Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Margaret A. Healy


Given the significant projected percentages of retirements of community college senior officers, forecasted workforce shortages, and the difficulty of attracting employees to rural community colleges, a qualitative study was undertaken to understand the learning experiences of seven senior officers in developing the competencies to lead at a rural community college. Through the interviews, the senior officers redirected the conversations to describe how they develop the next generation of rural community college leaders. Findings included the descriptive concepts of (a) rural legacies, (b) developing pragmatic competence, and (c) reciprocal development. A grounded theory model provided guidance on preparing the next generation of leaders at rural community colleges.