Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Stumpf, D. Arthur

Committee Member

Davis, E. James

Committee Member

Wiseman, Martin W.

Committee Member

Stonecypherm Wayne W.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


As more students cross the threshold of higher education in Mississippi community and junior colleges, an increase in legal disputes inevitably will occur. Two important skills can help college administrators anticipate legal issues that may occur on their own campuses. The first is the ability of administrators to scan the broad legal environment. The second is their growing awareness of legal issues in all aspects of their own enterprise. In order to prevent causes of action from being initiated in a complaint, proceeding to discovery, and then possibly leading to trial, college administrators must recognize the importance of knowing what the law is and how to spot a potential legal issue before it grows and becomes more problematic. This study utilized a survey instrument to ascertain the levels of legal knowledge, including constitutional legal issues and federal statutory legal matters, held by full-time administrators at Mississippi’s public two-year colleges. The study examined whether there were significant differences in knowledge based on personal characteristics of the administrators, such as educational attainment and years of higher education experience. Additional differences based on whether the administrators had or had not received legal training were measured. The results of this research suggest that community and junior college administrators do not demonstrate a high degree of knowledge of higher education law.