Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


This study was designed to investigate and analyze whether a community college foster economic growth in its service area and, more specifically, to analyze the economic development contributions of one rural Mississippi community college to its service area. The population under study consisted of business owners in the community college’s area, local elected officials, a targeted community college president and administrators, economic development planners, and the Mississippi Development Authority. 100 questionnaires were distributed; 48% of them were returned. Data were collected, arranged, and analyzed using descriptive, comparative, and correlational statistical tools. Additionally, a 5-point Likert scale was used to measure the community college’s economic contribution statements. Demographic information was collected. The following information was revealed: (a) 35% of the respondents were elected officials, 20% were community college board members, and 21% were administrators; (b) 73% of those responding were Caucasian; and (c) 40% of those responding had 21 years or more of academic experience. Results revealed that respondents believed that this particular community college made significant contributions to the overall economic development of its service area. Based upon research findings, the researcher recommends the following: (a) continued elaboration between lawmakers and community college leaders, (b) identification of the economic needs of their regions by community college leaders, (c) community colleges’ employment of an Economic Development Recruiter, and (d) the maintenance of business incubators. Additionally, the researcher recommends that more research is needed to determine how college administrators can increase enrollment and retrain displaced workers who are now students.