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Senior Leaders in CCCU Institutions: Overture to a Research Project

posted Dec 14, 2011, 8:45 PM by Greg Smith   [ updated Dec 17, 2011, 2:48 PM ]
During the 2010-11 academic year I compiled a data set comprising the names, genders, job titles, and credentials of more than 800 senior administrators employed at the member schools of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). I collected this data directly from the institutions’ Web sites—a laborious process, but one that yielded a rich store of information. If God allows, I hope to work with this data to develop a profile of organizational leadership in the Christian college and university.

Over the last several months I’ve worked at intervals on initial data coding. I have much more work to do, but I’ve come far enough to draw some preliminary findings. In the weeks ahead I intend to use this blog as a venue for sharing selected findings on topics such as gender, educational level, educational field, position level, and position domain. For now I’ll share a bit more about my research methodology.

The focus of my study is the inner circle of formal leadership surrounding the President. This group goes by a variety of names—most commonly, invoking a denominator such as Cabinet, Administration, or Council. The number of its members ranges between 3 and 21 in keeping with the institution’s size and complexity, and probably with the President’s leadership style.

As I stated earlier, I collected this organizational data from the institutions’ Web sites—typically a single source, such as a directory of senior officers or a current academic catalog. More than half of the information sources specified the degrees that the institution’s officers had earned. Some went beyond this and provided biographical entries detailing work history and other qualifications. I have yet to analyze any of the latter data, but I suspect that it will prove to be enlightening.

Overall I expect my research to . . .
  • describe the extent to which the administrative leadership of CCCU schools varies or coheres;
  • ascertain the attributes of administrative officers at various levels (President, Provost, Vice President, etc.) and in various functional domains (academic affairs, student affairs, financial affairs, etc.); and
  • explore the qualitative dimensions of the administrators’ qualifications.
Practically, I hope that my findings will guide hiring institutions as they seek to fill vacancies and aspiring administrators as they face choices that will impact their career path.