Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Leadership Studies


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Walter Gmelch

Second Advisor

Danfeng Koon

Third Advisor

Jane Bleasdale


Community colleges are experiencing higher levels of executive leader (chancellor, vice chancellor, and dean) turnover than four-year universities. Many different factors account for the high turnover and low retention: the need for dynamic leaders, the leadership succession process, the lack of professional training and development, as well as stakeholders and outside forces. The relationship dynamic between faculty and leaders as a contributing factor has not been previously studied. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine leaders’ misperceptions of faculty’s needs. Surveys and interviews were utilized to cross-examine data and perceptions from faculty and leaders. Through the lens of the emergent theory of critical followership, the study viewed the relationship and perceptions between faculty and the executive leaders to investigate their possible contributions to California Community College leadership turnover. The study found that despite leaders apparent understanding of faculty basic needs (i.e., Maslow’s hierarchy), those needs were left unmet. Faculty and leaders did not agree on methods to satisfy these needs. The institution studied has been in a state of constant crisis for several years. This has led to communication breakdown and organization trauma. While faculty had empathy for leaders, they saw their lack of collegiality as a contributor to leadership turnover. Faculty suggested adopting empathy towards leaders, engaging in respectful communication, and collaboration in decision making as ways to increase leadership retention. From the lens of critical followership, the following recommendations emerged. Deans, department chairs, and faculty leaders need to be better prepared as leaders, especially in mediation. More open and transparent communication between faculty and leaders is essential to create a healthier and more productive community college. Finally, colleges need to move towards collegial governance, with more pathways for faculty to develop as leaders.