campuses include (1) lack of competitive salaries, (2) lack of employment opportunities, (3) discriminatory hiring practices, (4) lack of desire or interest in the teaching profession, (5) lack of encouragement, (6) lack of mentors/role models, (7) inadequate pool of graduates/competition for graduate students, (8) unwelcoming campus climates, (9) lack of qualified candidates, (10) inadequate recruitment efforts, and (11) inability to retain African American instructors.